Since 2006, DJ Foxybee has made a name for herself as a purveyor of funky beats and sweet-sided disco, playing at some of the most prominent clubs across Europe, from London’s Madame Jo-Jos to Alimentation Generale, La White Room in Paris and Kathmandu in Barcelona. had a chance to interview the DJ ahead of her show at Yukunkun this Friday, April 4. Check it out.

(Photo via Facebook) When did you start DJing, and who were your early influences?

Foxybee: My father was always playing guitar at home and listening to free jazz, so that was my first great influence. His collection was the starting point for my love of vinyl. But, my first deep passion was rap. I was 13-years-old when I discovered MC Lyte and Queen Latifah and my whole life began to revolve around rap; I would dance, rap and sing with friends. A few years later, I began my lifelong hunt for samples. I discovered Minnie Riperton, The Isley Brothers, Patrice Rushen, The Dramatics, The Delfonics. Today, I'm immersed in soul music, funk, and jazz-funk.

Eight years ago I decided to play my collection in public. I wanted to share this music that I love so much with other passionate people, and perhaps also make something concrete of my love for funk. Are there any monumental moments of your career so far?

Foxybee: The peak of my career is not an event, but rather a climatic moment when I realized, after a few years of DJing and traveling, that I could help initiate [a kind of musical] freedom; a cross between the vintage musical universe, sweeping disco, jazz fusion, afro-funk, and soul, I could get people to the dance floor with it. What are your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, for example, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

Foxybee: The real challenge for a DJ specialized in rare music is to last through an entire gig without giving in to the commercial aspect. It is a real challenge to appeal to a generation formatted on commercial music, and keep them interested, while playing a set of completely obscure vinyl records. My solution to this challenge is a fastidious selection; very punchy, full of good versions, a positive, upbeat energy, and a prayer that the people listening are open-minded. How do you prepare for a set?

Foxybee: Very often it depends on my last acquired vinyl; I always look forward to playing the last gem I’ve dug out of the crates – I’m like a child with a new toy. The preparation for my sets consists of figuring out a way to harmoniously integrate [newly acquired] records with my regular groups. Two tracks that always inevitably make their way into my sets are: King Herisson – "We’ll Have a Nice Day," and Ike Noble – "Everybody Disco." What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria for selecting what to play at a gig?

Foxybee: Two things that influence my choices are: one, if I feel that the people in the room are receptive to my obscure music and in an open-minded state, and two, if there are people dancing. Ultimately, like any DJ, all I want is for people to leave my gigs with a smile, with an impression that they have metaphorically traveled. With this massive influx of new music, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know what constitutes an original and a remix anymore? What's your opinion on the importance of roots and respecting originals?

Foxybee: I have a huge concern for authenticity in any endeavor I take in life. I am a real purist in terms of the music I play; I’m always searching for the original version. At the same time, I absolutely love discovering different versions of the same songs, especially when they come from different countries.

In essence, I really think that it is curiosity that makes way for knowledge of roots and what brings out the creativity in a person. ‘Digging deeper’ is a real philosophy for me. Tell me a little bit about your decision to play vinyl versus MP3. Why did you make this choice?

Foxybee: The authenticity! I could not conceive of spinning funk without the support of its inherent medium. Same goes for rock and reggae. The dematerialization of MP3s disturbs me. I’ve mixed CDs in some bars which had no support for vinyl and I honestly can’t even compare the two. However, sometimes, in spite of this, I might play a digitalized vinyl that has been burned on a CD.

The main inconvenience in spinning strictly vinyl is the weight and the fragility of the record. But the pleasure of showing the original sleeve of a vinyl to someone who comes up and asks for the name of a song I had just spun makes up for any inconveniences. What makes a strong transition from one track to the next?

Foxybee: My golden rule is that a record can never [hinder] the next record, it must emphasize it. How, in your opinion, is music transformed in the hands of a DJ?

Foxybee: I am profoundly convinced that if you put the same vinyl in the hands of two different DJs, the set would never be the same. Every record has an ideal moment in the party and every party is different; you can have the rarest, the most expensive, the most dance-inducing record, yet if it is brought in at the wrong moment, it is wasted. DJing is an art; you have to know how to gracefully emphasize the work of different musicians. What attracted you to come to Lebanon? Do you feel there is a substantial audience for your niche in music?

Foxybee: This is my first trip to Beirut and it is because I’ve had the honor of being invited by the Beirut Groove Collective to spin with them. I have some Lebanese friends in Paris who have spoken very fondly and with so much love for Lebanon. I was very attracted to the culture and I’ve been hoping that one day I’d be able to come here and see Lebanon with my own eyes and not through some distorted media version.

As you say, it is a “niche.” When you decide to spin 70’s funk in vinyl, you know that the audience will be very limited, in any country anywhere in the world. But, that is the best part! Quality over quantity.

Watch DJ Foxybee keeping the funk alive at her event this Friday, April 4 at Yukunkun.

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DJ Foxybee at Yukunkun Club Party (DJ Mixer)


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