CC:DISCO! is a one of a kind woman. We take a moment to appreciate her huge contribution over the last 10 years bringing folks together through compilations, Club COCO and always sharing her discoveries. We wish her the best of luck as she heads back to Europe and finishes up her immensely influential radio show Smoke and Mirrors. Thank you Courtney for taking the time to talk to POOL and share your stories!
Q: What inspired you to be a DJ? How long have you been playing?
For me it’s been a long road, it started through radio. I began doing shows from the age of 15 and then eventually (once I got out of my hometown) discovered DJs. I remember watching people like AJAX (RIP) and YO!MAFIA and it just inspired me so much. I even wrote the longest myspace message when I was thinking of DJing to Ajax and he replied back with an essay that was so inspiring I’ll never forget he took the time to write to me. So I saved up bought decks collected records and practiced everyday. I never thought it would be a career but at the end of this year it will be 10 years playing as CC:DISCO! .
Q: Does format matter to you? (Vinyl, Mp3 etc) If so why?
I like to worry about myself as everyone else should. To be honest I don't care what people play on, personally I love collecting records and especially love playing records on the radio but in clubs I'm more a USB kinda gal. But as long as you play great music who cares what you play off.
Q: I see great mixing as fluid improvisation, being able to adapt and morph, thinking what will work in that second and how to set up for your next move. How does it feel to be in that moment before you know what’s going to happen next?
Stressful! I mean I'm not gonna lie I have no clue what I'm doing and I try to not overthink it but the key is watch the dance floor. If they are enjoying themselves then that’s what counts, but sometimes it's amazing to really throw something in to put them off, confuse them or make them crazy. It’s about keeping them interested and smiling but when you have a set that just flows and goes in every direction that’s when I have best time because I feel like I've really expressed myself through music and taken people on a ride. You need to willing to make mistakes, clear a dance floor and also let them recharge as well with breaks in a set.
Q: How do you express yourself and your identity through the music you play?
I'm just me, I play music that makes me feel good and sometimes I've noticed that if I'm feeling down or something a set can really tell you how I'm feeling and also be a real release for me. Often I can get quite dark sometimes and maybe that me expressing a mood or feelings that have at the time.
I played a set right after a friend died this year and it was the most intense experience ever because I kept thinking about her with all the songs I was playing and each song made me feel it more and more that I was going to miss her and was trying process what had happened. It was something I'd not felt before and to be honest was one of the best sets of my life because I wasn't feeling great and needed music to help me and it really helped that night.
Q: What do you think is most important part of the club/party experience? (the company, the music, the venue, the perfect storm etc.. )
All three but the most important part is the crowd. A crowd is a make or break to any party thats why I love COCO so much because it’s honestly the best crowd, the trust in the room is incredible from playing techno to RnB, Disco and everything in-between. You can be playing the best music in the world but if its not the right crowd it can make you feel awful.
Q: When you play do feel like you’re sometimes on the other side of the booth?
Yes , small club make you feel this and you know what I've often just left the booth and danced in the crowd because I love a song much and I want to be apart of it more. hahah. Sometimes you do have massive FOMO being on the other side.
Q: What makes you feel the most welcome when you arrive at a club for the first time?
The staff, honestly it’s the key to a night! Mean or rude door staff puts you off from the start. This often happens when I enter a club I'm playing or visiting and people ask what I'm doing there or are rude to me it puts me off then course they change their tune when I tell them I'm DJing. People should always treat everyone the same. Sometimes it makes you feel really small and thats not clubbing is about.
Q: Do you think people still seek the performative side of DJing in an automated world?
Yes for sure, an experience is what people are after not just a set of "cool tunes". You can have all the spotify playlists in the world but that can't compete with a night at a club.
Q: At the essence of the work is a sense of discovery - There is still so much to uncover, music that has been made and forgotten - You give us a good reminder of the fact that what is new isn’t always what is best. New historical records are being heard for the first time. Do you think the role of the DJ has played a big part in this?
There's so much and I'll be forever discovering music myself, the day you become complacent is the day you lose it. Yes indeed that comes from DJs and it’s our job to do that, its about music and artists we play not us. So if that means doing a re-issue of under the radar music then that amazing because it can give an artist a career again and recognition they didn't receive the first time. ..... But people who bootleg to profit off African music esp can eat one. That's not cool and not what the role of DJ is its a very selfish way of trying to profit off others to further yourself. That why awesome tapes from Africa , Left ear records etc are super important to our scene.
Q. Are categories and genres important? Do they help us to find unity or do you find them to be homogenising?
I think it’s nice to be able to label something esp if you are getting into a certain genre but it can also be annoying to put everything in a box. I mean theres some songs I just couldn't label with a genre cos I just no damn clue but all i know is thats its a good tune haha.
Q: How does it feel to be a part of a community radio station like PBS? Do you miss while you’re away?
Its the most important thing to me and I get home sick so much when I can't do Smoke and Mirrors as its a real part of me and so is PBS. We are so lucky to have PBS in Melbourne its the best bunch of nerds ever.
Q: You’ve been touring Europe back to back spreading the good word - What has been your favourite set of this tour?
There's been too many, I've been lucky enough to do 3 tours of EU in 12 months and every gig I play I'm like, how the hell has this happened. Stand outs are DGTL, Istanbul (playing Yothu Yindi and people screaming so loud to a song they didn't know amazing), Milan (In a castle), Russia, Madrid.. too many to name. It's all still mind blowing I'm even playing abroad.
Q: This year you released your first compilation ‘First Light’ which is a hugely important body of work - What was the process of putting this together?
Thank you, that was a huge project and I'm really happy with that record. It was a year of back and forth with so many artists and Soothsayer but it was all worth it especially when people OS tell you how much they discovered artists from Aus. We need to always promote our local artists, original music is the future.