Peggy Gou is a Korean DJ with an addictive sound
Peggy Gou is a former fashion journalist whose first love is music — and now she’s a DJ who’s getting all of Europe addicted to her sound.
She established herself as a fashion journalist while she was in college in London. Soon, she started to produce demos from her laptop and DJ. Now, she is based in Berlin.
We chatted about why you don’t need to be a big name to get a gig, genderless labels and her go-to spots to find old music.
You are from South Korea, but you came to London when you were a teenager. What was it like for you to move to a different country?
If I think about it, I think it was a great thing to do when you’re 14. I had to live with a guardian [who] was very strict. I had to live there for one reason: to study English. There was no Korean student in my school.
You started out as a journalist, then you switched to music. How did you discover DJing and what difference has it made in your life?
When I came to London, I DJed for two to three years. I met this crew who was throwing parties, so I started doing regular parties every Thursday. Luckily, I met another guy who works in Ableton through one of those parties. I had to concentrate on music more than two years ago. This is what I am now.
It’s good to learn to network at parties. Honestly, it’s not easy because so many people stick with their friends at parties.
Throwing a party is not easy because sometimes, you have fun with guests and fun without guests. Through that party, I learned so much because being a DJ, it should be a good platform [whether] the club is full or not full.
A lot of DJs I see out there in the charts are dominated by men. Do you feel that kinda annoys you?
You know what… people understand what females and males do, but to talk about that, there’s no point. I don’t like when people call [someone a] female DJ or a male DJ. We’re past the gender issue. I always believe in myself; I’ve always been independent. If a man can do it, a woman can do it, too. I don’t compare myself or give an excuse to myself. It seems like the world is still surprised when a female DJ is making music. In the end, it’s about music. It’s not about the female [identity] or the look.
Do you get nervous very easily?
I always feel butterflies at every gig that I do. It used to be 50 percent nervous, 50 percent exciting. Now, it’s 20 percent nervous and 80 percent more exciting. My aim is to never lose the butterflies because I don’t want to lose this feeling. As soon as you lose this, you don’t really care.
So, what parts of music really bores you the most?
When the music doesn’t have a groove and soul [laughs]. My music always has to have a groove and soul inside. If I listen to music that doesn’t really have a groove or soul, that bores me. I’m quite picky with music that I like.
No wonder your music is so addictive!
That’s so nice of you. I’m very open to criticism because that makes me improve more. When I make music, I send it to many producers for feedback. Some people gave me really honest feedback, some people were surprised. Some people didn’t like it. [But] I got a lot of good feedback.
For every DJ, there’s got to be good spots to find old records. Where are your go-to stores?
I’d say Discog ‘cause you can find everything there; it’s my bible. Every time I go to a new city or places like Italy, Japan or even Korea, I always ask [a club promoter] if they [know] a local secondhand record store. In Singapore, I went to a big warehouse.
If you have to move out of your apartment and you are unable to keep your entire record stash, which one will you save?
Oh my god! That’s a really hard question. I would probably give up my clothes, but I would not give up my records [laughs].
What do you look forward to when you’re in NYC?
I love New York. I was there in March. This time, I’m looking forward to it because I also know the HYTE guys — they’re super amazing — and the line up is really dope! I cannot wait to play this.
Photography by Ana Rosas