Every year that goes by in the British house scene sees Heidi grow ever more successful. Moving permanently to London from her native Canada at the turn of the millennium, she’s worked her way up from record store shop assistant to world-renowned DJ to now national radio presenter on BBC Radio One. Attractive, fun, talented and ambitious; Heidi has it all.
So it’s little wonder she’s joining the eye-wateringly good lineup for the Saturday night opening of Mancunian institution. The Warehouse Project. It’s revered reputation can draw jaded London clubbers out of the capital and past Zone 6 to experience its exquisite programming throughout the season, but it’s the opening weekend that is always a big draw. Which explains why for Welcome To The Warehouse, on Saturday 28th September they’ve roped in Nicolas Jaar to play live, Seth Troxler, Maceo Plex, Four Tet (DJ set) Ben Klock, Julio Bashmore, Scuba, Joy Orbison & Jackmaster B2B, Jacques Greene, Andrew Weatherall, Soul Clap, Justin Robertson, Bicep, Krysko & Greg Lord and of course, Heidi, who is playing B2B with that other first lady of UK house, Maya Jane Coles.
It’s a clever pairing as the popular producer has just appeared on Heidi’s most recent Jackathon compilation so fans of both must surely be delighted by this addition to the line-up. With all this and more in mind, we caught up with Heidi ahead of Welcome To The Warehouse…
Hi Heidi, how are you?
I’m fantastic. I just landed in the Ukraine. Its 40 degrees and I’m about to play Kazantip Festival. It’s been described to me as Mad Max meets Burning Man… Hmm let’s see. I’ve never been to this country before. I like exploring new places.
You grew up in Windsor, Ontario in Canada, and it seems that over the last few years, some insanely good electronic music is coming out of Canada. Be honest- is there something in the water over there?
…… Um. Not sure. I’ve been gone for so long that I haven’t really been keeping track of what’s happening in Canada. All the artists I know from Canada don’t live there anymore with the exception of Tiga. I think the UK is on fire at the moment. So many great artists breaking through.
What inspired you to make the move to London back in 2000?
Well I first moved to the UK in 1997 for over a year then came back permanently in 2000. The music drew me here. I’ve always been in love with the UK. I was an indie kid. I thought I would come over here and try and get a job working for a rock label. That obviously didn’t happen. I got swept up in the electronic music scene by accident.
You describe your style as “booty-shakin’ house”. How did you learn to shake your ass?
From a TV program my sister and I used to watch when we were young called “The New Dance Show” from Detroit. Get on YouTube and check it out. It’s brilliant.
If you were an alcoholic drink, what would you be and why?
Mezcal. Because it brings you up… not down. And also gets you jacked.
Considering you’ve played literally the best clubs across the globe, all the best festivals, got your own national radio show, released on Get Physical, not to mention your success with Jackathon… If you can pinpoint it, what do you think has been your career defining moment so far?
I guess making the leap of faith into choosing this as a career and putting every last ounce of energy I have into it. I could have flopped on my face. I stuck it out and proved myself to my peers. Every achievement after that was because I gave 110% of myself, treated everyone with genuine kindness, and sacrificed things in my life that people take for granted.
You’re playing the opening weekend for The Warehouse Project- in your opinion what makes Manchester a great city to play in and what makes WHP so special that people will travel from across the country to experience it?
It is by far my favourite place to play in the UK. Mancunians have always embraced music in every form and have spawned many amazing bands and set trends that the world eventually picked up on. They have a lot of heart. When you live in a place that has shit weather most of the time and little to do, the next best thing is to completely immerse yourself in music. I can relate to those people, as that’s what I did when I was younger. Music has been my outlet to everything wonderful that has happened in my life.
After having Maya Jane Coles feature on your latest Jackathon Jams compilation, you’re now going b2b with her at WHP. What can we expect from you both in the midst of a stunning line-up?
Honestly the only thing you can expect is a massive height difference. Haha. We are just going to feel each other out as we go along. Our styles have a bit of crossover and it will be nice to see where we take it. I like the element of surprise.
You credit working at London record store Phonica as transforming you from “vinyl fanatic to budding DJ”. Retail can be a funny place- what’s the weirdest experience you ever had with a customer whilst working there?
Nothing weird. Just guys never taking my answers on questions they ask me about music seriously. They would always ask me something, I would tell them the answer then minutes later they would ask one of the guys working there…. and they always gave the same answer as me! Idiots.
What would you say is the most unexpected record in your own personal collection?
I like so many different genres of music that it all looks unexpected to the untrained eye.
What was the first song, or type of music, you remember truly touching you in your formative years?
The first, and always my favourite, is Prince’s Purple Rain album. It changed my life and was the first piece of music I owned.
What’s next for Jackathon?
I have a slew of EPs lined up with some shit hot producers on remix duty. That’s all I’m sayin’. Can’t give away all my secrets.
You recently had Richie Hawtin on your Radio One show, describing him as “truly inspiring”. Who’s the craziest guest you’ve ever had?
They are all crazy in their own way. I usually tend to get people on who make me laugh and have a great sense of humour. Makes for good listening. Music shouldn’t be so serious all the time. The Soul Clap boyz are the lights of my life.
Do you have any plans or desires to move from radio to TV?
If the opportunity presents itself I’m all over it. I would love to.
And finally, what motto do you live your life by?
Even when you’re tired, sick, lonely and hungover: keep it to yourself. Nobody likes a complainer… And The Golden Rule: treat everyone the way you want to be treated. One thing I can’t stand is a diva DJ.
Words by Rachael Williams