Exclusive Interview & Guest Mix: Pod Imiya

Hey Pod Imiya and thank you for answering my questions for drum+basics. Let’s start with the important one: where did you get your name from?

Pod has been a nickname for a while, but it wasn’t unusual enough to come up in searches online which made it difficult for people to find my mixcloud etc, so I added ‘Imiya’. It’s just a girls name which I thought sounded nice. Very boring answer!

How did you get in to dnb/jungle?

Me and my friends at school used to listen to jump up when we were teenagers. When I moved to Manchester, I didn’t know many people who were into DnB (there was big tech house craze.) I started going to raves on my own, at first just in Manchester and then in other cities, mainly London. I’d get a late megabus down and then the first one back in the morning. Initially it was techy DnB nights, like Cyberfunk with Xtrah and Visionobi. When I first started going alone I would stay sober, pick a spot on the dancefloor and stay there dancing all night.

I got into jungle more fully after a wicked night at Dolphin warehouse in Manchester, where Fanu, Storm and Stretch played. I didn’t really know about the underground jungle scene at the time, I loved oldskool stuff but didn’t realise there were so many people still making it and putting on nights. After meeting Stretch I found out about AKO beatz, and ended up going to an AKO night in Brum. It was a different vibe to the nights I was used to. The music was mental, I’d never heard anything like it really. The crowd was older and people talked to each other more. Everyone seemed to have a deep level of respect for each other and the music, and a passion for it to carry on through the generations. There was no aggro or guys trying it on. It felt like how I imagined raves would feel like. I didn’t really know anyone but felt completely welcome and met loads of great people. After that I found out about Rupture, Skeleton and others, and got to know people (including my 4 DnB parents) who I always look forward to seeing! Mostly at raves I still spend the whole time on the dance floor though, and catch up with people at afters. I still love techy DnB nights! But I think they’re better to go to with mates than alone.

How did you become a dnb/jungle DJ? Do you remember your first gig?

I DJ’d a bit in school but gave up playing in front of people coz I’d get too nervous. My friend Frank got me back into it, about 4 years ago I think. He asked me to play my first gig, which was a small Hit & Run event, where I played b2b with DJ Servo. I felt sick before it, but then it was a proper buzz, I loved it. For ages I practised on mates CDJs while I saved up to get some. I still get so nervous that I can’t see properly before playing out. But the nerves go away a couple of tunes into a set.

Any tips for beginners?

I am a beginner! So I’m looking for tips rather than giving them out haha!

The one thing I feel like I’d have to say is to value the fact that our music is underground. Whenever a type of dance music gets too big, it gets infected with all the capitalist shite that goes with the pop music industry. The music gets watered down and cleaned up, raves turn into concerts, producers and DJs turn into celebrities, people forget about the history and ignore the culture. In small scenes the music can be as mad or intense as you like. There’s great community and DIY spirit. That’s what makes it so good! You can’t really use the music as a career move or for personal gain. The people I have most respect for are the ones who’ve been working and raving hard since the 90s, not motivated by making loads of money or being famous, just putting in the time because they love the music and care about the scene.

Tell us about your first rave experience.

I went to a hospital records takeover, I think when I was maybe 15. I remember hearing DnB in my head for weeks after, and thinking it was the best thing ever. Hospital records was a big part of getting into DnB for me as a young teenager, I think they are for a lot of people my age. They have the power to get young people into DnB who have never even heard it before, which is why they should be leading the way with inclusivity. To be honest, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve even begun to realise how badly they’ve been failing at doing that, thanks to groups like eq50 and people sharing their perspectives.

You live in Manchester – how is the music scene and rave scene there? I still haven’t been there for a rave!

Yeah I’ve lived here for about 6 years now. I think it’s the best city in the world, no question. The music scene is great, we’ve got Hit & Run, Levelz and the Mouse Outfit, and the legendary shop Eastern Bloc. Formless is my favourite night. Walking into Formless feels like coming home. It seems like everyone knows each other and the music is always next level. You should come to the next one, you can stay round my flat!

Do you produce music as well?

Yes, but I’m not very good yet, I’m still learning. It’s more just something fun to do than serious.

You’ve also done a mix for us – wicked! What can you tell us about that?

Well, I have to be honest, I was redlining at points so there is clipping! I get too gassed when mixing at home, which I don’t think the neighbours are too happy about. It’s a mix of jungle and DnB, a lot of dark tunes and some more uplifting ones. I was going to record a mix on vinyl, but I’m not good enough yet.

Favourite DJs and producers?

Oh shit, there’s so many! For DnB producers, maybe Elements of Noize, Arcon 2, The Advocate and Rufige kru. I love all the alien techstep from 97, that’s definitely my favourite year for DnB. For newer stuff, I like Andy Skopes and Response and Pliskin, coz they can make a tune rough but still emotional or euphoric. They make come up tunes! Also, I bought martianMan’s digital discography recently, which was a bargain, he’s a machine.

For DJs – DJ Future always stands out in my mind. He closed a night at a festival I went to, and it was mad. Yorobi’s sets are always great, and I always listen to Tim reaper and Devnulls blog to the oldskool.

I think I get more hyped for my mates DJ sets these days than big names on a line up. All the Diggin in the crates crew are amazing DJs, everyone’s got their own style. And of course my mate Chris (Anomalies) who makes it look easy!

How are you coping in this lockdown?

I live with my boyfriend (who loves electronic music as much as I do), so we’ve had each other. I’m happy being in my flat most of the time to be honest. Music takes up all my spare time and outside of raves I don’t really have a social life anyway, which I don’t mind to be honest! I do miss working in the lab though.

The lab? This sounds interesting…

Im part of a team which research experimental nuclear physics in Manchester and CERN, which is partly finding out about atoms by firing lasers at them. we are also trying to build a detector for measuring tiny amounts of radioactive stuff in the environment, which would be useful for finding leaks in things containing radioactive material, and tracing people who might be trying to separate plutonium for the wrong reasons. It’s really hard and I basically never feel like I know what I’m doing, but it can be fun, and I prefer working in the lab to the computer.

What’s next for Pod Imiya?

It’s hard to know at the moment, with no raves or festivals happening. I wanna get better at mixing vinyl, coz there’s so much great music which isn’t available digitally, and it’s the best way to support the artists you rate.

Any famous last words?

Big up yaself! Thanks a lot for asking for a mix and interview. And big up my other half of course. Also big up Chris (one of my best mates and founder of Anomalies), and the mad Manc Mother Earth, Tasha (the one and only StalkaDJ), and the Diggin in the Crates and Confield crews. Big thanks to Rich Reason, and to everyone who has booked me, shared my mixes, or even just told me they rate my sets!

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