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Feature 'Meg Ward - Phenol House [Zone Focus]'

Meg Ward is a fast rising djing and producing talent rising within Newcastle’s famous nightclub scene and behind the decks she’s known for her high energy and on point eclectic selections, matched with a huge performing personality. 

Her Tuesday residency at the underground party, Ill Behaviour, has seen her become a firm favourite at the Cosmic Ballroom venue. Additionally she’s rocked the floors of APE-X at Digital and Off the Record at MSA, making a big impression every time she plays. 

These nights have seen her support acts like Bicep, Amelie Lens, KETTAMA, Sally C, Brame & Hamo, Salary Boy and Folamour, and her 2020 schedule looks set to be another fantastic year with gigs lined up across the U.K, including dates in London and Aberdeen. 

 

Her tracks encompass a sound that blends old school elements with modern production techniques, covering a multitude of rave genres including house, techno, disco and breakbeat, and her unique sampling style intertwines acid patterns, heavy drum kicks and high octane synths to create lethal club ready cuts.

These releases have seen support from the likes of Patrick Topping, DJ Sneak, Mark Blair and Demuja. And, kicking off the new decade with a bang, she becomes UK magazine and label Zone Focus’ first artist signing of the year with her Phenol House EP.

The heavy hitting EP takes old school rave beats and twists them into alternative underground slammers. By combining hard house and techno elements, then blending in electro and acid tweaks the results are three club-ready juggernauts, perfect for dance floor consumption. As well as delving into her own distinctive producing methods, Meg Ward’s inspiration for the EP primarily comes from her experiences within the UK dance music scene, especially those Newcastle’s infamous clubland.

Here’s what Meg had to say when we caught up with her recently…

 

HG: So, you moved to the Toon to study pharmacology back in 2016. Although not knowing you personally back then, I imagine the last few years since then must have shaped you as an artist. How important has the city of Newcastle been in developing you as a DJ?

MW: Newcastle has fully shaped me as an artist. I didn’t buy a controller until late 2017, so being an artist in Newcastle is all I’ve known. The city’s thriving scene definitely got me into raves and electronic music from the moment I moved here. After attending so many events, I started promoting for them. Ape-x helped me grow my knowledge of underground music and gain experiences that really shaped me into the style I love to play and produce now.

 

HG: I guess my knowledge of the local scene is Patrick Topping and Elliot Adamson. Are they a big influence in your sound and is there anyone else coming out the city we should be looking out for?

 

MW: Both are absolutely amazing producers. I’d also say that both of them have completely different styles that work so well together they’ve had a lot of influence on the stuff I play for sure. I’m honoured to have had support from both of them on my tunes, and be playing with them both shortly in different venues. There’s so much talent coming out of this city. Young producers like Murg (who I’ve worked alongside with a lot) Dyslecta and Nord all have huge stuff and I doubt they’re slowing down soon. 100% should keep an eye on these guys.

HG: Let’s talk about the EP as even before I spoke with Michael [Zone Focus], about doing this feature I’d caught wind of the release from the Radio 1 support you’ve been getting. For those that aren’t already in the know can you tell us how this came about? 

MW: I met Haai after her Ape-x show at cosmic ballroom, and we had a lush chat about music and played her some of my stuff. After I plucked the courage up, I sent her the phenol house EP. And it paid off! Haai’s message on her show to young producers was really inspirational and I’d deffo recommend listening back to what she’s said.

HG: So tell me more about the individual tracks on the EP…

MW:

Phenol House:

Phenol is a simple structured, yet very potent chemical- which is similar to what I’ve tried to make this whole EP. It’s highly reactive and can cause damage. The track itself is inspired from the rave style house that is so common in the sets of some of my favourite artists, but with my own twist on it.

Sterling: 

The amped up bass on this track is inspired by the heavy hitting heroes in the 90s, e.g. the prodigy. Also, the name comes from the thought of having a hit of a cigarette after coming up from a pinger.

Twelve Twelve:

This song is essentially the combination between a 909 and a 303. 909 + 303 = 1212. Also, This song has a lot of me just saying stupid stuff into the mic. “take control of my mind” – which is pretty much what I love DJs to do when I see them live.

HG: And I was lucky enough to catch you playing myself back in March last year supporting Paddy. How would you say your sound has developed since then and where does this EP fit within the vibe you’re trying to create on the dancefloor?

MW: I’d say my sound has matured a lot since then for sure. I’ve started to deter from the very disco edit- heavy sets I used to play. Don’t get me wrong I still throw the odd disco belter in there, but my sets are more centred around the classic house sound, mixed with techno and acid. 

HG: Can you let us know a dancefloor weapon you’ve been dropping recently?

MW: This absolute belter:

HG: I’m sure there’s a few budding DJs and producers out there reading this right now. Have you got one tip or piece of advice for any readers trying to break through into their local scene?

MW: DJs keep DJing. Practice, play house parties, have good craic and it’ll come. Put yourself out there: speak to promoters, speak to club owners, bartenders, students, anyone who can help you. The only way people will be able to hear you is if you give them something to listen to. There’s literally never any harm in asking, and getting a no first doesn’t mean it’s forever a no. 

Producers keep producing. Stuck on a track? Start another project. Be original: focus on being you and developing your sound. Be constantly sat making music for days. Making a lot of content will help you develop into who you are. Most importantly: get your music out there!! SoundCloud, youtube, spotify etc whatever you use- people won’t notice you if they cant hear you. Again: for people to listen, you have to make noise. 

HG: I understand you have plans to move to Leeds later in the year, another city known for a wicked nightlife. Are you excited for the move?

MW: I’m excited and terrified. I love Newcastle and I’m very attached to it. I hope to make myself known by promoters and stuff so I can still keep doing what I’m doing. The scene there is pretty class and I’m deffo excited to build myself up from another city.

HG: And finally, Sash or Chicane?

MW: “Sash!”

The title track from Meg’s EP Phenol House premiered over on the Eminent SoundCloud page, listen now below:

March 3, 2020

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