Peggy Gou is a Berlin based Korean artist. Through a regular stream of high quality mixes she has begun to turn heads in underground circles. Her DJ sets are a assured, kinetic combination of dark, pulsing house and techno, broken beats and the media have been quick to pick up currently gracing the cover of Mixmag.
With her upcoming show for the Needs x UN Women HeForShe project in London we had a chance to catch up with her.
How did you get involved with the Needs x UN Women HeForShe project?
I received an email from the UN #HeForShe & Needs to be involved in the gender equality campaign, and my immediate thought was that I have had experiences that made this a very interesting thing for me to be a part of. As a female artist, although I don’t want my work as a musician to be defined by my gender, I thought that if there was anything I could do to help and be a part of a campaign for equality like this, it would be an amazing project to be involved with.
The creative worlds are undergoing a seismic shift currently. How do you feel that this will pan out for women currently in industry and for women going into industry?
I think the current attention to being drawn to issues of gender equality and sexual harassment will have a positive influence for women in music. I think knowing that people are now taking these issues more seriously will allow women to become more free and self determined.
Technology has evolved very fast but unfortunately the human mind has taken its time to catch up, so it’s great to see that we are putting names to certain behaviours as well as getting support from men who see it as an issue too along the way. Together we can make a positive change.
You are a Korean artist now based in Berlin after spending time in London.. What was it that lured you to Europe and then to Berlin specifically?
I moved to London originally as a student to study at the London College of Fashion. Growing up I was always interested in fashion so in the beginning I wanted to be a designer. but after my foundation year I focused more on styling but came to realise that, while I enjoyed styling myself, I wasn’t so good at styling others! It was around this time that I really began to get more into music and knew that DJing and production was what I truly knew in my heart that I wanted to do. So I decided to move to Berlin, because it seemed like the right place to learn more and pursue this dream.
Your mixes and sets have been turning heads for a while now. How do you differ recording a mix from performing?
Whether I play in a club or when making a mix I always try to show as much of my different tastes in music as possible, but for a recorded mix the genre or style I play depends on what kind of mix it is and for which media – sometimes I’ll do a chill out mix, sometimes a techno mix… I want them all to be individual and different from each other. At the moment I am working on a special 2hr radio mix, which is going to travel across the different styles of my musical taste – house, techno, hip hop etc. So it’s different every time.
Your music is sometimes described as soft, yet you also are known for techno. How do you feel that these two can coexist?
I’m not sure that I would describe my music as ‘soft’ – yes I like to have a strong melody in all my tracks, but I think there’s always a punch in there that you need to make it work for dancefloor. A lot of techno influences my music and my DJ sets are always a blend of styles – there are a lot of great DJs who can move between genres in a set, so I think it’s very easy for techno to coexist alongside more melodic music too.
My productions are from all different influences, so it can be a house track but within it there can also be elements of techno or electro – it all comes from different genres and eventually becomes my music, so I don’t know how I should name the genre on my tracks sometimes!
You have a reputation as a crate digger with a large collection of records.. What comes first when you buy a record. Is it the music or its playability?
When I am buying records it is always the music first, definitely. I buy all kinds of music, and the playability factor comes later, when I’m packing my bags for a gig. I like to have a large and varied music collection, and I am into many different styles of art and culture – I think it makes my a better DJ and producer to be influenced by many different kinds of music.
What is the best bit of advice you have been given or want to give for aspiring musicians and producers?
I recently went to see Joe Claussell as his record store and when I came out of there I felt like I was different person. He’s very spiritual and individual, I would go as far to say a special guy, because he is totally doing his own thing. He gave me advice that if you wanna go a long way you’ve just gotta be yourself, do what you love and don’t worry about anything else: Be true to yourself, and believe in yourself. Just do your thing.
Coming from someone like him, who seems like he is almost from another world, it was just the best advice I could hear. He made me realize that kind of self-awareness and belief is super important.
What is next for you?
After the UN #HeForShe event I have a new EP coming up on Phonica Records in April. They have been really supportive of me since the very beginning, and released my second EP in 2016. It includes a wonderful remix by my friend Ge-Ology, who is known for his releases on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label. Also in April I will play at Coachella festival for the first time, which I’m very excited about!
My other plans for this year are to start my own label and begin working on an album. I will also play less gigs than last year in order to have more time for the studio and my other artistic interests, including learning more instruments. Last year I played so many gigs, which was great & really helped me grow as a DJ, but it was quite exhausting and didn’t leave much time for other things. So this year I will aim to strike more of a balance between touring and working on improving myself musically & artistically.