Brighton based Katie has burst on the scene recently with a very busy schedule playing all across the UK and beyond, holding down a residency at Patterns, her bi-monthly event ‘Faro & Friends’ and a monthly show on Balamii Radio. She has graced line ups with huge headliners such as Horse Meat Disco, Honey Dijon, Folamour, Dan Shake, Moxie, Jeremy Underground and many more.
Faro grew up on her Dad’s collection of R&B and Soul, and started getting into electronic music in her early teens. Soulful sounds continue to always be the key ingredient in her musical selection, often combining elements of 90’s House, Jazzy Deep House, Broken Beat, Disco, Garage and beyond. Often praised for her warm and positive energy on and off the decks, she has a strong ability to read a crowd and play a diverse range of music whilst also staying true to her style. The selector has been honing her craft on the decks for 5 years, however has recently delved more into production with a debut EP on the way.
Faro also runs a platform called ‘Freshly Squeezed’ with Eliza Rose, showcasing the best in soulful underground music, as well as a weekly SoundCloud mix series from upcoming talent and hosting events across London and the south coast. Freshly Squeezed promotes both fresh and classic music, and has an ethos that promotes inclusivity and bringing fun and vibrance to dance music and nightlife.
Hey Katie, how are you doing and what have you been up to during lockdown?
Helloooo! I’m doing pretty great thanks considering. There’s definitely been up and down moments but overall my lockdown’s haven’t been so bad (I think it helps that I live above a pub). I’ve had phases of being super creative, making music, painting, reading, writing, and I’ve had phases of lying horizontally watching netflix and ordering deliveroo. So a nice balance I’d say.
You currently live in Brighton, UK. How is living there and how did the town influence you musically and personally?
So I came to Brighton for University in 2012 solely because of the amount of nightlife haha (I studied English and Media). Of course I absolutely fell in love with the town. It’s different to anywhere else in the UK and is like a unique joyous bubble of liberation. I grew up in a tiny village in Essex and when I moved here I totally came out of my shell and felt at home amongst other creatives and weird/wonderful humans. I have hopped about to Bristol, London and Ibiza but always end up coming back here - there’s something quite magical about it, the beach, the people, the general scene is amazing. Musically, it has done wonders for me. I began DJing in pubs (it has the most pubs per square mile in the UK) in 2015, then a year after gained a residency at the cities’ most loved club, Patterns. This was a springboard moment for my career as a DJ. I have been lucky enough to support huge artists such as Honey Dijon, Jayda G, DJ Boring, Midland and more. I’m still a resident there today and it will forever hold a big place in my heart as it led me to where I am now for sure.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, what first got you interested in electronic music?
I started listening to electronic music as quite a young teen around 13/14. I’d pretend to like what all my friends were into when I was out then I’d go home and wack on my dance music CD’s and be in my element. My music taste definitely comes from my dad. He’s a huge R&B/Soul man and when I was growing up we’d always listen to artists like Donell Jones, SWV, Jodeci as well as the 70’s/80’s stuff and Jazz Fusion which then led to a love of Soulful House. The electronic music I play today is hugely influenced by soulful and jazzy sounds - music that you can really feel and groove to.
Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of music?
I do! I’m currently training in counseling/coaching. I’ve loved the self development world for as long as I can remember and the idea of being able to help people change their lives is really amazing to me. I’ve bought a couple of psychology courses that I’m ploughing through. The plan is to do both that and music - I think they go pretty hand in hand! Especially because I’ll most probably be self employed and remote. Coach by day DJ by night.
I’m not sure if this counts as a hobby but I’ve recently got into running - I can feel myself becoming addicted, it makes you feel so good and sets you up for the day. Worst things to be addicted to hey! Other than that, the list I included in the first question which has made lockdown a little more easy and fun.
We have been enjoying your show on Balamii Radio for a long time. How did you come up with this?
When I initially started playing on Balamii I was in an R&B duo called ‘GCDJ’ then began focusing more on my solo Faro project. I dotted around on various radio stations before this - but Balamii feels like a lovely family and the talent on the station is unreal! Especially at the moment, it feels so great to be able to showcase 2 hours of music every month and just do your thing. I’ve recently re-joined 1BTN radio in Brighton and had my first show last week in the studio. Radio is something that I’ve always loved doing, maybe I’ll take it further one day!
You are also running the platform „Freshly Squeezed“ with Eliza Rose, how did you meet each other and what made you start this project?
I met Eliza through Rhythm Sister, a collective she’s involved in, when they invited me to do a guest mix for radio. We just connected from there and instantly was like ‘shall we put on a night together’. We have a very similar music taste and hype each other up whenever we’re with each other. Freshly Squeezed was created because we thought that there was a bit of a gap in the market for our style of event - we like to make things really fun with colourful retro imagery and decorations, booking artists and playing music ranging from Disco to Soulful House, 90’s Chicago/NY style and Detroit House to UK/US Garage. We then thought it would be a nice idea to start a mix series for upcoming artists and use Instagram as a platform to showcase music that we’re loving. It’s a great project that we have many ideas for! Of course the parties will be back in summer too.
As a DJ, you’ve been a part of UK’s house music scene for some time now. How do you feel the nightlife industry has changed over the years? Is there a difference between the hotspots London, Brighton and Manchester scenes?
I feel the number one thing is how dance music has reached the masses and is so huge now. When I was in Essex/moved to Brighton the scene was way smaller and intimate which of course there’s pros and cons for! There’s way more DJs and artists around now, especially women which is amazing. It goes hand in hand, a bigger audience and more DJ’s - makes sense! I always find music trends quite funny too - there will always be an ‘in genre’ within electronic music. I feel that real House music will never go out of fashion - yano the reeeeal stuff. In regards to clubs and spaces, Brighton’s has actually shrunken a little - there’s a lot more commercial clubs now (which is weird and contradicts my first point) but the ones that have remained are definitely special. In Brighton you also get the more intimate beach bars - the type you walk past randomly and hear an amazing DJ playing as the sun sets. In London you’re pretty spoiled for choice - there’s amazing events on left right and centre and I feel they’ve definitely risen in recent years. I can’t say what the future will hold, but all I know is there’s a lot of hungry party go-ers and DJ’s gagging to dance and play out. Maybe it’ll be better than ever - who knows.
I was excited reading about your first EP, anything you can tell us about this? What kind of music can we expect?
It’s been a long time coming! I’ve kind of been making it and learning at the same time as I’m definitely not a pro yet so wanting to make sure it’s ready. I’ll hopefully get it finished in the next couple of months so will be good timing for live events. The music you can expect pretty much reflects my selection. Jazzy, Soulful House - vibes like Cody Currie, Javonntte, Cinthie - the tracks are currently all slightly different but all work well together. You’ll see!!
Which artists made the biggest impression on you lately and why?
Cody Currie is up there for sure, we had some studio time together last year and he’s just so damn talented! Everything he releases is fire and has smashed his sound and is doing great collabs. Eliza Rose and Helena Star are definitely on the rise and are going places. Eliza is a singer too, she sang on Cody’s new EP with Toytonics and I hear they’ve collabed on a new EP for Dan Shake’s label - you know it’s going to be amazing before you’ve even heard it. I’m also loving Amy Dabbs and Kristy Harper - two amazing DJ’s/producers. There’s too many to mention really!
What have you been listening to recently at home during these difficult times?
I’ve been listening to a mixed bag. I have two Spotify playlists ‘Faro’s Chilli Jams’ which is softer lower tempo music and ‘Faro’s Fruity Jams’ mainly focusing on House. I love scouring the internet for new tunes and artists to include in them. I’ve listened a lot to the likes of Lynda Dawn, Sault, Dan Kye for chilled out vibes. Then obviously people like Byron the Aquarius, Crackazat, Move D mixes (he’s one of my faves). I sometimes just put the radio on - I really like a station called ‘Starpoint’ that my parents have on 24/7. A lot of feel good Soul, Disco, House and Jazzy music on there. I literally listen to music from the moment I open my eyes till the moment I close them - and probably when I'm dreaming.
What have you got coming up that we should be aware of?
Currently I’m organising a few social distanced events at Patterns for May as well as a set at Cafe 1001 in Shoreditch, London. I have a gig in Brixton in July and I’m playing at El Dorado festival that month too. The live events are slowly but surely coming back in! For a couple of years I put on nights called ‘Faro & Friends’ in London inviting upcoming DJs to play - it was always such a good vibe so I’m hoping that I can carry on with that when normality comes again. Of course my EP will be out and about very soon too as well as carrying on with my radio shows.
Finally, tell us about your mix and the feelings behind it.
The mix was done sitting on my bed (I’ve recently moved and don’t have anywhere to put my decks at the moment) with my red neon disco sign glowing and me having a good old sit down dance. I wanted this mix to make people get excited about what’s to come. I feel it portrays elements of joy and hope. There’s a lot of feel-good House music in there from artists such as Kaidi Tatham, DJ Spen, Amy Dabbs, Cody & Eliza, Boo Williams, Jimpster, Opolopo. This mix is for people who want to listen to loudly and escape with headphones on, to listen to in the shower, to accompany their Friday night with drinks and dancing. That’s what I love about this type of House music, it’s suitable for pretty much anywhere and anytime. I really hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did making it! See you on a dance floor somewhere very soon.