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INTERVIEW with DJ & producer Maria Healy talking about her latest single Kingfisher

Maria Healy's brand new single Kingfisher was released recently by John O'Callaghan respected record label Subculture. Powerful energetic dynamic tracks are the usual output by Maria's hands so Kingfisher is not an exception rather the epitome of her well known style. The track receives support from all the usual suspects and we are pleased that she has the available time to reply in our questions covering her past, present and future goals. Enjoy her great answer while on your stereo Kingfisher bangs the drums. 

Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist and radio host at 1mix radio. 

Dimitri: Firstly it would be great to tell us when and under which circumstances you took the decision to become a DJ and producer of electronic music?

Maria Healy: I think I wanted to be a DJ from an early age. I got my first set of turntables for Christmas when I was 15. The men who worked in the shop were actually sneering and jeering at my dad for buying me my decks because I was a girl. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. I caused my father a bit of hassle with my neighbours and we were in court a few times when I was 15/16 over the noise (long story) but I had to stop playing the decks for a while. Then around 2008, I decided enough is enough, I really wanted to pursue my career in music. The rest is history! 

Dimitri: Why from all the available music styles you choose to DJ and produce trance music? What this music style signifies for you?

Maria Healy: Trance is my passion! I love trance so much. This may sound narrow minded, but I would probably only listen to trance. I very seldom listen to anything else. I do like techno, tech house, etc. but trance is the one for me. It’s a marriage lol! 

Dimitri: What was the reaction from your family environment to enter the very masculine and Competitive work and life style of the dj? Did your family approved or encouraged you to do it and break the boundaries?

Maria Healy: As I mentioned above in the first question, I had some trouble with my dear neighbours when I was younger. I was always told to turn it down or turn my music off. So perhaps I was a little rebellious. Now it is not so bad, I just have to play my music really low or with my headphones, but its fine. My family would be really happy to see me travelling and going away to play my music. My family are great, my brothers love it. My Da is my personal taxi man to the airport. 

Dimitri: When was your first dj gig in front of a large audience? What were your biggest fears and Anxieties when you enter the Dj booth?

Maria Healy: In 2009, I went to Ibiza for the summer and I started playing every night in Tropi to build my confidence. Towards the end of the summer, I got a gig in Play 2 for Vicky Devine’s Charlys Angelz. That was one of the most memorable big gigs. I sometimes get nervous but they are good nerves, nothing a few bottles of beer won’t sort out! 

Dimitri: In which label you got your first ever release and how did you manage to approach them and persuade them to release your track?

Maria Healy: The first ever track was a track called Badush. It was released on a Detox, a Dutch label. Mark Sherry really pushed this for me and helped me get it released. 

Dimitri: It would be great from your back catalogue to choose your absolute Top 3 tracks and tell us if there is a nice story behind them except your latest one.

Maria Healy:

1. I think ‘The Playroom’ was one of my first big released on Kearnage. It was named after the DJ competition I won in the Arches in Glasgow for Inside Out. The prize was to play the closing set in the Playroom.

2. Atlantis Calling - this was very special as it was my first release on Subculture. I was delighted with them signing it. The Noble Six remixed it and done an amazing job! 

3. My Remix of Fred Baker – Confirmation. This was one of old time favourites and it was a risk remixing such a classic. It was received well, and was released on In Trance We Trust and also was included on their CD. 

Dimitri: You have been associated with Subculture. Why you choose to stay on the Subculture family and what is your opinion about the owner John O Callaghan?

Maria Healy: I am a big fan of Subculture and everything it stands for - that is quality Trance. I am great friends with John O’Callaghan he is an absolute gent! He’s always supported me from the day I met him. In 2011 he asked me to warm up for his Unfold album launch party and he continues to support my music. I probably do his head in sometimes, as I am always asking him questions or annoying him to send me his new music.

Dimitri: You are part of the Woody van Eyden’s Music and Artist agency in Germany. How this collaboration came about and what did you find most appealing to this agency?

Maria Healy: I was DJing in Tropi down the west in in Ibiza in 2014. Alex M.O.R.P.H. and Woody Van Eyden came up to have a drink after they played on the Driftwood boat party and were outside listening to my set. Alex turned to Woody and said ‘you need to sign that girl’. I got chatting to him that night and he asked for my email. I am a big fan of Woody and his craziness so I think the agency suited me perfect! 

Dimitri: Your latest banger is called Kingfisher. Can you take us backstage and tell us how long did you take to produce it and why did you name it Kingfisher?

Maria Healy: The track took just over 1 year to complete. The name Kingfisher came from the wildlife channel. I was watching it with my Da and I was like – that is a cool name for a track. It’s a colourful bird. 

Dimitri: What kind of studio set up do you have and what is your usual process of producing a particular track and how did you produce Kingfisher?

Maria Healy: My PC is a custom made from the Millennium Music guys in the UK. There is an M Audio sound card built into the PC itself. I have 2 x KRK Rokit 5’s. I have an M Audio midi keyboard & and Arturia analogue 32 keyboard. I use Cuebase 5 (which I need to upgrade). I use the focusrite USB sound card also, as my speakers plug direct into that instead of the M Audio. 

The melody was created in January 2015. All it was to begin with was the melody and nothing else. I renamed the file to ‘BIG MELODY’ and it sat there brewing for a few months. After building the percussion around the melody, it was at first a little weak and needed a lot more work. I knew this was a special melody, as I am still not sick of listening to it!

Dimitri: Do you have ready any other tracks or remixes? Can you give us some information about your future releases?

Maria Healy: I can’t say too much just yet, but there is another new original coming out in June. I am also currently working on a new vocal original. So all to be revealed very soon! 

Dimitri: You have performed in various clubs and festivals. Can you choose for us you’re absolute? 

Maria Healy: Top 3 performances and explain us why these DJ experiences are so memorable for you?

1. I played at Trance Together in London. I was playing in the back room for a 2 hour slot and I was asked then after my set to play another hour straight after in the main room. I forgot the set was a live broadcast on AH.FM so I was delighted! It was one of my favourite nights. 

2. I played at Connect in Privilege in Ibiza last year and I warmed up for Alex MORPH and Paul Oakenfold etc. It was an honour to play in one of the most iconic clubs in the world.

3. I played in the Arches in Glasgow in 2011. This was one of my favourite gigs, I was after winning the DJ competition on FB. I got over 2000 votes, so the pressure was on when I got there. It was an amazing! 

Dimitri: What elements do you believe a DJ performance must contain in order to get positive reactions? Is the track selection, the DJ mixing techniques, the interaction with the audience, how receptive the audience is or all these factors together?

Maria Healy: I think for me, track selection, building a set and seeing what way the crowd react. I like to always include a few oldie tracks. I know myself from clubbing, you go home and you always remember that one track the DJ played, usually a classic! 

Dimitri: You are quite active in the social media. How far are you ready to give from your personal life to your fans in your social media? Have you put certain limitations of what can you share and you don’t like to share? Do you have example of DJs who share too much trivial information from the personal life just to keep on feeding the social media system?

Maria Healy: I don’t put anything too personal on my social media. It’s hard as I have my normal FB page which I also use for my music things, and also my fan page, twitter and Instagram. I don’t like to post anything negative or get involved in negativity. Who wants to read bad news?

Dimitri: Where are we going to catch you in the following months and you are looking forward to play?

Maria Healy: You can catch me playing in the Wright Venue in Dublin, May 6th for Filth, along with Aly & Fila and Ferry Corsten. I am playing in Germany in June (TBA) and also the big one in Cream in Amnesia in Ibiza. I am also playing in Germany again in August and making my debut in the US towards the end of the summer plus lots more to be announced. 

Dimitri: Let’s finish of with your 3 pieces of advice to any upcoming dj and artist male or female?

Maria Healy: The 4 P’s: Promotion / Production / Patients / Persistence. 

Many thanks to Maria Healy for replying to my questions with such a wonderful answers.

Many thanks to William Daniel from Subculture offices for organising this interview.

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