Lupini: The Ransom Note Mix

5 Minute Read

A dizzy, distorted mixtape recorded in one take.

Lupini is a DJ and broadcaster based in Liverpool. She is a bit of an unsung hero if you ask us, having worked tirelessly behind the scenes of endless projects and as the station manager at the city’s Melodic Distraction.

More recently she has been broadcasting music on NTS, on which she has launched her own show and has gathered a core following of listeners who have gravitated towards her selections which span the breadth of dub, post punk, ambient and the leftfield fringes of electronic music. She’s also playing our inaugural festival with Optimo this year; Watching Trees this September.


She’s been pivotal in helping to push and promote a wealth of musicians from the North and has documented this off piste music culture from Liverpool, Manchester and beyond for the love of it growing as a DJ and an artist in her own right at the same time.

This tape reflects a scenario she describes as being best listened to on “a fuzzy Sunday with a Scorpio-rising full moon, as folks come in on the roll-through and need their heads rattling a bit.”

This one goes deep, we’re delighted to include one of our favourite selectors in the series.

Who are you, where are you and what are you?

I’m LUPINI, aka Nina. I’m a broadcaster and DJ based in Liverpool, as well as workshop facilitator. I used to station manage Melodic Distraction Radio based here in Liverpool, and I just recently took the plunge in going full-time on my own personal projects. I’m currently a Tuesday resident for NTS, and have a sound art and deep listening project called Heavy Texture.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

Polar opposites hand-in-hand. Crunch into clarity, crud into levity, the difficult intellectual into the euphoric and gratuitous. Why can’t you have it all, all at the same time?

The Garden of Earthly Delights - Wikipedia

Where was the mix recorded?

At my home in Liverpool. I borrowed a friends’ mixer (thanks Abbie of Humble Abode) and used two janky XDJs that keep slipping out of time, which is a little frustrating but gives the whole mix a kind of charming sloppiness. I used an aux cable and my computer to provide a third deck, because I like to live dangerously like that. It was recorded in one take, because I’m too last minute to go back and fix it up or record again, so it’s a little raw in places.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

There’s a good few records in here I probably wouldn’t play on a dance floor, yet it’s a bit meaner than a radio mix. So the perfect setting is probably Peste in Manchester. A Guinness for you and a non-alcoholic Belgian beer for me. I’ve been spending more and more time at Peste and The White Hotel, as well as getting to know the wider Manny community the last couple years, and the North West just has this thing right now – it’s so alive. This whole mix sounds very ‘Manchester’ to me – crunchy, scuzzy, a bit fucked up, flavours of dancehall, dub, postpunk and techno but all through run through a distortion pedal. Brash but with ultimately good intentions. The perfect time would be a fuzzy Sunday with a Scorpio-rising full moon, as folks come in on the roll-through and need their heads rattling a bit.

What should we be wearing?

A priest’s stole and dirty shoes.

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

I nearly always record mixes in the middle of the night, but I’d love to flip that behaviour and record a sunrise mix somewhere gorgeous and hot and outside, with a sea view, bare-feet-on-the-ground stylee.

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

Uhhhhhh. I love Tom Boogizm’s Rat Heart record from this year, it’s the opening track. The Brokenchord track has been a staple favourite for the last few years, I think it’s breathtaking. Jon Hassell’s more ambient works have been favourites of mine for sometime, but Ben Cowper of Between Stations in Bristol showed me the 808 edit and I love it. Maybe that’s my newest favourite. Actually, maybe the Earth Leakage Trip is my favourite, I’m obsessed with any track with seagull samples.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

Fabriclive 26 The Herbaliser. I know every word to the whole fuckin thing. It takes me back to my first year of university, when I used to listen to it at least once a week in halls, in between listening to a lot of Elijah and Skilliam on Rinse. The mix has aged beautifully. I’m not even that much of a hiphop head, so it’s kind of weird that I got so grabbed by that one mixtape. The Afrodisco/funk crossover was big at the time too, and I loved going to see Mr Scruff play (I mean, I still do) so I guess that breaky-funky thing kinda stuck. So fun.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

To be honest, most of the DJs I’m keen to play back-to-back with are people who are with us now – I’m keen on playing with people who have a grasp of the current as well as having a ‘vintage’ sound. I’d love to play with Fergus Clark, Tom Boogizm, Lena Wilikens, Josie Rebelle, Annabel Frazer or DJ Marcelle.

Of folks passed, I’d say Weatherall but I’d be so starstruck and in awe that I don’t know how much I’d actively enjoy a back-to-back.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

My first DJ set up was having two tabs on YouTube open at the same time.

My first purchased DJ setup is the same one I have now, compiled piecemeal and gradually over time. This shit is mad expensive. 2x Presonus Eris E4.5 monitors – budget, but fine. 2 XDJ700s, probably the most expensive items I’ve ever bought, an Audio-Technica turntable and an Omnitronic TRM-202MK3 mixer that I’ve decided I actually hate and want to swap for a faderboard mixer.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

Every track in a mix is equally important. The big ‘moment’ doesn’t have to be the last track.

What were the first and last records you bought?

I don’t know what the first one was, but I think the last records I bought were a set of roots-reggae 45s and Lawrence Le Doux and Roger 3000’s ‘Chou Chou’.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

A meze platter, but out of bits you’ve got languishing in the fridge. Somehow you expect it to be a bit grim, but I actually turns out to be a cute, enjoyable lunch.

If it was an animal what would it be?

A snake; she starts off lazy and languid, needing to take some time to bask before warming up. After a little photosynthesise she’s a different creature.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

I actually don’t buy that much dance music on wax, I mainly keep physical purchases for home listening stuff, ambient, jazz, odd samples and ethnographic records, so I’d guess that probably anything you pull off the shelves is going to be a fucking nightmare to mix. I’ve bought quite a lot of noise records over the years, they’d probably be the worst.

Upcoming for Lupini..

It feels like this Winter/Spring I’ve been gigging loads, so I’m going to take a bit of a step-back from gigging over the summer to focus a bit more on my deep listening project Heavy Texture. It’s got a bit neglected whilst I’ve been doing lots of club shows, so I’m excited to lock myself in a cabin and get my head down. That, and I think I’m going to be doing some shows in Portugal over summer, which should be gorgeous.

Anything else we need to discuss?

Thanks for having me <3 Stay well!