Scarlett O’Malley: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix
Scarlett O’Malley is truly a woman of many talents.
DJ’ing, hosting, presenting, writing, podcasting, promoting, producing, voice over acting… you name it, she can probably do it.
Today it’s her DJ pursuits that take centre stage. Soul – in its many forms – was her entry point into the music world, setting the wheels in motion for her passion to turn into her vocation.
But in a club set you’ll hear her digging through punchy vocal house, chunky 90s cuts, percussive breaks and more – that said, there’s always a distinct soulfulness running through everything she plays.
On top of sharing these nuggets in the booth, Scarlett’s always had a commitment to researching the roots and the origins of the music she loves, and because of that she really knows her onions.
2022 was a big year for her and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. Following milestones like becoming one of the faces of Fred Perry and hosting her first BBC Radio doc, she’s keeping things moving by breathing new life into her The Soul Exchange project by stepping away from events and moving into the world of reissues, and taking her Club Cowgirl parties to festivals across the UK.
Scarlett’s mix for us today is all about house music. She describes it as choppy, chunky, groovy and, inevitably, full of soul – in short it ‘will have every part of your body moving’.
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you.
I’m Scarlett O’Malley, born and raised in London and still here and I am a DJ, presenter, documentary maker and producer.
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)?
This mix is house heavy. I feel like it’s chunky and choppy, what I would describe as something you could get a stomp on to. I always think about footage from warehouse raves in the 90s and there’s this stunning girl in like a white shirt and a black hat who always sticks out in my mind who has this wicked stomp dance on and I wanna make mixes that people would dance like that too. Oh super percussive heavy in the mix too, a lot of breaks as well. Groovy basslines and vocals of course, that’s a given for me. This mix is something that will have every part of your body moving and has a lot of soul in it, not to sound too cheesy.
This Pollock piece I feel perfectly represents the mix. One of his only brightly coloured works, it has a lot of punch, feels noisey and in my mind looks like it represents how a dirty, stompy rave should feel. (I promise I’m not pretentious eeek).
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded in my bedroom in my new place based in West Hampstead, going up in the world it seems haha
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
This is a club mix to the Nth degree, this is my ideal club set. Say if I was to walk into a club or even hit a late-night festival stage, I wanted to create something that would stop me from wanting to move on or hit the smoking area and keep me moving in one spot for a solid hour.
What should we be wearing?
Tits out tops off would be ideal, but I mean wear what you like, just preferably non-synthetic because this is a sweaty one.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?:
Shaking my ass, on a yacht, in Dubai, in a thong… with Funktion-One speakers, cdj2000nxs2’s and a djm 900nxs2 and a pair of Technics 1210 mk2, don’t forget the 45 adapters… let’s keep it simple, the 3000s scare me.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
My favourite track on the mix is the Amy Dabbs and Coco Bryce tune ‘Geezer Like Me’, I’m very into breaks at the moment and this is super soulful, definitely uses a funk drum sample and I suspect some other soul samples from James Brown et al. and I’m all over that. My first love is soul music so being able to marry a groovy dance tune with a lot of soul makes me weak at the knees.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
This was definitely THE hardest question of them all, but a set that has always stuck out for me was Helena Star’s Mixmag Lab set a couple years back, every single song is a banger and a song I would listen to and 100% play out.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I’ve been asked this question a few times and it’s such a struggle because there’s so many DJs out there I love and adore… fuck it, me and Carl Cox Circoloco opening 2024 closing the terrace, I’m manifesting it now.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
So I kind of went 0 to 100 on my set up when a friend of a friend was getting rid of their fresh cdjs, djm 750 mk2 and pioneer speakers 6 months into having them because he realised he didn’t want to be a DJ and I’d just come into a little money so the stars aligned and I gave it all over to have my first DJ set up! Turntables-wise I got given a Technics 1210 mk2 on ‘permanent loan’ from a guy who I’d made a video about who was opposing a high-rise being built behind the Hoover Building in Perivale (my favourite building), moral of the story you never know who you’ll meet, when and where, and who will give you a deck for free, big ups Ed! I then sold my Audio Technica deck and bought another second hand Technics deck off a friend fully refurbished for half the price of a new one… so my whole set up is second hand but feels brand new, dreamy.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Cor, hard question. I feel like I always like my first tune to make a big statement, some kind of message with a vocal hence the Ladymonix ft. Rashida tune ‘Track 39’ that samples the 1994 Princess Di ‘Who’s Dick is This?’, important stuff right there, but honestly what a belter. And I will always slow it down and make it super soulful and smoochy for my last tune, one for the lovers… or the haters, I don’t mind. The Omar S tune that ends this mix ft. Supercoolwicked ‘What’s Good for the Goose’ is a favourite, very sexy. So to answer your question, both are equally as important.
What were the first and last records you bought?
Well I’ve been record collecting since I was about 12, because I’ve always been into old music; 50s and 60s music is the only stuff I would hear growing up so to try and remember first ever record bought is a tough one. If we’re talking about any format, my first ever CD was the Spice Girls debut album when I was about 6 and I remember that really vividly. My most recent record haul has come from my trip to the States in October. Whenever I travel I always take an empty carry-on case and aim to fill it up for when I come home, especially when going to the States and I mainly collect rare soul 7s and house. I think I managed around 200 records from my last trip to New York and Detroit, Detroit was a goldmine for soul and local label house, and of course New York has it on lock. My favourite record from that lot is a rare 70s tune by Marc LeRoi Cummings called ‘Lots of Love’. I listen to that at least 5 times a day.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Hmmm, I reckon a tangy cherry sweet from a haribo tangfastics bag.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A tiger, it’s the only thing coming to mind.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I mean it’s near impossible to mix any soul 45s as they’re all like 2.5 minutes long, vocal heavy and unquantized so take your pick haha.
Anything else we need to discuss?
I am revamping my brand The Soul Exchange this year and moving away from events and into reissues! I have just signed a distro contract and have my list of very well guarded tunes I am going to reissue, so I’m looking forward to putting more 70s crossover soul into the world!
I’m also taking Club Cowgirl back to more festivals this year and working on workshops and panels, whilst working on making some tunes myself. I am also doing a mini Mexico tour in February which I’m super excited about so yeah ready to take it all on woo!
Ladymonix and Rashida – Track 39
Burnski – Shout
DJ Minx – A Walk in the Park (Wink’s Run Thru The Park Interpretation)
Harrison BDP – Lazy Bones
Jasper James – MHMMM
Tom Esselle (feat. 3Digits) – Can I Get A Bump
Hassler – Tiki Taki
Borai & Denham Audio – No Good
Demuir – Conspire. Moves of a Toronto Manz (Original Mix)
Glue Boy & El Gusano – Beak Dub
Amy Dabbs & Coco Bryce – Geezer Like Me
J Wax – Uber
Textasy (feat. DJ Di’jital) – Déjà Vu Bass
Chrissy – Can’t You Feel It (Soundbwoy Killah Remix)
Mark Brauner – What’s Your Name
X-Coast – Party Time (Extended)
Daphni – Fly Away
Omar S (feat. Supercoolwicked) – What’s Good For The Goose