How was your journey to what you do now? / What do you wish you had known when you started out?
A big one indeed. If I had to put a starting point on it, I’d probably say when I joined Sofar Sounds London as an MC in 2016. It’s an inspiring community of likeminded musos and you’re constantly coming into contact with artists from all walks of life. There I developed a passion for presenting and it acted as a springboard for my career. I began promoting genreless gig nights, firstly at The Old Blue Last and then Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen (now Colours) as a monthly residency for three years. This also prompted my - probably ‘cringe worthy’ - internet show called ‘Peggy’s World’, where I interviewed artists climbing trees, rowing a boat, at the seaside etc.
Flash forward and I’ve developed a deep-rooted love for a) post-punk music b) music journalism as a radio DJ and writer for So Young Magazine and Hard Of Hearing Music c) earning my crust as a DJ (pre-covid ofc).
If I had to give advice to my younger self it would be to remember that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and neither was a career in music. There were a good few years in the early twenties when I was just stuck in a loop of feeling not good enough because I was never at my ‘end goal’ - whatever that is. You never get these years back so just enjoy the ride and take pride in your achievements.
Who were your early passions and influences? Any mentors / people you look for inspiration?
100% I have to shout out Ned Archibong founder of QM Records, based in Brighton. I met him at my third Sofar Sounds show (he was performing with his band Normanton Street) and we just clicked. It was Ned who inspired me to really take this music lark seriously and both my live shows and internet show were curated in collab with him. Whilst I’m now on a more solo route, it was even Ned who encouraged me to start writing about music, firstly on the QM Records blog. When we first met, QM Records was mainly just Ned and fellow band mate Nicholson running the show, but now they have a huge team, interns and have provided a platform for so many aspiring artists and fellow music journos to kickstart their careers. When this pandemic s**t storm finally ends I highly recommend seeking out a QM Records gig night.
How does an average day looks like in the life of Peggy?
Wake up (with a hangover) on my houseboat. Head to the gym to shower (boat life). If it’s a Friday interview a band on my radio show. Have a few pints with them in the Boogaloo pub afterwards. Head to somewhere in East London to get work or done or meet a pal. Perform with my band UK Paint Horse in the eve and/or do a DJ set till 2am. Forget where my boat is moored and inevitably end up crashing in the Boogaloo pub upstairs.
Wake up (minus hangover). Go for a run (a newfound pleasure) it’s so good for your mental health! Write an article or do a band interview. Plan podcast takeover (tba). Drink tonic water and trick my brain into thinking it’s a real G&T and end the day calling a pal or watching an ITV murder mystery drama.
I’m hoping it’ll be a healthy mixture of the two.
How important is building a real relationship with the music you're playing esp as there is so much music out there. Is it even possible to do with a particular song or album?
It’s so important for a number of reasons. An obvious one for my fellow DJ’s out there, is that each venue and audience requires a different style of music. Usually sets are 4hrs long, so you really need to have a good knowledge of what music works where, so that you don’t have to worry about what track you’re going to play – you get to a point where it just comes naturally. With regards to radio, that’s slightly different as I’m dealing with new music. You have to be the person that knows the ‘next big hit’ before it comes out. That comes through meeting bands, developing relationships with artists, labels and pluggers as well as taking the time to research the discography and social media accounts of bands you love and those related.
Could you please outline your hosting style? What do you try to communicate to the audience through your vibe?
My mates say I’m like a northern Bridget Jones. Not sure if that’s a compliment. I try to be very open and honest – if I get dumped my listeners will know about it – and just have fun with it. You need to prepare your playlists and general talking points to some extent, but I love just having a laugh with bands I haven’t met before and spending two hours playing music that I completely and utterly enjoy. Hopefully the listeners have similar music tastes and feel like they’re a part of the – for want of a better word – chaos that is my show.
People you worked with? Who was a highlight and why?
The list is endless. If I was talking about bands that I’ve interviewed or had on shows it’d have to be FEET, Hotel Lux, Jacob Slater, DEADLETTER and Italia 90 who take the biscuit. I did an interview with Alan McGee (Creation Records) which was a laugh! Jen Crothers who founded Boogaloo Radio has inspired me so much, I wouldn’t be a DJ without her and she’s now one of my closest friends – we have a DJ duo called Tête-à-tête, please hire us. I also curated ‘A History on the Evolution of Punk’ lecture with my dear friend Andy Ross (Food Records). He’s got many a story about ‘the good old days’ and keeps me in check if I’m being too indulgent on the ‘it’s so hard being a twenty something’ front. The list is honestly endless.
If you could switch lives with someone for a day, who would it be?
It’s got to be Lauren Laverne. Living that sweet 6 Music dream.
Fav thing to do in London?
Going to gigs is probably an obvious one. I’m a sucker for a pub and a pint. I love swimming at the London Fields lido and heading to Broadway Market or Columbia Road Flower Market afterwards. If you’re looking for something a bit more leftfield then there’s a guy who pops into The Last Tuesday’s Society in Bethnal Green with reptiles for you to hold from time to time. Weirdly, I’m a massive fan.
Cruising the canals of London in your boat – please explain how all that happened and if we all just leave our homes and join you??
YES. I LOVE MY BOAT. At the grand old age of 21 I realised that a) I wanted to live with my best bud Adam Maestro (Sofar Sounds) b) as I no longer had a London student loan I couldn’t realistically afford to rent in our glorious city. Long story short, we had the shell of a houseboat built and did the inside ourselves - with the help of a few very dodgy workmen. There are definitely some harsh realities. If you’re attached to your plug sockets, not happy travelling to the gym to shower and don’t want to sleep in your hat and gloves in the winter then it’s probably not for you. Down sides out of the way, it’s an amazing way to see the whole of London. If you were born and raised a country bumpkin like me, it’s a great way to access the nature element of a city which can often be hard to find. There’s no better feeling than cruising your boat through central London on a sunny day with a can of cider in hand and Easy Life blurring though the speakers: side note yes Easy Life make great boating music.
What Is coming up or you in the near future?
I’ve just had first ‘in print’ article published in So Young Magazine which got me all excited. There’s a lot in the pipelines at Hard Of Hearing Music which I can’t really talk about but exciting times ahead. I’ve just taken on the role of features writer there which is a new challenge – my first feature article focuses on a lovely interview I just had with Ellie from Goat Girl! I also have a podcast in the works with fellow Boogaloo presenter Sachin. I don’t want to reveal too much but we have some cracking guests lined up and George Haverson (FEET frontman) has designed the artwork – very talented guy! My band have a track coming out on a compilation vinyl in aid of Music Venue Trust which we all can’t wait to share. I’ve also taken on the (perhaps foolish) task of running a half marathon on 20th March to raise funds for MVT and shed a bit of beer weight.