This interview is taken from our segment in the January edition of District Magazine’s Guide to Dublin City that’s available in 250 locations in the city.
The foot of the stairs at Metropolis’ warehouse stage plays host to an anxious tour manager. A series of emails have led to the stressed look on her face as she waits for a now late journalist she only knows via a series of repetitively apologetic texts in relation to the lack of his presence at the agreed time and place.
Red-faced and out of breath, he arrives finally as she combines salutation with a swift turn towards the stairs leading to the artists’ dressing rooms.
The pair are met by a door dressed with a sign reading ‘PEGGY GOU‘. They rush in the door and are met by an individual much endeared by fans in Ireland and beyond.
Peggy Gou‘s ascension to worldwide fan-favourite status feels as frenzied as the immediate lead up to our interview, but she’s just as quick to point out that her success isn’t just a flash in the pan.
“I don’t like when people say that! I don’t want people to think that I’m just the hyped thing! I remember going to a party where I was supposed to play a four hour set but there wasn’t enough people so I only played for an hour and a half. Now, I hear that tickets sell out and some people come to gigs and show me their phones saying that they were at this gig or that gig.”
She lights up when I mention that her set at Forbidden Fruit was a particularly memorable one.
There’s only about twenty minutes until her set at the ferociously energetic Red Bull stage and while there’s a worryingly frantic atmosphere within the room, her answers remain rather poised.
“It’s been busy but it’s also the summer season so it’s definitely going to be busy. It’s been good and I shouldn’t be complaining but it’s tiring physically. I’m enjoying it, if you don’t enjoy the travel then you’ll find it hard to be a DJ. I’m also a person who loves to keep myself busy, so even if I didn’t have a gig I’d probably still be doing something.”
Fellow Irish crowd favourite Mall Grab recently took a few months to head home to Australia and take a break from a relentless touring schedule. Peggy‘s own schedule has been just as unforgiving, recently sharing a gig in the UK with the Aussie, along with the Red Bull stage itself. She too plans on taking time away from the game.
“I’m thinking about taking time off in 2018 to take time to focus more on music. Travelling is amazing, but I’ve had a few deadlines that have been delayed. Another problem with travelling a lot is that you don’t have much time in the studio.”
One thing that all the gigging has allowed the 27-year-old to do is stretch her wings in terms of her DJ sets. Plenty of the world’s most revered DJs stick to the tried and tested boundaries of the genres which bring home the bread for them, however Peggy‘s sets differ largely from set to set. A quick listen through her online podcasts; from Beats in Space to Boiler Room, show that her taste spans across an endless variety; from straight up house to harder electro and techno sounds, all sculpted into well developed sets.
“As a Korean person, [nods to her tour manager, ‘she knows’] everything has to be perfect. I also want to push my limit, after tonight even if it’s good I’ll go home and I’ll want the next one to better. I want to be able to do everything! It’s ambitious but I’m so driven so I always want to aim higher.
I want more and more, not people, but I’m just thinking about what else I can do. I’m planning to do a live set in the future, I don’t want to be in a box. I want to please people, if I gave this to people last time, I want to give them that next time.”
Dressed in stripey Supreme dungarees with her trademark sunglasses in tow, Peggy‘s style is as eclectic as her taste in music and just like that she pulls it all off effortlessly.
“In the beginning, I was having this problem that I thought I had to look serious. I used to not dress up but I wasn’t happy because I like dressing up, fashion is part of my life. When people hear me and they hear my set they know that I’m being myself. If I don’t dress up, I don’t feel like me, I like to look good. I think that I also love if the DJ looks good, it’s a bonus [laughs], of course this shouldn’t be the main thing.
Now, I’ve managed to get out of that complex. People would come and see me at the start, not as fans, and they’d be like ‘let me see what you got’. People who see the fashion side as a part of me, I appreciate that.”
She shares the Red Bull stage with Or:la, Mall Grab, Krystal Klear and Denis Sulta, all of whom carry particularly strong bonds with the fans wherever they go, not only thanks to their stage presences, but their regularly updated and rather personal social media accounts. Despite the fact that Facebook and Instagram have done plenty to help forward her career, she’s still respectful of the platforms’ powers.
“There’s advantages and disadvantages. It’s so big that people have jobs now just as influencers. With that being said, you have to be careful what you say. If you say or do something wrong, it can be huge news in just one day.”
Not only that, but with the immediacy of both platforms, pigeonholing yourself to one style or sound may always be the safe option to appealing to one crowd online. With that being said, plenty of the best have never been easy to pin down, and with her ascension to the top not showing any signs of slowing down, Gou points to those that’re at the top of their game playing by their own rules.
“In the beginning, I used to play more house music, now I play some techno, I want to be able to play anything. In Ibiza, I played full on techno. There was a guy that booked me a long time ago and he said ‘I didn’t know you could play full on techno’ but I’m always trying to push it. I don’t want to be just a house DJ or a disco DJ. That’s why I like people like Hunee or Motor City, they can play everything from disco to techno and still please people. I want to be able to do that, like Ben UFO does.
When Peggy is playing I want people to know it’ll be a good time, a Gou time!”
Peggy Gou will play in District 8 alongside Soichi Terada and Job Jobse on the 23rd of February, tickets are available here. You can listen below to her new track that’s forthcoming on a Ninja Tune EP that’ll drop in March.