Student Showcase: Sophie Dickinson, Student DJ

July has got us feeling all kinds of FOMO for the festivals we’re missing (to anyone that went to Glasto, I am so jealous). With all the incredible festivals over the summer, we’ve seen some amazing DJ performances. Hype Collective are currently holding a campaign with Co-Op called Young Sounds. This new competition will offer student DJs of all genres the chance to display their skills, build up their reputation and win a pair of festival tickets and the chance to perform a set in a 2022 Co-op festival store!

This month we wanted to showcase one of the DJs, Sophie, better known as @Sophixj, and find out about their journey to become a DJ, Young Sounds, and the future of music!

Hype: Hi Sophie, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

@SOPHIXJ: Hi there! My name is Sophie Dickinson and I go by the name SOPHIXJ (pronounced SophieJ). I was raised in a small town in Berkshire near Reading, however, I have been living in Southampton for the past 3 years for university. In the past 2 years, I’ve been super involved in the student radio world, which led me to get into DJing. I’m also a massive raver, so most of the time you’ll see me on the dance floor enjoying the good vibes and good music!

Hype: What genre of music do most enjoy mixing and creating?

@SOPHIXJ: If there’s one thing you have to know about me, it’s that I listen to so many different genres and love mixing/creating different genres of music. Currently, I have been mixing loads of Drum and Bass, however from time to time I will switch it up. For example, I’m a big fan of House and Bass Music and have been fortunate to play house/bass sets the past year. I’ve recently been trying to get into production as well as mixing, it is challenging but hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to release some tunes I’ve been working on.

Hype: How did you get into the world of Djing?

@SOPHIXJ: For years I have loved electronic/dance music and always thought it would be so cool to learn but never actually knew it was possible until I was at university. The first time I saw it could be possible was right before the pandemic. I helped out with a charity event for my university’s student radio station, Radio Sonar, and one of the members of the society but also now a good friend Ryan-Reece actually taught me the basics of DJing while on air. At the time I caused an absolute train wreck as my mixing was awful,  however after I wanted to learn more and keep trying as I found it fun! 

Shortly after we got into lockdown so I couldn’t practice on them, but decided to download DJ apps on my phone and mess about on them until October 2020 when I finally got my DDJ-400s. I mean at the time it wasn’t the smartest decision to buy brand new decks just because I lived off pot noodles for a few weeks, however, it’s paid off, and wouldn’t have done it differently otherwise. 

Hype: You were recently selected as one of the 10 finalist DJs for the Young Sounds Co-op Competition, congrats! Can you tell us a bit more about this?

@SOPHIXJ: Thank you so much! Feel so grateful to be selected as one of the 10 finalist DJs. So Young Sounds is a competition launched by Co-op and TOTUM to support student DJs to give the winning DJs a chance to perform at one of the UK’s biggest festivals this summer! With my entry mix, I decided to just go in and do a full 10-minute DnB mix with all my favourite songs I’ve been mixing with the past few months. It features songs from Camo & Krooked, Flava D and S.P.Y to just name a few! It’s quite funny because this mix was just a freestyle and I actually entered it at the last minute using my friend’s DJ equipment which I never used before on Serato, which I never use, and I generally thought nothing of it, so when I found it I was selected, it was a big surprise! 

Hype: What would be your dream festival to do a set at?

@SOPHIXJ: Damn this is a tough question because I want to play at so many! Could list a load of festivals I want to play at but I think I knew from the age of like 12, that it’s been a dream to play at Creamfields or Tomorrowland! However, I would also love to do a festival at Snowbombing, Rise, Snowboxx, or something similar to these events as I think it’d be so sick to DJ on top of a mountain (plus I like skiing)!

Hype: Have you got any plans for Djing this summer?

@SOPHIXJ In fact I do, I’ve been fortunate enough to play at some events already but I have more shows in the next few weeks which should be exciting. One of the gigs coming up which I can’t announce yet is actually for a festival but I’m also hoping I could also win the Young Sounds Competition so I can play at Reading/Leeds Festival too because it’s been a goal of mine to play there! Although it’s nice playing a few events this summer, I’m trying to prepare for Fresher’s week as I already have loads of bookings and it’s going to be a busy one for me.

Hype: For those that are wanting to get into Djing but don’t know where to start, what advice would you give?

@SOPHIXJ: My main advice for anyone who wants to get into djing is just go for it! Try seeing if there are any free workshops near you, if you know someone who has the equipment, ask them! Look about and see what’s around you. There are so many resources in today’s world and you can literally start just by downloading apps on your phone or computer to test it out, there’s many entry-level controllers that are affordable too. I would also suggest learning from other DJs, seeing what they do, and definitely try to apply some of the skills to yourself, there’s no right or wrong way which I love about this. Everyone has their own ways of mixing too so if something doesn’t work for you, that’s okay!

If you’re a student and want to get into DJing, I highly recommend joining the Student Music Network’s DJ Group on Facebook. It’s such a supportive group and you meet so many amazing and talented up & coming DJs. You also get opportunities to go to events and interview bigger DJs/producers.

Hype: Finally, what’s the end goal dream for you as a DJ?

@SOPHIXJ: There are many things I want to achieve as a DJ however they do keep changing, for the moment it’s to have gigs more regularly, maybe get a residency at a radio station, play at multiple festivals next summer (even some abroad) and actually release some music/collaborate with some awesome musicians! This year alone I’ve achieved so many personal goals and I just hope I can keep it going! I have so much love for everyone who’s helped me get to where I am today because all the goals I’ve achieved so far wouldn’t have been possible without them!

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