This month we're putting Bank & Covent Garden DJ, Aamyko, under the spotlight. We sent resident blogger Kat to find out about the special vibe in Soho and why disco is a must for any DJ set...
So Aamyko, how did you get into DJing? Was it something you always wanted to do, or did you initially have another career in mind?
I have always loved music. It is a huge part of my life and when I was growing up I always had music around. My mom is a very musical person. She has an incredible singing voice and used to sing at family events. She had tons of records by Abba, Donna Summer and Dolly Parton.
Back in 2010, I was writing club reviews for QX Magazine. It was then that I really got a sense of the night scene in London and I met a lot of people that, like myself, loved music and had a passion for it. I met a photographer one night reviewing a club and we really hit it off. He said that if he ever started a club night of his own that he would love to have me DJ.
In the beginning, I thought that it was going to be really difficult to mix songs together. I started to practice mixing songs, selecting songs I thought would mesh well and getting my toes wet, but I really wasn’t sure what I was doing.
My photographer friend then told me that he had secured a venue for his night and wanted me to have my DJing debut there. I was really nervous and my friend introduced me to [fellow Gymbox DJ] Zach Burns. He really helped me with my mixing and taught me how to use mixing programs. He told me not to worry and just have fun with it!
I had my DJing debut at the Shadow Lounge [now closed] in London, Soho, in the Summer of 2011. I haven’t looked back since!
How did working for Gymbox come about?
I was a member at Gymbox in 2013 and I always loved the fact that there were DJs in the club, pumping out such good music. I find that it’s such a cool and fun concept that no other gym in London has.
I really wanted to have a go at DJing at one of the clubs, but just as I was going to enquire about it I had a huge job opportunity that involved me DJing for a summer season in Mykonos, Greece. I had to move to the island and I was there for almost 7 months.
When I returned at the end of September 2014, I wanted to get DJing jobs back in London. I tweeted Gymbox letting them know that I really loved the vibe of their clubs and I wanted to DJ there. I had a gig in Berlin, DJing at GMF, and during the time I was there I received an email from the then Manager of Gymbox Covent Garden, Claudio Neves.
He was super excited to have me go into Covent Garden and have a look around the DJ booth, and we discussed music styles and the vibe he wanted. He was super sweet and told me “I’m glad you like the club cos your first set is next week”!
Can you tell me about an event or night you've played that had a real impact on you and why that was?
I think that every gig has some sort of impact on me, not only as a DJ, but also as a person. I always love meeting new people and getting the opportunity to bring some fun and motivation to shake their booty on the gym or dancefloor.
I definitely think that DJing in different cities around Europe has really opened up my eyes to a different nightlife and different styles of partying. I had the opportunity to DJ in Lapland, Finland (Arctic Circle), in the city of Rovaniemi for Winter Pride and that was such an incredible experience. It was cold AF, but the people there really know how to let loose and party...and drink!
What are some of your musical guilty pleasures?
I don’t really have any, as if I listen to something I rarely feel guilty or embarrassed by listening to it. Almost all music is good music.
...Ok, wait, I actually do have a musical guilty pleasure! I would have to say late 80’s glam-rock like Poison, Whitesnake, Europe. You know the vibe! Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” is my jam that I would dance to on a stripper pole…!
What are some of your favourite venues to play in?
I really love DJing in fun venues that have a good vibe where people just want to have a blast! I am a resident DJ at Village in Soho and I absolutely love playing there as it’s in the heart of Soho and there is such a special energy about that area of London. You don’t really get that anywhere else in the world.
I also really love DJing at Gymbox. There is something so cool about each club that really inspires me to play fun, motivating music.
What atmosphere do you try to create when you’re DJing, and does this differ in Gymbox to when you’re DJing elsewhere?
For me, DJing at Gymbox is all about pumping, thumping jams! I really like to create an uplifting vibe that gives people working out the motivation to finish that last rep and really go all out. It’s something that I always like when I am working out myself, so I like to bring that same energy to all of my sets. I want people to enjoy the music but also work their asses off!
It does differ a bit to when I am DJing in other places, but my general vibe everywhere I go is to motivate people, whether that’s to slut-drop on the dance floor or push through their limits on the gym floor, it’s all about feelin’ good!
Do you have any big inspirations in the music world?
I love disco music. From the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s, that’s the music that speaks to me. I think it’s because there is a freedom in the vibe of that music that still translates to this day and nobody, and I mean nobody, is sad when they listen to disco!
I always try to incorporate some disco vibes in every set I have.
What is it that you love so much about DJing?
Having the opportunity to make people forget about their problems and worries through music. For me, that is the best thing about DJing. You can feel really shitty or unmotivated, but if you go somewhere where there’s a DJ that’s really in tune with the crowd and the vibe of the place, and plays amazing music, you won’t be feeling shitty and unmotivated for long!
Finally, what is your favourite thing about Gymbox?
The vibe. There’s a special energy in each of the clubs. I absolutely love DJing at Gymbox Bank because the sound system is amazing. The club itself is underground and it really feels like a nightclub underneath all the hustle and money-bustle of the world above.
DJing at Gymbox Covent Garden is also a favourite because that club most definitely has a vibe all of its own that you can sense as soon as you walk into the place. Also, the people that work there, from the staff to the PTs, everyone is really friendly and open. I have made some pretty good friends there over the course of these last 4 years!
Images by Kristina Verra