The third DJ in our series is 25-year-old DJ Mads Diamond. With clientele ranging from ASOS and Nike to Axel Arigato and Too Faced, it’s safe to say that the Isle of Wight native is making her mark on the London scene. After boldly giving up her full-time job to pursue a career in DJing, Mads discusses how she traverses the many ups and downs of the music industry. Read on to hear about the importance of networking and her upfront approach to the “f-word” on so many of our minds right now: financial stability.
I love your DJ name. Is there a story behind it?
My DJ name is my surname ‘Diamond’ and ‘Mads’ – which I think are pretty representative of who I am. I’ve always been the ‘mad’ class clown. I absolutely rinse the name ‘diamond’ and use diamond graphics constantly. I also try to wear loads of naff diamanté stuff when I go ‘out out’.
I want to take the readers back to your first ever DJ gig. How did it go?
My first gig was for a DJ course I did. A group of us had weekly lessons run by @Crxxfade_ for six weeks and then a big performance at the end where we invited all of our friends. I was so nervous I probably barely transitioned between tracks but I guess my song selection was good – everyone was dancing!
When did you realise you could make this a profession?
My goal was always to become good enough at it to get paid. In terms of leaving my full-time job to DJ though, I really had to take a leap of faith. I’d become fed up and decided to just bite the bullet. I would recommend having money saved up before doing that as DJing can be so season dependent. When it comes to January and you have zero gigs – you start to panic…
You’ve got the Nike tick of approval! What have you learnt from your experience of working with big brands like ASOS and Axel Arigato?
Working for these brands has taught me the importance of professionalism. It’s important to know what music works for each brand – not just going in full force and only playing the music you like. When a brand is paying you, they want you for your originality, but you have to connect with their brand ethos.
Are there any other DJs you look up to?
I have a big community of DJ girls around me who all inspire me so much, there are literally so many. When I first began, my biggest inspiration was Sarah Harrison ‘Lady in the Trap’ because she was the first person I saw playing full on trap and hip hop and I just thought: what a boss. I also really like DJ Soraya; she DJs a lot in Mayfair and is producing trap beats – she’s HOT. Andy Purnell also has an amazing combination of creativity, technical skill, personality as well as the ability to read the room to a T.
What’s something you wish you knew about the industry before you started?
This year I’ve come to realise a lot of things about what I was aspiring to and questioning why. A lot of gigs look really cool but are they really? Someone said to me recently: “go where you’re celebrated and not just tolerated”. It’s so true: why try so hard to be accepted and included in a certain place when you could build your own crew or event yourself with likeminded people?
If you could speak one thing into existence for your career, what would it be? What would you manifest?
I have a vision board that I try and refer to when I remember; I need to print it out and put it in my room. One thing is to be paid to travel to amazing places around the world and DJ. Ibiza is on my bucket list as well as regular radio appearances and guest mixes. I have my own show now on Plus 1 Radio so I’m building on that.
Congratulations on your radio slot! What can listeners expect from your show?
Thank you! I’ve started with the format of 45 mins of music from new UK artists, then an interview, 30 mins of edits and ending on a mix! In the future maybe, I’ll be having guest mixes. So, it’s really a mix of everything with a good amount of talking too because I’m trying to stretch my presenting skills!
What has been the lowest point in your career so far and what, if anything, did you take from it?
These are great questions! I would say there are two low aspects. One has been learning the hard way about stuff. For instance, I’m someone who likes to throw myself into opportunities, maybe because I don’t think they’ll come around again or I guess, positively, you could say I’m daring. There have been times where I’ve not been prepared for the technical side of DJing, so I would recommend being as prepared as possible: checking out the venue and making sure you have the right equipment. Secondly, it would be not setting myself up for a rainy day. Obviously, I couldn’t prepare for a global pandemic but as a freelance DJ, it’s important to be financially secure, particularly in January when things get quieter.
The industry can be really competitive. How should we support our DJ friends?
I think it’s good to network with people online and in real life that are at a similar place to you. I made a WhatsApp group with over 10 girls when I first began. We would give advice, share mixes, help out with gigs, fill in for each other and ended up being friends. Support people by sharing their mixes, going to gigs when you can – you’ll find that people do the same for you.
Check out DJ Mads Diamond’s monthly mixes ‘Drippin’ in Diamonds’ and follow her on IG @DJMadsDiamond to hear about her work promoting new female artists as well as her journey as a DJ.