Phillippe honed her skills and started to DJ at local parties whilst she was studying. After moving to San Francisco and establishing herself as an in-demand DJ she came to the attention of Claude VonStroke, who signed her to his Dirtybird Records label. Phillippe is now part of the core Dirtybird Records crew who are touring Australia this month. Her story reads like a dream but the reality is a hectic work schedule and a lot of hard work. It’s not without its very enjoyable moments though – she has just completed a tour on the Holy Ship, a three-day cruise ship rave that is now in its second year.
“Holy Ship was unbelievable! I don’t think I have ever played a party like that – it was so insane,” enthuses Phillippe. “There were really special moments that could only happen at a party where you are all stuck together in one place for three days. I jumped up and down so much that I actually couldn’t walk afterwards. And when we pulled back in the harbour in Ft. Lauderdale I was drinking straight vodka and screaming off of Skream’s balcony to turn the ship around. I think that might just say it all. What an adventure!”
For all the fun there is a reality back home though. “I just got kicked out of my flat in Berlin, while on tour in the US, thanks to a mean neighbour. It’s a long story and it’s kind of a mess. I’m officially homeless and I’m trying to figure out how to move back to the bay. I need to get things a bit more settled again so that I can focus on productions. In the meantime I’m trying as hard as I can to work on music while on the road.”
After four months of touring, finding the time and locations to produce music is hard. “I don’t have a place or studio of my own in the US so my life is a bit mad. I have come to realise that I need to move back to San Francisco and the Bay Area. I need a studio to nerd out in that is on the same continent where I am DJing.”
Phillippe has always been obsessed with music and she was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged her. “My parents got me into Michael and Prince and a lot of old pop and soul and classic rock at a young age. I was into everything from Nirvana to TLC to The Beatles. I was obsessed with hip hop like Biggie, Tupac, Lil Kim, Beastie Boys, Atmosphere, Outkast – tons of stuff! I loved R&B and indie rock and weird depressing indie music,” she says with an amused laugh.
With a dad who was a live sound engineer and very much interested in electronics it was almost inevitable that Phillippe would gravitate towards engineering and music. “My dad started building speakers in his garage in high school and ended up touring with REO Speedwagon for 14 years. He also ran sound for The Doobie Brothers, Prince, Willie Nelson and more.”
Phillippe’s DJ sets and productions brought their own flavour to Dirtybird. There is a bassline bounce and a sense of fun in her output that defines J.Phlip. It fits well with the label but manages to set her apart. “I definitely don’t sound exactly like any of the guys nor do they sound with each other,” she reflects. “We all bring in something different. I think initially I brought in a lot of house sound, coming from Chicago. Then I had a booty phase and an electro phase. Now I really like to bring in some techno style sounds. It’s tough to analyse and I’m always playing a lot of different stuff. I try to dig hard because the guys are also digging hard and I like to surprise them and sound different.
“Sometimes I dig and dig through new stuff and can’t find anything that is as good as the old. I’m on an old Disco D tip right now. DJ Rum’s Mountains Pt. 1 (Pedestrian Pirate Radio Remix) is my absolutely favorite thing to play right now.”
There tends to be quite a bit of UK bass in her sets too. “I really love so much of that stuff! It’s some of the most inspiring dance music. Especially Boddika. His music is the dopest of the dope for me right now!”
Phillippe has a new a techno track coming out on a Dirtybird compilation in February. “It’s my first almost all hardware track and I’m pretty stoked about it,” she reveals. After that she has a collaboration with Kill Frenzy due to come out called In Yo Mouf.
So what has she heard about Australia? “I have heard it’s really fun and the people love to party. I have definitely gathered that from the Australians I have met around the world! I honestly don’t know a lot though. I’m excited to check it out!”