SoundJam DJ website builder co-founder Hatty Hanna talks to Emily Pilbeam on BBC Introducing to discuss the impact of isolation on DJs and creatives and to give some advice about what they can focus on now.
The interview discusses how Hatty became the first ever female resident DJ at Hed Kandi Records, to the importance of maintaining your social presence, and offers some quality advice on how you can build your profile in these difficult times.
Listen on Soundcloud below or scroll down for the full transcript.
Now, next up on the show, we’re joined by Hatty Hanna, who was the first ever female resident DJ at Hedkandi and she’s joining us on the show now to talk about the impact of isolation on DJs and creatives, and just to give us a little bit of advice and what you can focus on right now. So Hello, welcome to the show.
Hatty: Hello, thank you very much for having me on.
Emily Pilbeam: Thanks so much for spending your Saturday evening with us.
Hatty: That’s okay, I’m not going out!
Emily Pilbeam: No, I mean, no one is are they! There’s kind of no excuse when we ask people to go on the show now.
Hatty: It’s lovely to be here.
Emily Pilbeam: So, I feel like we’ve got loads of things to talk about. But I kind of want to start off with how you got into DJing for Hedkandi.
Hatty: Well, it’s kind of like the same thing that happens to a lot of people. I was in Ibiza where you’ve got the world’s greatest promoters and DJs on one tiny island. You’re going to find that if you’re there at the same time, you’re likely to bump into people who can really help you.
And I went there with the sole purpose of trying to make it as a DJ internationally. I really wanted it more than anything. And I’ve been playing around the northern circuit, clubs like SpeedQueen and over in Manchester as well, Paradise and in Sheffield’s, Area 51. And I just thought I really, really want to try and push this a little bit harder. So, it’s Ibiza and I was almost ready to give up after a summer of trying and getting nowhere.
And then eventually, I happened to meet the guys from Hedkandi just completely by accident, quite by chance, they happened to drop into a gig where I was playing and bought some shots and then the rest was history, I suppose.
Just kind of right time, right place. They wanted to have a female DJ, because they were 12 guys at the time and I think I just fitted what they needed. And after that my life completely changed.
Emily Pilbeam: That’s an amazing story. And it just goes to show that, you know, if you try, you can succeed.
Hatty: But I think a lot of people try and get nowhere. So, I think there is an element of luck involved as well. I mean, you know, there are lots of people who are amazingly skilled and don’t have those breaks. So, I think, you know, you can’t really account for all of it. But yeah, it was good fun.
Emily Pilbeam: I want to talk about the other businesses that you’re involved in. Because you work with Stereo Social and SoundJam. Can you tell us a bit about them?
Hatty: Stereo Social is my digital agency. I work with a number of freelancers to do digital marketing for music and events, and also for other types of businesses as well. So, I do social media, paid social and all other aspects of online digital presence. I work freelance and it just really suits me, because I’ve gone from working as a DJ and travelling a lot too and obviously, that’s not very compatible with family life and I’m a mum now. And now, I can live vicariously through my clients, so it’s great. I get to live my life through their social channels, which is fantastic!
And SoundJam DJ website builder is a project that I put together this year with my business partner, his name is Tom Watts, he lives in Brighton. He’s a web developer. And we started SoundJam, which is a website building tool for DJs, musicians and artists and anybody who promotes themselves online.
And it’s basically a very simple tool that enables people to build a professional-looking website using very easy to use drag and drop editing. It houses all the social channels, music, players, feeds, EPK’s and everything else in one website. And it just helps artists promote themselves online and have a really slick looking digital presence.
Emily Pilbeam: What made you want to come up with SoundJam DJ website builder, what was the idea behind that?
Hatty: Well, it’s really just trying to support people who are doing what I’ve done in previous years. Because to have a website built is obviously a very expensive thing to do. And most people who work in music probably don’t have the budget to have a fancy website building, but they really need a website as a marketing tool.
And so, it was really our way of trying to create something that’s really accessible and gives people that power to promote themselves online. And so, you know, if you want to make alterations to it or update it, you can just go in and do it yourself.
You don’t have to pay a developer big money to make changes to it. And a lot of the time, if you’re gig listings are changing or you know, you want to upload new playlists and things, people wouldn’t be able to afford to do that if they had a fancy website built for them.
So, SoundJam is just a really useful tool. You pay a small monthly subscription and then you can just customise the template so it looks exactly like a bespoke website that’s just for you. So, we just found that it was just kind of the answer to a problem that really helps artists promote themselves.
Emily Pilbeam: Now, a lot of people at this time are kind of combatting, not being able to perform live, either bands or DJs are kind of doing like live streaming. What kind of other things do you think people could be doing to kind of build their profile online? Because obviously, you know, like you were saying everyone kind of relies on building up their profile online.
Hatty: Yes, absolutely. And I mean, the good news is that there’s never really been a better time to do that. Obviously, you have a captive audience now and there’s a huge amount of traffic online at the moment. So, you know, just because live events have been cancelled, audiences aren’t going anywhere, they’re still there. So, I think it’s just about finding more creative ways of engaging with them. And I really liked what Will the guest from earlier on had started, in just in terms of kind of creating something that’s almost bigger than the sum of its parts.
So, what I would do is encourage people. Yes, live streaming is fantastic, it’s great to get visible online. But try and think of something a bit more creative and with some sort of purpose that can add value or signpost people to things and resources that will help them and find opportunities to collaborate as well.
I mean, you can start an online festival, there’s loads happening this weekend. You can start a new podcast, a little radio station and do Facebook Live or Watch Parties or IGTV. There are so many different ways of becoming visible. But I really think the opportunity lies in collaboration with other people and see if you can make something that has some longevity so that by the time we reemerge into the real world, there is a platform there that you’ve spent some time building already, which has kind of got some momentum already.
Live Streaming is fantastic and I do think people shouldn’t stop doing that. But just to see somebody DJing on their home set up, I think six months of that, I don’t think it’s going to have a huge amount of impact. I think what you need to be doing is finding those creative opportunities and use the opportunity to network as well. So, find who you want to play for and who you want to work with and you know, they’re not doing anything either in this time. So, it’s a really good opportunity just to kind of get amongst it a bit more where previously you might not have had the time.
Emily Pilbeam: Yeah, all amazing advice. Maybe what would be your first tip to kind of give to someone about building their presence online for someone that’s kind of a bit scared of social media? Because there are still some artists out there that don’t engage in it that much or just generally have an online presence. So, what would be your top bit of advice?
Hatty: Well, I think the best thing to do is to be consistent. It doesn’t have to be every day and it doesn’t have to completely box your head. If you’re thinking oh, gosh, I need to record a new video every day and it has to be amazing. It really doesn’t. And you don’t need fancy kit either. You don’t have to have a really fancy camera or sound recording facility. You just have to do it.
You know, I think people really like to see stuff that’s up close and personal. They like to see stuff behind the scenes. So maybe set yourself a little challenge. Just say, you know, every day I’m going to do an Instagram story and just leave it at that. Just give yourself two weeks and do that. See if you can spot any increase in the numbers, which I’m sure you will if you do Instagram stories every day. Or maybe just say, once a week, I’m going to do a YouTube Live and just think of a great angle or collaborate with somebody else. You know, I think just set yourself small targets and don’t be frightened of it or just concentrate on doing one thing and doing it really well.
Social media can be quite overwhelming, because there are so many parts to it. And I think that puts a lot of people off even starting to be honest. So, I think done is better than perfect. And I think just start. You have got time on your hands and just do something small and just do it regularly. But consistency is the key.
Emily Pilbeam: Such good advice. Thank you so much for joining us on the show tonight, Hatty.
Hatty: Thank you so much for having me.
Emily Pilbeam: Just quickly. If people want to find out a little bit more about what you’re doing, where should people be going?
Emily Pilbeam: Amazing. Thank you so much. Have a lovely rest of your evening.
Hatty: Thanks, you too.