Mamiko Motto’s Hepcat Radio defines what good music is all about; not assigned to styles, genres or scenes, it’s a celebration of great music – old and new. Starting at Antwerp’s Radio Centraal, Hepcat Radio soon became the station’s most listened to show and laid foundations for Mamiko’s development as DidUReally at Samurai FM in 2003. Mamiko’s love of great sounds and wondrous vibes has led her to pursue her radio and DJing career across Europe, finally finding herself in London where, from 2009, the show restarted and is currently broadcast from. She continues to create sublime collaborations with renowned musicians and DJs as well as creating a new 12″ record. I met her on a very wet day in Antwerp’s venerable record store Wally’s Groove World to see what she’s up to.
Where does the name Hepcat come from??
Its a Jazz term from the 1950s meaning cool, hip people amongst jazz musicians.
What are your musical roots?
To be honest with you I think firstly, everything started for me with jazz music. My dad is a big jazz music lover and he used to sponsor an international jazz music festival and as soon as I was a teenager I started working there so it was a big inspiration. Saying that I can’t really remember the last time I listened to a jazz record!
What inspired you?
Working at the jazz festival as a young teenager made me realise I wanted to be involved in creating a show, not just a ticket-buying spectator. Being around creative people at such a young age really helped.
What’s your Belgian connection?
I was studying fashion back in my home in Lithuania and at 17 decided I’d like to pursue my studies at the Antwerp academy of Fashion. Being very young I had been a little shortsighted in my decision to come to the fashion school; I soon realised I didn’t enjoy it so instead I decided to just stay for a few months. That summer, I met DJ Koenie who owns Wally’s Groove World and is a legendary house DJ here in Belgium. We started going to loads of parties together and I started working here at the record shop, gave up university and got lost in music here.
Describe your Hepcat’s HQ. What equipment do you use?
Usually I do it from home from my little studio using Seratel Technology. I invite guests over to my house in North London, I cook dinner, we drink, chat and then we broadcast through my website with is connected with an American server called Ustream. Its quite a nice and comfortable way of doing it and shows the essence of live radio.
Was pirate radio a strong influence for the broadcast?
I don’t really think so , I wanted to create a base from which I could play music and be creative, that was the main driving force. Broadcasting from home only makes it more special.
What’s a typical day for you?
I don’t really think there is a typical day for me as I do a lot of very different things most days and for that I’m really happy. I quit my job; I used to work for a Dutch record label and since I gave it up I am the happiest person because I don’t like doing repetitive things or routine. I guess its the same as most people working from home; breakfast, coffee and then opening up my laptop to see what the day brings.
Where would you say Hepcat’s home is?
Original hometown will always be Antwerp as this is where it all started but it’s been such a long time and we’ve moved so much right now its also London, at my home in Muswell Hill. It’s quite different to when it started as a slot on Radio Centraal!
What generation do you regard yourself from? Analogue or digital?
I was a hardcore analogue lover and there was a time when I was really against all the digital music and DJing taking over but I realise it’s stupid to be so negative and stubbornly against things because it holds up progress. Digital media has allowed people to create a great platform for young people to express themselves musically and to be creative. It’s important to be open minded.
How does your process of collaboration start for a broadcast?
It happens differently; sometimes I just meet people when I’m out, people I know or through friends but sometimes I contact people I don’t know at all through their myspace and ask them over. For me the most important thing is the production of live radio. The charm of it is in the unpredicatablilty so for me its important to have people here mixing instead of playing pre-recorded material even if that means waiting for people to make it over!
How would you say you access music and learn about new music ?
It’s a mix of an organic way of finding new music and targeting wellknown sources. I like going to second hand record stores and finding old and good stuff no one knows about. For new material I just check the internet, research and get new and unreleased stuff off my producer friends.
You work a lot with Hudson Mohawke, how did that collaborative relationship start?
He used to be a fan of the show and then one time at a gig in Amsterdam I said hello and we kicked things off. I guess that started a series of collaborations, a highlight being a track we recorded for Warp Records 20yr Anniversary limited edition box set. I was also his support DJ for almost all his gigs last year for the last album: it’s a lot of fun.
Favourite records of 2010 so far?
This year has already been so amazing for music with some very very strong releases. I really have to say Hudson’s Butter album is an amazing and absolutely fresh piece of music. Other stuff includes the label Numbers, the new UK funky revival, together with Deadboy ‘If You Want Me’ is a big big record. And also the new Mark Pritchard‘s Africa Hitech, it’ll be coming out later this year, is a sick record.
Any tips for the future?
I think this guy called Lone who releases stuff on Werk Discs is gonna be a next big thing. His latest productions are absolutely amazing. I would definitely say watch out for him and his brand new label Magic Wire Recordings.
Future Plans for Hepcat Radio?
My designer Stephan Serrato who is collaborating with me on this project is finishing off his masters at Arnem. He’s arriving here soon and we’ll be making a second version of the website and making changes to that. I’m hoping to get a slot on Rinse FM. Would love to start doing a night in London but locations etc are tricky and it takes a lot of organization.