From internet radio to internatty bookings in the space of a few years, Mrs Magoo’s rise up the ranks over the last few years is best filed under ‘rapid’.
Winner of the We Love Jungle Best DJ award last year, frequently spotted rolling with Car Barz master Bellyman on his Bellyman Show and a close affiliate with DJ Hybrid’s Deep In The Jungle crew (to name but a few co-signs) the Edinburgh-based selector has developed an absolutely savage reputation behind the controls… To the point she’s just commenced her third North American tour in less than two years.
This is no mean feat in a producer-dominated game, but knowing where Shannon Magoo has come from, and how the power of mixing music has helped her change her life immeasurably, makes her story even more impressive. Currently blazing through the states right through till 2020, she crafts mixes like this one below. Check it and find out more below…
What have I interrupted?
I’m hunting tunes and mixing! I’m getting ready for my US tour and picking up as much ammunition as I can.
I’m always shocked at how many big artists don’t practice or even have decks in their homes…
Oh I practice a lot, dude. I love finding those tunes that sound amazing together. I get so much joy out of mixing and finding those magic combinations. I know people use things to find the key, but I never do that. I love finding those things while I’m mixing.
The buzz never dies!
It’s just as strong as it was when I started. If not stronger. I don’t know why people wouldn’t practice? I have to practice. I want to know that I can bring something special to my gigs. I wouldn’t feel right not practicing and being my best!
That’s the craft. It’s a very different craft to production isn’t it?
Totally. Some people are born great DJs, others are really good producers. Some people can do both really well, which is amazing. Production’s scary. I take my hat off to everyone producing. I’m chuffed I’ve been able to get to the situation I am in my career as a DJ alone. It’s very hard to get out there without tracks to your name.
It’s harder to break through just as DJ. Things started happening for you a few years ago, right?
I started learning to mix in 2007 and that was happy hardcore at the time. I was spinning that for years and then I fell in love with D&B and moved from where I was in Northampton, England back up to Scotland and that’s where things fell into place for me. I found my sound and really focused on it.
I’m pretty sure Northampton is a very happy hardcore area. It’s close to Milton Keynes and the old Sanctuary…
Exactly. That was the one. A lot of the happy hardcore artists were there like Dougal and Gammer. That was the vibe at the time. I grew up listening to it because of my dad.
Ah yes, I read you pinched his mixtapes!
Helter Skelter 1998, Human Nature. I still remember it to this day and he never got it back! DJ Sy on one side, DJ Unknown on the other. Proper happy hardcore belters. It was something me and my dad bonded over. Music is something we both shared and really enjoyed together. I actually played a set after DJ Sy and my dad came with me that night. We stood in the crowd while Sy played and he dropped Shooting Star and me and my dad had this amazing moment hearing that tune together. I love my dad, he’s the reason why I’m Magoo, you know?
I’m a wee bit emotional thinking about the night to be honest.
So I guess that was in your happy hardcore era, has your dad seen you smash out a jungle set?
No, the gig was recently. I was playing jungle drum & bass that night. It was a multi-genre night in Liverpool called Roller Coaster.
Sick. You just mentioned your US tour. It’s not your first is it?
It’s my fourth time out there. The first time wasn’t a tour, it was two gigs, but I’ve done a few more and keep going back. I’m just trying to spread my name out there, like I have over here. You’ve got to get out there to climb up the ladder, right? So I’ve been doing that gradually over there and this is the biggest tour.
I’ve been writing a lot about US drum & bass recently. It’s bubbling out there right now..
Ravers are ravers at the end of the day, but there’s something about the ravers in America. They have this next level love for you being out there. Not all of the events are as packed as they are over here and the scene is quite niche in some of those states, but there’s a sense of community out there. It’s a family vibe. It’s quite something. I love it so much and want to explore more and more of it.
Wicked. Happy hardcore has a fierce community, being a junglist in Scotland must be a tight tribe. Is that why America’s scene resonates with you?
Do you know what? It probably is. I love the family vibe and I love the small intimate parties too. The atmospheres you get on that level is different. Big crowds are a priceless experience but those intimate vibes make more of a connection don’t they?
Yeah man. You can see the whites of every raver’s eyes! You’re over there for the month, right?
Yeah I’ll be out there for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to that.
Ahhh…. All that food!
As long as they don’t serve mashed potato, I’ll be happy.
It sounds silly but I can’t be in the same room as it.
This sounds like a legitimate phobia and not just some casual mashed potato hate?
Totally. It’s quite extreme. It’s embarrassing. I have to bring it up if I’m eating with people and say something like ‘please guys if anyone is thinking of ordering it please can you refrain?’ Why can’t I be scared of something big and scary?
I feel for you! Take us back to your first international show…
It was in Ireland, Dublin. That was the year I won the award. So around maybe February 2018.
That wasn’t that long ago and you’ve been to the US a few times. I guess that’s a reflection of how crazy the last few years have been for you!
Yeah the last two years have been crazy. I’ve played so many amazing places and been to Germany and Amsterdam. It’s been a journey for sure and it’s been good to push myself. I’ve suffered with anxiety and agoraphobia, which is a fear of open spaces. I suffered that when I started mixing and music helped me through it. When I started getting bookings it pushed me out of the house and out of my comfort zone because I really wanted to play the music. 13 years on I’m getting on a plane and flying to the other side of the world and it’s something I thought I’d never achieve. I have to pinch myself and say ‘look how far you’ve come.’
Amazing. The discussion around mental health is much better now than it was but I think agoraphobia is still less understood isn’t it? Did you have any particular turning points as you combatted the condition?
It’s something I find people don’t know much about. People will often ask what it is. My turning points were all with the music, it’s pushed me through everything. The passion and wanting to play and how it makes me feel when I’m playing. Obviously the nerves you get before you go on stage can be next level. But when you do that first mix all those feelings go away. I’m in with the music, the people, the ravers. We’re having this amazing experience, these vibes and the energy and all of that makes me overcome anything.
That’s awesome. Are you working on productions now?
I’m learning. I’ve actually spent some time in the studio with DJ Hybrid.
He’s the man!
He’s a genius. Sitting watching how he works blew me away. His level of how quickly he works and can produce these sounds, it was quite overwhelming. I’m taking everything I’ve learnt form him and learning bits and bobs. It’ll be a wee while until I release something. Everyone is their own worst critic, and the best things are worth waiting for, but I’m working on it. Hopefully within a couple of years there’ll be some Magoo songs out there.
The longer you DJ, the more you know exactly what you want to achieve, right?
Definitely. It’s changed my thought process and I hear little sounds here and there that I want to use. You pick up on different things you might have missed before when you start thinking about productions.
I think DJs listen differently full stop. Who are you feeling at the moment?
I’m obsessing over Conrad Subs at the moment. His jungle beats have got that classic vibe to them. There’s an Aphrodite vibe to his tunes and I think that’s why I like that so much.
Rough Beats is a badboy tune!!
Definitely. I love that one. You can beat the sounds of the 90s. DJ Hybrid is another one who never leaves my selection. He’s just killing it.
Euphonique and Born On Road guys are on that tip, too…
Definitely! Nikki is coming in with wicked tunes at the minute. I take my hat off to her. We’ve been rolling a similar amount of time. We did a show on Shotta TV show a long time ago. I’ve got a lot of respect for her and the Born On Road crew. I love Lavery, too. He’s phenomenal, I love his old school sound. He does the hardcore stuff as well. I love that.
While I’m bigging people up I have to give Bellyman some love, too. That dude is amazing. He’s like a big brother to me. He’s been the most supportive person beyond my family and friends. He’s always pushed me and given me the platform to get myself out there. I do The Bellyman Show with him once a month. We’ve been doing that for three years now.
You travel down from Scotland for it?
Yeah it takes me 11 hours to get there on the coach. It’s brutal. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing it.
It’s got to be done hasn’t it? And that’s how I get about. I don’t drive, trains cost a fortune and flying is hit and miss.
Props. So what happens when you get back from America?
Lots of festivals and some cool things I can’t quite mention yet. I’m hoping to get back in the studio with DJ Hybrid and learn some more from him too and just keep on pushing myself and loving what I do!