This week we’re happy to take you down under with our first Kiwi on Women in Vinyl, Miss Dom a vinyl and radio DJ on 95bFM in New Zealand. All in all Dom loves playing records, and as a multi-genre ‘selector’ you can find her playing vinyl at bars, restaurants, parties, art galleries, vinyl fairs, vintage fairs, record stores and more. She is one of five rotating hosts of the 95bFM Jazz Show, a radio show and podcast on 95bFM.com out of Auckland. She is also the presenter and curator of ‘Hey Ladies‘, a six lady vinyl selector troupe, runs Miss Dom’s Vinyl, a vinyl pop-up that sells records at vinyl fairs and is co-presenter of a monthly vinyl club/open decks venture. Like we said Dom really loves playing records! We’ll let her take it from here.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
For as long as I can remember, I have always connected with music, it has always been at the center of my world. As a kid, I loved listening to the radio, and making my own mixtapes on cassette tapes, from tracks I had recorded from the radio. At a really young age, I also loved playing around with my sister’s 7-inch vinyl collection, I played them on the sound system that my Dad built. My dad loved vinyl, particularly Jazz. My brother, and brother-in laws were all proactive vinyl collectors too. The art of listening to records as a kid was a popular family activity. As a tween, my dad brought me a seriously big stereo for my rather tiny bedroom – Good on ya Dad – gee, I loved him for that! From there I started hanging out in record stores for hours on end, buying vinyl regularly, and building a vinyl collection of my own.
The real gateway for me in terms of playing music to others, and getting into becoming a selector, was when I first got involved in my city’s local University Radio station in the early 1980s. I eventually became Program & Music Director of the radio station for a few years. 95bFM has always had a great reputation for being on the cutting edge of new music! While I had the P.D & M.D roles at the station – part of my job was to regularly buy a mother load stack of vinyl from a great local record store to keep the station’s playlist constantly sounding fresh and current. This incredible local record store imported vinyl directly from the U.K. everything was air-freighted to those 3 tiny islands at the bottom of the Pacific called New Zealand – fresh and current we were – yes sir! Vinyl only, no digital music back then folks. Amazing times !
After my full-time gig at the station ended I still spent years doing weekly radio shows and making music selections for the station’s wall(s) of vinyl record shelves. I seriously fell in love with those record shelves. Shucks man, the joy of having access to a record collection of that size, it was total heaven, hellz yes! I enjoyed getting lost in those shelves, it was like climbing into the wardrobe, and finding yourself in vinyl Narnia! Around 2015, I started a new chapter of my life on 95bFM, and became a co-host of the 95bFM Jazz Show, of which I am still a current host. I now enjoy the honor of being the longest-serving female still on station at 95bFM. I m pleased to say the station’s wall of vinyl still exists to this day, in all its invaluable glory. BFM, still maintains a fairly strong connection to vinyl too – with a set of turntables a permanent fixture in its on-air studio, with many of the stations show hosts keen vinyl collectors often favoring the vinyl format when presenting their radio shows, or a mixture of both vinyl and digital in some cases.
I have been a vinyl selector for most of my life, probably even more so in recent years with the continued resurgence of vinyl. There seems quite a good amount of support out there from bars and venues to have a set of house turntables set up, bars wanting to hire vinyl DJs to play music on them. It seems there are perhaps other opportunities for vinyl to be played these days at various places such as, art shows, art galleries, council parks, and corporate events too. But radio was the real gateway for me, it changed my life, and carved me into the passionate music lover, part-time selector, vinyl lover and collector woman that I am. Playing out as a selector, & regularly on the radio have both continued to be an amazing charge, and motivator for me. Both have been key to my world on so many levels, over many decades.
What is a day in the life like?
Between my part-time jobs, Miss Dom’s vinyl keeps me actively cleaning second-hand records, preparing them for my sale crates, and for the next up-coming vinyl fair. When I have spare time I like to also dig for records for my own personal collection. Due to the size of my living space I do have to keep my own vinyl collection tight and compact, so I regularly have to keep re-organizing my own collection to ensure it stays tight, tidy, and doesn’t expand too much. This is much easier said than done!
Additionally, I am also thinking about record selections for upcoming sets I m booked to play down the track too. I am also regularly thinking, planning and researching Jazz music for my next Jazz radio show date.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
I started an idea a few years ago, which has been an ongoing project. I called it “Hey Ladies!” Hey Ladies, has for sure been a fun project. The Hey Ladies concept is to celebrate and bring a focus to lady selectors. I curate a line-up of lady vinyl selectors to play sets of music that they love, and that is special to them. Tunes selected by ladies always makes for an interesting, and eclectic mix of music. Often, we tend to favor playing female artists but, any music that’s uplifting goes really. It’s about fun, and we bring it! The lady selectors range in ages from 22 into their early 50s. Every time we play there is an electric feeling of fun, support, confidence, and togetherness that we all share; a vibe as a group. An added bonus is that we totally enjoy the cool ladies we meet along the way, and the feedback from others that pop in as guests to listen to our sets. Hey Ladies mostly happens in bar settings but we have also been known to play at special events such as in record stores (for Record Store day), and at Art Gallery special events to coincide with relevant art exhibitions.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Mostly the comments while playing out as a selector. While behind the turntables is positive, as punters engage with the music you are playing, at times chica selectors can find themselves in the firing line of some smart or cheeky comments, from (drunk) patrons (often guys). Most lady selectors I know (myself included), are pretty ballsy ladies, and are quick-witted enough to come up with some good on-the-spot comebacks. There are a number of reasons and situations when a lady DJ needs to stand her ground while she’s behind the turntables. A common one is to stop that drunk person from leaning over your turntables and whipping out one of your tone arms, across your record while they are trying to tell you something. Yikes! Never a good sound!
When I play punk rock sets, I seem to have to be slightly more aware of my surroundings. It’s not unusual for me to get strange looks from older male punters. Some dudes have been known to stand in front of me just staring, with a look of dismay on their faces. I’ve never been able to fully figure out what they are thinking. Perhaps they’re like wtf??! and not used to a woman playing bands like Fear, Misfits, Social Distortion, Black Flag & The Stooges!! Errr Hellooo, fun fact – ladies can do anything and they enjoy playing punk rock, and maximum rock n roll music, just as much as males do! I love seeing women coming out from behind the sinks, and getting behind the turntables. I personally see that male attitudes are changing as the decades roll on. But, many lady selectors I know, or I have read about, seem to still not yet be fully convinced that times are indeed changing, many women seem to still want to see much more of that next level of respect, and equality in the DJ world. The anthem RESPECT, says it all really.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
My advice would be, find out where your local vinyl fairs are and start attending them, as they are a great place to dig for records. Get yourself set up at home with a turntable or turntables. Find your tribe. Seek out a vinyl meet-up, or join a local vinyl club. You will have a blast meeting vinyl collectors just like yourself. If there isn’t a Vinyl Club in your area, perhaps even start one with a group of like-minded buddies. Playing music to others is a cool way to express your personality through the music you choose, and especially how you put your tunes for a set together can be very expressive.
Have fun creating your special and unique mood via your DJ set. Enjoy falling in love with your record collection, cos’ your vinyl collection is indeed a true reflection of your unique personality, and of you.
Setting selector challenges can be really fun for yourself, or collectively amongst your vinyl friends. Challenges can take many different forms, music themes can be fun, perhaps only playing songs about food, or break-up songs, or cats, or tracks from a certain year, or songs starting with the letter S (for example). I had a very long residency (years) playing weekends at a local restaurant. Sometimes, there, I used to set a challenge of only playing records that I had brought from Goodwill type stores. The idea, was also about making something out of very limited resources, to try & weave a cool-sounding set out of a stack of Goodwill records. Surprisingly, somehow, the set usually managed to sound pretty cool, pretty fun, with a good level of humor attached to it. Thankfully, the patrons and the staff, would enjoy it along with me. Phew!!!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I think vinyl has a lot of nostalgia connected to it for many people. For me perhaps 50% of the records I buy, are nostalgia buys. I seem on an endless path to owning many of the records I once used to own. Records that were special in my life journey in some way. Many of them are harder-to-find, and more expensive titles nowadays. There seems to be no end to a vinyl collectors wish list; collector friends (including myself) are always keeping an eye out for those unicorn titles to cross off their wish lists. The art is finding them in good condition, & for the right price.
Another factor that has influenced my vinyl buying In recent years is that I fell in love with the 7 inch vinyl format. So, now, I seem to be buying many of my favorite tracks that I currently have on albums, now buying them on 7 inch, for the love of wanting to own those favs on a single format. A huge plus for the 7 inch is its transportability. A decent-sized box of 7 inches can easily keep you going for a 3-hour set no problemo, and you can easily carry a decent sized bag of 7s on the bus or train. Another plus for the 7 inch is they take up less room in your house.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
Yet another area where I have connected to vinyl life is selling vinyl at record fairs (mostly 2nd hand vinyl). I started Miss Doms Vinyl a couple of years ago as a way to sell extra copies of vinyl I already had. Over time, Miss Dom’s Vinyl has now extended to selling records on behalf of friends, and people I know. Regular vinyl fair events are popular in New Zealand. I always really look forward to the next vinyl fair and love chatting about records with the vinyl fair customers. My favorite subject.
Trends: In recent years I’ve noticed more women vinyl diggers popping up at vinyl fairs, which is just so great to see. In the past, vinyl digging has been known to be predominately more of a male sport, but it’s great to see that things are changing in that regard. The ages of the lady vinyl diggers I see at vinyl fairs is changing too, and is so cool. Ages now ranging from super young ladies, right through to ladies in their late 60s. Way to go lady diggers! Represent Yo!
We are also seeing lots more, ladies turning up at the vinyl clubs with a bag of records wanting us to show them how to play them. Newcomers at vinyl clubs should always be encouraged. Record Store Days have also helped raise the awareness of vinyl. Record Store Day is one of my favorite days of the year, always an action-packed day buying records, hanging out with digger friends, followed by playing a set at a local record stores, as an extra way to connect with Record Store Day festivities and fellow vinyl lover buddies. RSD is always a good time!
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
In recent years the vinyl club/open decks concept has become a thing, especially in the U.K. A vinyl club gives people that show up a 15-minute slot to play the records they bring along. We have several vinyl clubs in New Zealand. The vinyl club /open decks is a great event for vinyl lovers of all ages. A club provides opportunities for people to play their music outside of their lounge rooms, and bedrooms, within a relaxed atmosphere, to an appreciative and supportive crowd. The concept is amazing in that the social aspects are massive. It’s a great place to meet like-minded souls, make new friends, share, dance, and have a rad time.
Some vinyl clubs are 7-inch record clubs only. But other clubs are all formats. I am a co-presenter of a mixed format vinyl club. If you have or do decide to invest in your own gear it makes doing a vinyl club anywhere super easy, although, most bars have turntables set-up these days. If you decide to start your own one – perhaps approach your local bar. You may find your local bar is open to the idea of potentially having a vinyl club event happening during their off peak times, such as a midweek evening, or on a Saturday, or Sunday afternoon.
How can we support your industry? Platforms such as Women in Vinyl that are awesome online resources, and hubs where women can find out info and start to gain an interest in vinyl, and vinyl collecting. Where women can feel inspired, excited and supported and perhaps eventually start playing their vinyl collections out in public; or sharing them with their friends. I think the sharing of knowledge and ideas is key and hopefully collectively, that sharing leads to inspiration, and eventually that inspiration leads to action plans for some of you ladies out there.
Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell me what you’re listening to:
The cool thing about being a music lover is that we never stop discovering new artists, and bands, music is forever evolving and I F**king Love that!! I often get asked the question what is my favorite type of music? And, I always find it a kind-a tricky question to answer, because I like so many different styles of music. I find myself digging for so many different styles of records. That said – here are some of the different vibes that make up Miss Dom:
When it comes to DJ sets I mostly play a mix of funk, soul, Afro, Jazz and Reggae. I also totally love playing sets of Indie Alternative, Hip Hop, 50s R&B, Jump Blues, Vintage 1940s, Punk Rock sets, Vintage Rock & Roll / Rockabilly sets, 60s Girl Groups, & Kiwi Music sets. I have been known to mix all those above styles altogether. This list could probably continue lol, so I’ll just leave it there.
I do also have a major soft spot for music centered around female artists, and performers – as far as girls to the front are concerned, here are some I like that are for the most part shaken and not stirred: Peaches, Wet Leg, Blondie, Joan Jett, Chicks on Speed, PJ Harvey, Kathleen Hanna, Le Tigre, Pussy Riot, Detroit Cobras, Vibrajets, Little Simz, Karen-O. For Soulful lady styles, I love Shirley Ellis, Etta James, Koko Taylor, and early Tina Turner, just to name a few. This list could probably continue as well, so I’ll just leave it there.
I love when the opportunity comes along where sets can take more of a soundscape aspect. Electronic music and jazz are quite beautiful to create textures, and color. A set obviously more inclined for deep listening, and casting a particular mood. I would like to conclude by saying by nature, Kiwis are a very creative and talented nation of people. Living In New Zealand, one is constantly surrounded by great local music and bands. We have an incredible wealth of local music talent across every style of music you can name. There are decades of great New Zealand music, and vinyl to discover. Every year in May, New Zealand celebrates, and recognizes the country’s wealth of great music past and present by holding New Zealand Music Month. During NZ Music Month most radio stations focus on rising their local music quota by playing more NZ Music than they usually do – with the university radio stations playing 100% NZ Music. New Zealand’s largest global Music export is the group Fat Freddys Drop. Check them out! I definitely encourage people to explore NZ artists. Here are a bunch of NZ kick a**ed female focused artists: Labretta Suede & The Motel 6, Vera Ellen, Princess Chelsea, King Sweeties, Contenders, Cootie Cuties, Reb Fountain, Tami Neilson, Miss June, Na Noise, Mermaidens, Fazerdaze,The Beths, Tooms, Dick Move, and on a more soulful note Lou ana, and Ladi6. Also check out these top quality NZ bands: The Cavemen, The Subliminals, The Cthulhus, Voom, Street Chant, Vorsen, Carnivorous Plant Society, Avantdale Bowling Club, Skilaa. This list would definitely continue too lol – so I ll just leave it there.
Last but not least, I’m loving the new directions in Jazz music. I’m always super excited to make discoveries of new Jazz players who are making some super exciting, and interesting Jazz music in New Zealand and overseas. If you want to explore Jazz from New Zealand, checkout our 95bFM Jazz Show Spotify playlist curated by us at the Jazz show via our curated playlist, you can easily discover a motherload of cool New Zealand Jazz selections. You can listen to the 95bFM Jazz show podcasts at 95 bFM.com or listen to them from my Dom Nola Mixcloud page or visit Flyingout.co.nz to stay connected to latest New Zealand music releases coming out on Vinyl.
Find Miss Dom:
95bFM Jazz Show: @95bfm
95bFM Jazz Show: @95bfmJazzShow