DJ Emma talks Midnight Riot on Street Sounds, Radio 1 Residency, Craig Charles, influences and more!


Midnight Riot now graces the iconic Street Sounds Radio with their fresh weekly primetime show every Friday night, running from 11pm to 1am. Having already featured Young Pulse, Adam Nova and Faz episode four features an hour from one of the stellar resident team the crazy talented DJ Emma.

You can check the whole show below featuring Emma’s mix in hour 2. If you love it please jump over to Soundcloud and give it a share and help us spread the love x

I took the chance to catch up with Emma about her career including working as a producer at Radio 1, supporting Craig Charles, her own productions and of course her show for Midnight Riot.

Hi Emma,

For our readers who haven’t met you before please can you tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! I am a DJ & producer from Wiltshire. Music has always been a huge part of my life from a very young age – My passion for playing music started by learning the trumpet that I continued to play throughout childhood and while I was studying Music at Uni. From a young age – I loved soul, funk and acid jazz but it was when I started clubbing with an older group of friends in my late teens that I was introduced to house music and I never looked back.

I started buying records while studying Music & Art at Bath Uni just over 2 decades ago – at the time UK Garage was coming through as well as House so those were the genres that I mainly was interested in when I started out.

I continued DJ’ing until the late 00’s mainly in my hometown of Salisbury but occasionally in London and Southampton but then having young kids to look after took priority over the late nights and DJ’ing & Music were put on hold for a good few years and I trained to be a teacher – as I thought it might be time to be a responsible adult! After 8 years of doing my best to live a sensible life – music began calling me  and I couldn’t ignore the impulse to pick up the headphones again.

Fast forward 8 years and I have carved out a great career in music – with lots of exciting bookings across the UK including many festivals like We Out Here, Standon Calling, Shindig, Beatherder & more – club nights in Bristol, London and beyond appearing on the line ups with artists like Groove Armada, Crazy P, Mafalda, Kirollus, Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, Marcia Carr & radio appearances on Worldwide FM, BBC6 Music and my own 2 monthly shows on 1BTN & Brisxton Radio. I took up music production 4 years ago which is probably one of my favourite pastimes – just finding the time to do it is the issue!

You are part of The Sound of Midnight Riot resident team on Street Sounds. Please tell us about your first mix for the series which we are sharing today?

For my first mix – I decided to go for more of a disco vibe with some elements of funk and a bit of afro aswell. My sets are pretty eclectic and I have a very varied taste in music but Funk and Disco are definitely 2 of my favourite genres.

I have to shout out the French producers I have included in this mix – I started with an edit of Diana Ross’s Love Hangover from the amazing Funky French League who I am a massive fan of and had the pleasure of DJ’ing with at Le Sacre in Paris at the end of last year – That was certainly a highlight of 2024 for me.

On that same night I had the pleasure of meeting Luke Delite – another very talented producer from Paris and I’ve included his brilliant production ‘Boogie Delite’ and I love The Reflex’s recent offering ‘Tcheck this Out’ I also wanted to mention ‘Saucy Lady’ a producer, songwriter and vocalist from the US. Literally everything she is involved in – I absolutely love.

How does the style of mix here compare to how you would approach a live DJ set?

I feel like mixes I do for radio shows or streams – I can be a lot more self indulgent with my musical choices – as people listening to radio will be in lots of different mindsets and activities when they listen to radio whereas for a live DJ set – there’s so many more variables to consider e.g. time of day – whether it’s a warm up set for a specific artist – or a headline set.

Festival sets are very different to club sets but the main element for live sets is that there is a lot more direct connection with the audience and the main job of the DJ is to read the crowd because each crowd at each event is very different in my experience. For both pre-recorded and live sets – I do always go through my music for hours and prepare the sets to a certain extent and make fresh playlists – I also have a terrible memory and sometimes forget that I have some amazing tracks in my library which can be very frustrating at times!

Who are your own greatest influences as a DJ/ producer?

I have so many influences from across the musical spectrum but if I had to narrow it down to 3 – Firstly I will go for Prince – He was a massive influence to me as a teenager and the first artist I saw live for his Diamonds and Pearls tour when I was just 14.

I loved the way his music crossed so many genres from funk, to jazz to pop to soul to rock and more – just such a talented songwriter and multi instrumentalist. ‘I Wanna be Your Lover’ is probably my top Prince track although I love so many of them!

Next up is the Godfather of House – Frankie Knuckles – When I started buying vinyl back in the late 90’s– I discovered some of Frankie’s tunes pretty quickly and then became fascinated by his story and how house music began as I had already started clubbing and been enjoying house music as a 17/18 year old but didn’t know much about it. I love so many of Frankie’s raw and soulful house music tracks – but this one is a particular favourite of mine – Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix) – Hercules & Love Affair

Lastly I would like to mention a contemporary artist who is a big inspiration to me with his DJ’ing and his productions and that is Aroop Roy. Again, he is another artist who isn’t pigeonholed into a particular genre but is influenced by many diverse sounds and this comes through in his productions and his DJ’ing. Here’s a recent track of Aroop’s released on Freerange Records – Re Bulele ft. Fox Meropa

Over the last few years you have been a regular supporting Craig Charles on his Funk and Soul tours across the UK. How much fun have those gigs been and what sort of vibe do you prefer when you are playing those shows?

I have been very lucky to have supported Craig Charles many times across the South West of the UK and I have to say – I always really enjoy the shows – he seems to attract such a lovely, down to earth crowd who are really friendly and into their music. I always have a such a fun time and enjoy the warm up set before he comes on.

There was one time I was closing for him in Bristol though and it was a pretty hairy moment for me as he stays on stage saying his goodbye’s to the audience to literally the last 20 seconds of his track so it was a very stressful loading in the USB’s and getting a track cued up so there was no break in the music! But luckily it all went smoothly!

You are also a music producer and have recently dropped a tasty remix of Adeva’s Respect. What can you tell us about why you chose that track and what you have done with it?

I love the original Adeva ‘Respect’ track from the late 80’s and began playing it my sets recently but I noticed it would go out of time in the mix and also lacked a bit of energy for a full on dancefloor set, so I decided to speed it up from 118BPM to 125 BPM, add some more drums and percussion and add a new bassline – I also cut out a section towards the end entirely and added a few more elements to give it a fuller and more beefed up vibe. I was really happy with how it turned out and I’ve enjoyed playing it in my recent sets.

What are some of your own tracks that you have released that you think are quintessentially DJ Emma?

The two tracks I have chosen is my funk rework of ‘It’s Just Begun’ by Jimmy Castor Bunch – I actually only used the vocals and the rest of it is my own original instrumentation and chopped up samples – so apart from the vocals – it is completely different from the original track.

I loved how this turned out and it really pays homage to my love of funk.

My next track is the production I am most proud of but also my most original and quite frankly bonkers tune that people either seem to love or hate. I really do love it though and it was so much fun to make – putting together samples that shouldn’t work together but do! There’s bird song, techno, Leornard Bernstein, gospel and lots more weird and wonderful sounds and it’s inspired by the acid induced bicycle ride that Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman went on back in the 1940’s.

You are also a freelance Radio Producer and have been producing the BBC 1 Residency show over the last few years, what are some of your favourite shows that you have worked on?

I love working on the R1 Residency and I’ve been lucky enough to work on many of the shows over the past couple of years. The main reason why I love working on them is discovering new music and genres and being reminded how subjective music is.

The Radio 1 Resident DJ’s will select tunes that they love and mean a lot to them but when I listen – I feel nothing and can’t quite believe how anyone can enjoy it but then on the flip side – I will be introduced to a whole genre I know nothing about and had preconceptions that I wouldn’t like it – but then ended up really enjoying it – this happened recently when a DJ did a Amapiano special and I really enjoyed the selections.

So I find it a really interesting part of my work and it’s a massive bonus when I get to do a show with a DJ that I’m inspired by – recently I produced both Natasha Digg’s show and Joy Anonymous and I’m a huge fan of both of them.

Which artists and labels would you say are setting the disco world alight right now?

A few of my favourite labels for disco & House are Z Records, Midnight Riot, Tropical Disco, Razor N Tape & Toy Tonics and Saucy Lady’s amazing label ‘Dippin Records’ is a new favourite of mine.

Artists to watch on the Disco DJ circuit are Lev, Carly Foxx & DaisyBelle and also Guinny and Arnie Wrong – both of these 2 are also very talented producers as well.

What else can we expect from DJ Emma in 2024?

I have a busy time coming up with a few festivals on the horizon including Shindig, Beatherder, The Groovin’ Weekender & Verve Festival and I am playing at events across the UK including Chateauesque in Cardiff & Hastings later in the year where I will be on support duties for Annie Mac for her ‘Before Midnight’ event. I am also promoting my own event in my hometown called ‘Groove Junction’ which is in a couple of week time.

I have almost finished a 4 track EP that I will hopefully be releasing later this year.

Thanks Emma!

For more info on DJ Emma, Midnight Riot, Street Sounds and to catch the show live check:

DJ Emma Facebook
DJ Emma Instagram
DJ Emma Twitter/X
Midnight Riot Facebook
Midnight Riot Instagram
Midnight Riot Twitter/X
Street Sounds Radio 
Street Sounds Facebook
Street Sounds Instagram
Street Sounds Twitter/X

Love this? Check out more Midnight Riot Street Sounds Shows HERE

Like what you hear? To help support LV Online buy us a coffee via Ko-FI. Click HERE

Tracklist – Midnight Riot Street Sounds Radio – DJ Emma

• Luv Hangover  (Monsieur Willy Long Mix) – Diana Ross
• Three Miles (Reverend P edit) – Gill Scott Heron
• I Don’t Want You Back – Ramona Brooks
• Love Games (Luke Una Edit) – Thandi Zulu & The Young Five
• Faith (Medlar & Dele Sosimi Remix) – Arnau Obiols & KAYAK
• At Midnight (Dr Packer Ex Remix) – T Connection
• Funky Bones – Col Lawton
• Boogie Delite – Luke Delite
• I Was Born this Way -(Moplen Dub) – Carl Bean
• Tcheck This Out – Discolidays
• Your Life is a Party – Delfonic
• I Got It (XL Middleton Remix) – Saucy Lady

Tags: , , ,