By Bill Rah
Meet Meg Ward, 22, Resident DJ @Cosmic Ballroom for Ill Behaviour in Newcastle, graduate of Pharmacology and Tyneside’s finest female producer.
Newcastle’s underground leading lady hails from Leeds is fresh, bubbly and has a diverse selection of tracks at her disposal. Ready to unleash it on Tyneside’s fierce dancers. When questioned on how it feels when someone refers to her track as a tune, Meg chuckled and exclaimed “It’s fucking class”. She discussed what inspired her to create Tyneside. “My EP was inspired by the time I spent in Newcastle.” Tyneside is full of heavy hitting house that will raptures an individuals eardrums.
“Throughout making that EP I was in the peak of my third year of university. I was struggling through a lot of stuff and used that as an outlet to cope with stress.” It’s an impressive accomplishment considering the high velocity of stress that third year of university inflicts. Despite the academic torture Meg managed to discover everything isn’t that bad. “I sort of put whatever I felt into that track. I was walking down next to the River Tyne and just looking around taking it in and realizing everything is beautiful.” Appreciating the artistic scenery of our surroundings can help calm our mind which allows us to focus. When we are focused we can become inspired from unconventional sources.
“The second track on my EP I made acquaintance with a Magpie I made that in the peak of my exam season. Every single morning I would go outside for a coffee and a cigarette. I would see this Magpie just sat outside my door tweeting.” An irritating prospect for any student looking to just get through exams. “It was doing my head in always looking happy. I’m like why you so happy, I’m pissed off.” Tyneside Techno Queen Meg Ward utilized her creativity and decided to sample the magpie tweeting. “I made a track out of this annoying little twat of a magpie looking really happy while I was so stressed with exams.”
Chain smoking twenty a day, incredibly nervous, stressed and fueled by caffeine Meg managed to create a magnificent EP with meaning and purpose. Despite the demanding academic tenure she nailed her exams despite promising her mother her music career was only a hobby. “In the middle of my degree. I was just like mum I’m just going to buy some decks. It’s just going to be a hobby so I can play at some house parties.” This spiraled into a different direction as the diverse producer became invested in underground music culture. “When I told her I started to enjoy it more than I did my degree. She was saying come on Megan just finish your degree. But at the end I got a 2:1.”
Hold up, you’re telling me that you can become a successful underground DJ, promising producer and still get a 2:1? Someone educate me on how you can balance that.”I didn’t really balance it too well I just concentrated a lot on music and forgot about my degree. It took a lot of last minute grafting.” You can stop reading this if you have never left an essay last minute. Having the mental fortitude to push yourself to such heights is remarkable considering the lifestyle of DJs and students. Pushing herself wasn’t the only struggle, convincing her mother to accept her goals took time. “It did take a bit of pushing but now she’s really proud. She will talk about me to her friends at work and enthusiastically tell them My daughter is a DJ.”
Meg has a unique outlook as she is a firsthand witness of wounded dancers on the battlefield. “For the past couple of years I’ve been working in welfare tents in different festivals, volunteering and getting paid for it.” As a graduate of Pharmacology which is the study of drugs, the producer has extensive knowledge on recreational and pharmacological substances. Illicit or legit she knows how to handle the vibe regardless of the situation. “It really does help because you can see how drugs affect someone the way it does. It’s really interesting.” There are multiple aspects of her character which make her interesting in an oversaturated industry. One aspect is part of her identity as a member of the LGBT community. She spoke about the dawn of House Music, rooted in underground Chicago clubs.
“I think it’s beautiful that LGBT people got together and they could only get into underground clubs because they weren’t aloud to congregate together.” It’s difficult to comprehend how people can subject minorities and LGBT people to discrimination but we live in a white world. “It’s mad to think about this but music brought them together. Dancing full of love and energy, it’s what made the scene so beautiful and it does filter through now.” Her passion was reflected within her remarks in which she took her time to respond with a genuine thoughtful response. Although she was quick to name artists which have inspired her. The Chicago legend Honey Dijon left her imprint within her style.
“I love disco that’s been one thing that’s been a staple in my life. Honey Dijon is awesome, she through a t-shirt at me and that was sick. I was proper buzzing.” It’s only natural to become electrified when our idols acknowledge us or gift us with t shirts to replace the dirty sweat drenched festival shirt. “What I love about her is she’s not afraid to play whatever. She just plays whatever is good and what she thinks the crowd will love and it fucking works.” Witnessing legends helped prepare Meg for her journey in which she embarked to chase her goals. Despite being a skilled producer she only has two years under her belt and has been DJ’ing for three years.
“Coming to Newcastle got me into house. The scene is absolutely thriving.” However Meg believes the culture has become oversaturated with too many DJs. Yet this didn’t prove to be a challenge. “Getting my name out there wasn’t too bad because I was friends with a lot of people who run events. My friends gave me a chance and I developed and grew.” Her developmental phase involved her first club set supporting Ben Pearce. “My first club set was awesome. It was in World Headquarters. First time I’ve ever used CDJs. I’d only ever used a Numark controller.” The culture in Newcastle has provided a platforms for this intellectual producer to thrive. “Theres not a lot of discrimination or anything. It’s just so awesome. A lot of the time they have given me a set because I’m female just so it’s more inclusive.”
As Meg shared her thoughts on the Newcastle culture she began to discuss her friendship with another elite producer, Murg. The two shared a bond that few will understand as best friends and collaborators. “Murg is like my best mate in the world, he is the disco boy. We supported KETTAMA and Loods together.” The dynamic disco duo have been working together tirelessly to produce an EP for the dawn of the first summer of the decade. “We have got an EP coming soon. Definitely before summer. We have some disco stuff, an edit of Whitey Houston coming. Then we have got some pretty hard stuff that’s original mixes.”
This collaboration isn’t the only thing on the agenda as Meg looks forward to releasing another EP. I’ve got an EP’s coming out myself, Zone focus are starting a new label and I’ll be the first one on the launch. It’s a bit daunting because it’s the first EP they are releasing.” Despite the pressure that comes with a record label launch, it should come as no surprise when Meg Ward releases another exquisite EP.