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Getting to know: DJ Katalyst

We’re kick-starting our interview series with a DJ that increasingly gets our hearts racing n feet skanking as she entices our ears with jungly tunes, before dropping the crowd into the depths of the dark drum and bass vortex. Inpsired by rock, metal and garage music when growing up, you can expect to hear many of her sets enthused with grime samples, as she loves to mix up the light with the 'grotty.'
After a whirlwind summer of b2b shows from playing at the Totum at Glastonbury Festival to the Hidden Woods at Boomtown and many more in between; we’ve managed to scratch a moment of DJ Katalyst time. Join me, B, as I discover how Katalyst seamlessly mixes her musical talent of blending tunes along-side her busy personal life as Kate: a friend, physio, Runtingz label manager and mum to daughter Livi.

 

B: Hey Kate! It honestly feels like I know a part of you already since you’ve been and well, very much still are such a loyal customer to Bellisa X. We treasure your support so much, so I thought hey, let’s turn the tables and get to know more about you. So I reckon lets rewind, right back to the begining: how did your journey to becoming DJ Katalyst start?

DJ Katalyst: Hey B! So I learnt to mix when I was pregnant with Livy 10 years ago. It was actually for my friends memorial. That particular time was very challenging as I was also signed off from work with PTSD, so I decided to get some decks as something to do in the day

B: That sounds like a pretty tough time for you but I am finding it inspiring how you turned to music and learning to mix as a form of therapy as such, to help you through

DJ Katalyst: Yeah, It gave me something to do in the day so I didn’t have time to think things through

B: For sure, I find having a creative outlet works wonders as a distraction or as a way to channel, understand and process my emotions. So after practising by yourself, when did you end up playing your first gig?

DJ Katalyst: Along-side learning to mix, I had also enrolled to study physiotherapy and it just so happened that my first set which was back in 2017 at Bar Iguana in Reading, also coincided with my first weekend at uni

B: Ok wow, so everything really did start to happen and fall into place all at once! Although I say ‘fall in place’ but we know that’s not true, as really it’s result of all the hard work you put in to get you to that point. With everything going on, I am starting to understand where perhaps your DJ name comes from…

DJ Katalyst: Ah ha well yeah, while I was doing my access course to go to university, we were learning about catalysts which is all about provoking a significant reaction but without undergoing any permanent change. I loved this whole concept within performing where I want to create a crowd reaction, but I'm not changing who I am as a person. And then obviously I swapped the C for a K matching my name Kate

B: Absolutely love that. DJ Katalyst has a ring to it anyway, but now i'm learning more about you, the name really connects all the dots. So after studying, is physiotherapy still a part of your life now?

DJ Katalyst: For sure, I love it. I actually work 3 days a week as a physio for the NHS

B: Insane, do you find it hard to be a physio and a DJ?

DJ Katalyst: Not really, I like to have my finger in lots of pies haha. It's not just about me, as I have Livi to support aswell. After covid there is the worry of not being able to DJ full-time, so I like having the physio work as my base income and then I also manage the RunTingz label for 1 day a week, and DJ too

B: Where do you spend most of your time?

DJ Katalyst: Music definately. Whether thats practising, managing the label, promoting, performing or learning to produce

B: It's so inspiring following the journey of someone persuing their passions and understanding like, how they make it all work. This past year i've been trying to work on finding my personal/work life balance but im not sure that really exists as it feels Bellisa is a huge part of me, as a person haha. So i'm really intrugued as to how you find the time, energy and balance everything and still remain creative?

DJ Katalyst: I have adhd, so I always like to be working on a few different projects at the same time. I find balance by splitting time equally bewtween all of them

B: So the momentum keeps you going?

DJ Katalyst: Yeah, exactly haha. Chanelling my energy into different areas, and the creativity that bounces between them keeps me going, so that i don't really need to have a break

B: I think this is potentially one of the best bits of advice I've heard. It seems like we're always taught you have to pour every ounce of energy you have into following 1 passion, and almost neglect everything else that interests us. But inevitably this will lead to burn-out, right? I can see how it's so important to break your time up between different interests and 'roles' to allow the mental breather space, energy balance and room for more creative ideas to keep going. Do you ever get down-time?

DJ Katalyst: I have lots of naps

B: OMG naps are so underated

DJ Katalyst: Yes! A half hour nap here and there does the job. I also don't stay up late for the sake of it, so I make sure I get enough sleep in the week to have the energy for the late nights at the weekend

B: I legit don't know how you and other DJ's have the energy, but perhaps this is the secret we've all be hunting for!! If you found things were getting too much, where would you go for support?

DJ Katalyst: I have a really close DJ friend who I will call multiple times a week if needed. I like having one person who I can really trust, and have something in common with. It's important to have peers in the same area as you to talk things through with, as they can understand and relate to how you're feeling

B: That makes so much sense. As I've grown up i've realised you have friends for different reasons, wether its for advice in certain areas, comfort and/or to have fun with. With winter approaching and the social bubble of summer kinda leaves us do you find the change hard?

DJ Katalyst: Yes. As a leo, I'm a summer baby and I love it. I naturally want to hibernate in the winter. Yeah, it gives more time to work on making music as I don't feel like i'm missing out on being out in the sun, but then that doesn't work if I feel less motivated

B: So in winter I guess your performing shifts from festivals to club gigs? How do you manage this?

DJ Katalyst: I find it hard as the gigs get later. You find most of the time you won't be playing until at least after 10PM, meaning i wouldn't get home until sometimes 6AM. There is the bonus that it's still dark then, so I can sleep haha but when it's raining, you're driving around on your own to gigs then yeah i'm not sure haha. Although saying that I did get alot more time to myself, such as in summer Fridays would be spent travelling to festivals but now with gigs I tend to travel less, so I get Friday day times back to myself

B: I can imagine the change between seasons can be abit intimidating, hard to get used to as first. As a DJ, what advice would you give to others to help them navigate winter?

DJ Katalyst: Please prioritse your safety. Make sure your car is fine and you have break-down cover especially when travelling at night. Winter is also a great time for networking, summer can be too hectic to get to properly make new connections. Club environments are more intimiate so it's alot easier. Get to know your fans, peers, promoters and people you want to work with

B: Anyone reading, this is your sign to get that nagging car problem fixed ASAP! It's been so enlightening chatting with you, but i really can't leave this without asking what the high light of your DJ career has been so far?

DJ Katalyst: Glastonbury this year, i still get emotional even thinking about it now

B: Oh yeaah! I saw your set at the The Totem stage, it was sick

DJ Katalyst: Ahhhh amazing. I always get excited over gigs, but when I got told I'd been booked for Glastonbury I was the most shocked. I literally pulled over crying in my car, and then when I saw my name on the flyer I got the same emotions all over again

B: I can literally still feel your excitement right now! So you're telling me the first time you've even been to Glasto, was also the first time you played there?

DJ Katalyst: Yeah! It's starting to really sink in, how now particuarly with family, I'm now also a  DJ they're proud of, just as much as a being physio and mum

B: Okay I lied, I have one more question haha. We must know, what advice would you give to someone trying to make a career from following their passions?

DJ Katalyst: Just be consistent. If you want something, go get it. Literally don't stop. Learn your craft, don't think you've learnt everything you need already, theres always room for improvement as you're always evolving

B: Did you find that the momentum of pushing yourself, and realising you could achieve what you wanted gave you the confidence?

DJ Katalyst: Yeah, of course.10 years ago when I was pregant with Livi, and well even 5 years ago never would I have thought I'd be where I am now. You build up experience by trying new things and learning to believe in yourself.

 It has been incredible getting to know the in's and out's of Kate / DJ Katalyst. In a period of major seasonal change, Kate as taught me to seek balance in different creative outlets and that you can very much be yourself in all these areas. With so much more in store, as she is now learning to produce music you can catch DJ Katalyst in October playing at: Lakota Bristol, Brighton with RunTingz and Printworks London  And hey, perhaps she'll even be wearing her newly designed Bellisa X outfits in the limited edition Rapture fabric collection ;)

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