Exclusive Interview: Five Minutes with Chippy Nonstop

In Interviews, Magazine by Editor

Image by Kirk Lisaj

Chippy Nonstop knows how to start a party. The DJ, rapper, songwriter and prouder is renowned for her floor shaking sets and audacious presence on the dance floor. Outside the club, she has been on a wild journey over the last few years. After she was deported from the US upon returning home from a tour in Asia, Nonstop went public about the whole experience, highlighting the struggles for immigrants and their descendants in the face of an inherently flawed system. Following this she settled into hiatus in Canada, but after realising that space there was sorely lacking for artists such as herself she began organising inclusive parties for the queer POC community. She also began Intersections, a series of free-to-access DJ workshops that act as skill sharing sessions for POC femme and women artists to foster a community and claim space for themselves in the electronic music sphere.

In many ways, real life began to reflect the fulminant ups and downs of a night out at the club. It’s a narrative arc that Nonstop knows well and one that is reflected on her debut album, Chippy Nonstop & dj genderfluid, released this past month via Wet Trax (read our review here). Going into her first release of original material in seven years, Nonstop knew she wanted to tell a story about the space she feels most at home; the rave. The result is an explosive body of work full of pounding beats and brazen lyrical work, all carried by an alarmingly nuanced narrative thread that reveals Nonstop as an artist in a phase of post-introspective self-awareness. Following our review of the album, we wanted to find out more about her influences, and the process of creating the music. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts? 

There was no other option for me. I never thought about anything else.

The influence of 90s dance music lends this familiar irony to the sound on this album. Could you talk us through that influence?

I pulled inspiration from a lot of UK/Euro 90’s dance music and obviously the queen Kylie Minogue, Deee-Lite, Dune, Whigfield, Rachel Wallace & so many more.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea? 

Usually the sound, but it goes back and forth.

What’s on your current playlist? 

HARD TRANCE & A LOT OF ACID !

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage. 

I lose my entire mind and they come with me.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound? 

Honestly, I just do whatever the fuck and hope it turns out a banger.

There’s this thread of storytelling that sort of lends your new album a narrative backbone. Was this something you were actively thinking about during the writing process, or was it something that revealed itself later on? 

I knew I wanted the album to feel like the stages of night out. From getting ready with the girls, to the peak to the comedown. It wasn’t something that I was overthinking, but it was in the back of my mind and I knew I wanted to have every feeling of the rave. When you go to some big raves in Europe they usually have rooms for each part of your high. The lighting and sound affect the direction of your trip and that’s how I wanted the album to feel.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

It really depends on the project. I would go over to dj genderfluid and I would play them what I’ve been listening to lately, and then we would start on the beat and figure out the vibe. I start writing and then I start chanting a hook that I really like, and then we record the hook and do all the layers of the hook. Then we go in and do the verses. Then I figure out the arrangement and dj genderfluid does the finishing touches !

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”? 

In 2010 I realized I wanted to make music. I don’t remember the exact reason, but MDMA might have been involved.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set? 

People shaking their asses.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Not really sure what “emerging” means because I just listen to music differently than other people. On a day to day, I don’t listen to mainstream music. So I consume music through torrents and soundcloud. But I really like Ceílí right now and 99SHOTPOWER.

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

Raving.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression. 

I use Ableton and a midi keyboard and a USB microphone (lol I’m poor still).

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry? 

I know what sound I want to give now. I was experimenting before, but now I know where I belong.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year? 

I’m hoping to do a lot of djing and performing IRL and a lot of video content to support the project with dj genderfluid.

Famous last words?

Let’s get Messy for the Drama.

Chippynonstop & dj genderfluid is available for download here. Listen to the album’s singles below:

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