On a sunny afternoon by Putney Habour 94/5 was lucky enough to catch Chani (Baloo) between her morning train up from Brighton and graduate show in Dalston for a quick chat. Between being art editor of Typical girls Mag, Co-host of 2MM radio show and having regular DJ-ing stunts around Brighton, Chani is a very busy girl. Yet she swans in chill as ever; tanned long legs, tennis skirt, and lots of cool jewellery pieces. You can tell straight away Chani is a Creative, she has her hand in many baskets because she likes to take every opportunity that comes her way. A visual artist by education, studying Art at The BRIT school for four years, then studying graphic design for three at Brighton University, her two main interests are design and music.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about Typical Girls Zine?
Chani: The reason for the Typical Girls Magazine, or the point we are trying to make is that there is no such thing as a ‘typical girl’. You shouldn’t try to be anything because you don’t have to be anything society expects you to be.
We are just hoping to create an alternative womans’ magazine really, something that boosts women’s confidence and makes them feel good about themselves, which honestly a lot of magazines today don’t.
Typical girls is a beautiful and inspiring Zine, more like a book, it is created for the buyer too keep. Every issue includes stories from extraordinary women, opinion articles, poetry and photography. The Zine was featured in I-D magazine and included in Dazed ‘What you should be reading’ list. This is amazing considering there have only been two issues out so far.
How did you get involved in Typical Girls Magazine?
Chani: Jamila, who is the editor and creator of TG, used to work with me at The Fudge Shop in Brighton. She asked if I have Indesign because she was thinking of making a magazine, I did, but I knew it was really complicated to use, for me even and I was studying Graphic Design, so I offered to help her out. It kind of just grew from there.
What was the process like making the first two issues?
Chani: The biggest challenge is the different elements to creating a project like this, there was a lot to manage, there is sales, marketing, branding, gathering the content, editing and then design. All of this is just a part as I was doing the magazine, working and at university all at the same time.
So who makes up the Typical Girls team?
Chani: The first two issues was literally just me and Jamila. So now we are going to have a small team of 4 of us now for the third Issue, themed around ‘generations’. It’s a Bi-annual magazine. But ultimately Typical Girls is made up of the material sent to us by contributors, wouldn’t be possible without all the different women’s stories.
You also have a radio show called 2MM, tell me about that?
Chani: Well 2MM stands for 2 many man, kind of a homage to the Boy Better Know song.
My friend Femke and I run this radio station, we just realised that most radio stations were voiced and presented by men and decide to make the change. I guess similar to Typical Girls. Not that it’s a huge problem but we just thought that girls didn’t talk about music enough, especially around guys, so we just wanted to give girls a voice to talk about music, to showcase their opinion and musical tastes. Most people don’t even realise there isn’t many female lead radio stations but when you hear one you’re like ‘oh it’s a girl, cool’. The same is true with female DJs.
But, it can be intimidating in some ways because there is a few more boys within this industry. The show is for everyone though, just as two guys having a radio show would be, we don’t focus on gender.
So what’s next?
Chani: Me and Femke just did this at University and it just started really well and now we are trying to get more people involved. We are a good pair, we are starting to DJ together also. We find music in different ways, I feel like she always finds the most random songs. So really we are just going to continue sharing our music finds with who wants to listen, we are both always searching for music we like anyway so it’s a fun project.
How do you find new music?
Chani: I mostly find music through friends and my mum has excellent music taste. I think also working at The Fudge Shop, I would be there for 9 hours and just pick an artist and listen to all his/her albums in the day. So maybe I would just think to myself, I want to listen to Gleam astro today, then play his albums like three times and really get into it. Then the next day it might be someone completely different. It helped me appreciate albums.
Then you are also a DJ, is this an extension on 2MM?
Chani: My DJ-ing is very different from 2MM, with 2MM we are really nerdy with music we are always trying to find new stuff. Whereas when I am DJ-ing in a bar people just want to hear normal songs they know, I like playing Kelis or something. I always play for the audience. I mean sometimes I play 2MM songs when I am DJ-ing and everyone just looks pretty confused.
So what inspired you to become a DJ?
Chani: Well, I have always been really into music and had an interest in DJ-ing. So I just thought I would try and learn. I asked for a controller for Christmas one year, but at the same time I had my dissertation due and I knew if I got the controller I would fail my dissertation, so I got it a few days after I handed in my dissertation, like a reward, I have just been teaching myself things since. But I am not amazing yet at all, it’s just about getting the confidence now. You kind of got to fake it till you make it. That’s what I did, I started just offering to DJ at fundraisers for university and stuff then it just grew from there.
Do you have any DJ inspirations?
Chani: This is probably the wrong person to say but I have always been really inspired by Diplo, I have seen him live loads of times and just find him really charming. I probably don’t see DJ’s as something I am overly inspired by, as it’s not my main focus, but it is a really fun job and want to continue to learn more about it.
What are you excited about at the moment then?
Chani: In the future I just plan continue all these projects and see where they take me. Typical Girls is hard work but it’s really rewarding and I am interested to see where it will go. 2mm is something that I will always be doing anyway, I am always looking for new music and it’s nice to share this. Also right now I am just trying to become a better DJ and get more nerdy and expert at it.
Last Question; what defines our generation for you?
Chani: It’s hard to say but between all the people I know, I would say that people don’t shy away from being a jack-of-all-trades, people will know so much about music and design and fashion all at once. They are not afraid of being a nerd about something, they aren’t scared to just start exploring their interests and are willing to put the time in to learn. So even if we are not amazing at everything, we are opportunists.
So Art Director, DJ, Radio Host, Artist, entrepreneur... Chani definitely has many titles and embodies the opportunistic nature of generation 94/5, she left us feeling inspired and ready to do more. Follow her work and check out the many avenues she is flourishing in.
2MM instagram: https://www.instagram.com/2mmradio/
TG instagram: https://www.instagram.com/typicalgirlsmag/