Nominated for Best Radio Show and Best Resident DJ alongside legendary figures DJ Harvey and Terry Francis in the DJ Mag Best of British Awards, Coco Cole has gained huge recognition in just a few years on the scene. Mixmag even pulled out the metaphor “a vital cog in the machinery of UK Dance”.
She’s a self-confessed nerd.
Her bookshelves are piled high with musical history books + if you searched her internet history, bar a few cat memes, it’s all music. Coming of age in the 00s in the countryside, Coco’s deep love for finding music began with ripping mixtapes onto cassettes + devouring compilations from Soulwax + Late Night Tales. Night after night scouring music blogs, Soundcloud, Last FM, MySpace, Bearshare + Limewire (admittedly, she didn’t know about royalties then).
Spending her teenage years with little else to do but pour over and discover sounds that eventually led to the Chicago + Detroit pioneers.
If she’s not listening to music, there’s a loop in her head, she’s humming, singing, tapping + quietly behind the scenes building up her inventory of original productions under various guises.
It’s her love for music + dexterity of taste that has led to her holding a residency for three years at Pacha, Ibiza. Only few can boast, humbly of course, that they’ve played the main room of the legendary club over 30 times. She’s a staple in the London queer scene + can often be found commanding chaos on the Dalston Superstore + Savage dancefloors as well as this year co-founding, the Resident Advisor featured, warehouse dwelling Big Dyke Energy.
Now hosting the Universe Language show on Rinse FM, Coco has been a professional national broadcaster for 6 years.
We asked Coco for some insights into her own well-learned life lessons, such as coming to terms with her own sexuality and making her own jealousy work in her favour..
What are the proudest moments of your life?
I still struggle to recognise my achievements and feel like I’m doing enough but I do recall feeling pretty chuffed the days I handed in my dissertation, when I got my first presenting job + when Martin Solveig first asked me to play back to back with him in Pacha Ibiza. Those were moments where I really felt the hard work and perseverance paid off.
When you think back to your own teenage years, what was the main thing you struggled with? Was being a teen a happy experience for you?
I really struggled with coming to terms with my sexuality. There was a lot of internalized homophobia and then when I finally got over that, I was terrified of the external homophobia. I went to a Catholic school in the middle of England. Very conservative and ‘traditional’. I only told my very close friends because I thought I’d be teased, rejected and treated differently. The irony is, the people I was most scared about knowing are mainly all queer now too. And the adults, I just roll my eyes at them. Your loss. Being queer is a GIFT. Also, I went back for my 10 year reunion recently and one of my fave teachers excitedly told me they’re introducing LGBTQI+ inclusion in sex education, which is great news. About time.
If you were to really think about it, what would a ‘younger you’ want to hear from an “older you”?
Babe, trust me, you will learn to love yourself and you will find people who love you too. You’ll find amazing interesting people who are into the same things as you and you will have all the fun with them. They will become your best friends who will never say anything shitty to you, will treat you with respect and admiration and will shower you with love. You feel like people here don’t understand you and they probably don’t but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you at all. You are special and have something to offer this world. Believe in that feeling you have inside. Being a teenager sucks and then life is fabulous.
Is there anything you regret and wish you had done differently?
I think I could be quite mean when I was in Year 7 + 8. I was trying to impress people which had me do and say quite ‘bully-like’ things I would never do that now. I recognise that I was just a kid trying to be accepted and not get bullied myself. I don’t like holding the energy of regret, because you can always learn from bad decisions, so I wouldn’t say I regret that behaviour, but they weren’t my finest moments and I feel remorseful.
Yes, we love that kind of honesty Coco! Imagine how many teenagers are out there right now and can hear themselves in that story! Either on that side or from the other. I wonder, what are the main lessons you have learned in life?
Be nice. Work Hard. The patriarchy and institutionalised racism are real and we should do everything to destroy them.
Haha, Yes! hmm.. So what would you say is different now to when you were a teen?
Inclusivity is in. I will hop on that trend all day long.
As will we! What lessons have you learned to help you specifically to conquer fear?
I have only this year learnt to ask for what I want. Opportunities don’t come to you on a plate, I’ve been waiting for a while and trust me they don’t. You have to work for them and downright ask for them. All the time. Don’t reject yourself by not even asking. If you can get over that, you’re onto a winner.
What lessons have you learned around gaining more self-confidence?
Omg so much. I actually don’t hate myself anymore which is a dream. It took a while though and I still have days when I do. So you have to keep working at it. Tell yourself the things you’re grateful for. Keep it simple. “I’m grateful I can breathe!”. Tell yourself the things you are proud that you have achieved. Again, keep it simple, “I’m proud I got out of bed and washed and fed myself today”. When you’re not loving yourself, these things can really build you back from the bottom up
What is your advice for a teenager living in the world today?
Don’t listen to all the shit the world is throwing at you. Do you. Don’t try and be like anyone else, or try and prove a point to anyone. Work on you and for you.
Have time away from your phone and social media. Learn new things. Omg you have SO MUCH free time. Use it!! Get hobbies. Try all the things.
I really wish I started producing music when I was a teenager. I’m still learning now and although it’s never too late too start, I would have loved that kick start.
Do you have a personal mission statement that you live by?
I don’t really, but I do everything in my power to make sure that I’m always happy with my circumstances. How I’m spending my time, who I’m hanging around with or my surroundings. You’re in control of all of that, so if you don’t like something, change it..
What do women need more of?
FREE SANITARY PRODUCTS, THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE, SELF LOVE, SOLIDARITY, EQUAL RIGHTS AND EQUAL PAY.
Preach! What do women need less of?
Go damn misogyny. Get off our fucking backs please. We literally made you.
What keeps you motivated?
An acute and workable amount of jealously. Lol, true though. But mainly that I don’t want to end up doing a job that I hate, so that gives me a bit of gusto.
Which women most inspire you?
Uh endless women. I LOVE women. They are amazing in every way. All women just getting by in this world that wants to grind us down tbh. But atm, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is kicking ass and I stan a legend.
As a woman in the music industry, what advice would you give other women that want to have a career in music?
Know your shit and know your worth. Work hard and don’t expect anyone to offer you anything. You have to earn and ask for it. Make yourself undeniable.