Jenny Greene picks her influences, including Snoop, Paul Simon and Annie Mac 

Jenny Greene picks her influences, including Snoop, Paul Simon and Annie Mac 

Culture That Made Me: The ace DJ reveals some her touchstones in advance of her appearance at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
Jenny Greene picks her influences, including Snoop, Paul Simon and Annie Mac 

Jenny Greene plays at Cork Opera House for the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan/OSM PHOTO

Jenny Greene, 39, is from Dublin, and has worked as a professional DJ since her mid-teens. In 2003, she entered the Guinness Book of Records for registering the longest DJ set at 75 hours. 

In 2007, she began a long-running, popular night-time weekend slot on RTÉ 2FM. 

She currently hosts a weekday afternoon show on the station. 

She will perform at the Cork Opera House, 11.30pm, Saturday, October 23. See www.corkoperahouse.ie.

Graceland 

My earliest memory is getting a Walkman (which was a little box that played music from a cassette tape) when I was four years old. From then on, I had a pair of headphones attached to me permanently. My earliest taste in music was my dad’s, which I still love. 

The first tape he gave me was Paul Simon’s Graceland. I still listen to that album. During lockdown, I bought it on vinyl. I don’t think Paul Simon gets as much credit as he should. I brought my dad to see him in Dublin’s O2. It was an incredible gig. He’s a genius.

Snoop Dogg

In my early teens, hip hop was my main go-to, which is kind of mad because I don’t listen to it anymore. I remember buying the Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle album when it came out. I was in sixth class. I was probably heavily influenced by the group of friends I had at school. We all loved that music. It was a thing. 

Listening to the Doggystyle album was an eyeopener – to say the least! It was probably our first time experiencing those kinds of lyrics. Maybe there was an excitement hearing them at that age.

Euphoria of electronic music

There’s something about dance music that gives you this feeling of euphoria that you don’t get from any other genre. I got decks for Christmas when I was 12. I remember going into Tag Records in Dublin. They just looked at me when I walked into the shop – a 12-year-old and a female, unheard of back then. I remember one trip into Abbey Discs where DJs used to sell their mixed tapes. 

I bought this tape, Last Night of The Ormond. It was DJ Orbit and Ken O’Flanagan. Danny Kearns was the MC. I wore that tape out. It was a feeling when you heard this music, the atmosphere and the crowd. I thought, I need to be in this.

Introverted DJs

I missed a lot of school as a child. I’d been sick on and off. I’d sit in my bedroom playing my decks all day long. I’d nothing to do, nowhere to go. That spurred me on further. As a DJ, you become a bit of a recluse. It’s funny, most DJs are not that outgoing. I can see why. We spend so much time on our own. 

Suddenly when you’re with people you can’t cope with it! People think you’re really extroverted, but you have to be an introvert to learn the craft. There are exceptions, but when everybody was out playing on the road, I was in the bedroom playing by myself, learning how to mix.

Key to getting a crowd dancing 

DJ Sasha
DJ Sasha

You look at a DJ like Sasha and he barely moves when he plays, but it’s fine – he’s Sasha; he can do that. When I was DJing years ago, everybody was, like: “She looks miserable.” I was concentrating on what I was doing. I probably wasn’t dancing. I’m quite shy. I get a bit nervous when I get out there. It takes me a while to loosen up, but I’ve got better at it over the years. I feel the more you engage with a crowd and really try and connect with them through the music and visually looking at them, that lifts people.

DJ Kölsch

I love to watch the Danish DJ Kölsch play. His music is a world apart from anybody else. I’ve gone to see him play a couple of times. He constructs a set like a really well-made movie. You’re going: where did he pull that out from? It comes naturally to him. He’s been producing for years. 

Interestingly, his dad is Irish. He’s done some amazing sets over the years, including one he did a few years back for Cercle on top of the Eiffel Tower. It was mind-blowing.

Annie Mac

Annie Mac.
Annie Mac.

Friday night for me for the last number of years, I would finish my show at six o’clock. I’d be in my car straight away and I’d always listen to Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 because she playing the music l love. When she said she was leaving, I felt [bereft]: what am I going to listen to now? It wasn’t just the music, but how she presented the music that set her apart, and the connection she had with people. As soon as you’d hear her show, it felt like a party and it felt like you were in it with a load of other people all around the world.

God is a DJ 

My mum worked in an office with the resident DJ from the Red Box, Paddy Sheridan. Paddy offered to let me come in with him one night in that amazing DJ box that was up in the sky with the candles on each end of the turntables. For a 15-year-old, this was like I’d won the Lotto. He said I could play a few records before it opened. 

I remember the club hadn’t opened yet and John Reynolds, God rest him, walked up the floor in the middle of the Red Box and shouted up at Paddy: “What is she doing up there?! I don’t want to see her when the doors open!” I had to stay off in the corner while the gig was on. What a night. It was like something from another world. It was an amazing time for electronic music in Ireland. There was such an excitement going into clubs. It’s hard to match that anymore.

Cork people and dance 

The closest feeling I had to something being special like those days in the Red Box was years ago playing in The Savoy in Cork. Don’t get me wrong: it was no Sir Henry’s; I missed that heyday. One, it was the venue. It was nicely a bit dingey but great. The other thing was the Cork people. I find in other places – and plenty of people talk about this – everyone’s watching themselves. 

Cork just goes out and lets themselves loose for the night. It’s not all about outfits. It’s: “Let’s go out, go mad and dance – and get into it.” They don’t give a shit what people think about them. It’s the way we all should be.

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