For: The Parklife Weekender/The Independent Online

Heidi returns to Parklife this year with a huge Jackathon arena line-up, with a host of huge acts including Maya Jane Coles and Derrick Carter. After headlining the Kaluki arena, Parklife 2013 sees Heidi work with the club brand to put together an incredible Jackathon vs Kaluki stage for this year’s festival. We caught up with the label boss, Radio 1 resident and Jackathon queen to talk about her current crazy schedule, her upcoming label releases and what it’s like to be coming back to Manchester.

You took a break from touring recently. How are you feeling about being back on the road and what do the next few months have in store for you?

Yeah, I had to take some much needed time off. 3 months of illness and touring in the middle of it broke me completely. It takes my body shutting down for me to actually stop. It was the best move I made. I went to go and get some balance back in my life. No computer or phone, just peace and quiet and fresh air. I’m back 100%. Full force. I have a pretty intense schedule coming up. Ibiza season, Jackathon parties, poolside jams session, boat parties and hosting tents at Parklife, Lovebox, and Hideout plus lots of festivals. Gigs, gigs and more gigs. Going to Japan, touring America. I’ve also been taking over for Annie Nightingale on Radio 1 weekly for the month as well as doing my Residency show and sorting out my label Jackathon Jams. Phew. I’m sweating just writing all this down!

You’ve been at Radio 1 since 2008 now. What does working at the station mean to you and how does it compare to radio back in Canada?

It is 100% unique. I know that Toronto and Montreal have good scenes and bring electronic artists over and there are some great DJs coming from Canada but that’s about it. Canada has always been about classic rock, which is my roots. They have great radio stations over there but nothing groundbreaking like Radio 1. I’m completely free to play and invite whoever I chose. It’s a brilliant platform to showcase underground talent. I hope I have a long future at that station. I love working there. Everyone is super cool and extremely friendly.

The Jackathon ‘brand’ has a number of facets. On the label side of things, what’s it been like working with people like Maya Jane Coles, Miss Kittin and Alexis Raphael on Jackathon Jams releases?

It’s been amazing. I just like calling people up who I’ve known in the scene for over a decade and asking them to make a tune or do a remix. Working in Phonica Records all those years definitely helped me. I got to know a lot of people from selling them tunes. It’s so nice to showcase people’s music. I’m not much of a producer so I need to have another outlet and the label and the parties are perfect ways to do things like that.

What are you up to with Jackathon Jams releases and compilations at the moment and what do you have coming up soon?

I have a release from Miami’s Jesse Perez with a Jimmy Edgar remix. Absolute bomb. I call it the Panty Dropper EP. When you hear it you’ll know why. I also have Waifs and Strays with a DJ Sneak remix and a new artist called Rob Amboule with some Derrick Carter vocals on there. The remix hasn’t been confirmed yet. Also an EP from ex-Hercules and the Love Affair frontwoman Kim Ann Foxman doing what she does best, bringing that old school New York jack sound. Lots on the table.

You were a resident at The Warehouse Project last season – how was that as an experience and what was it like to be at the core of a whole WHP season, especially playing the final set in Room 1 for the Closing Party?

It is by far my favourite place to play in the UK… actually in the world. It’s freakin’ nuts in there. The vibe is electric. I have never felt so buzzed after a gig there. The crowd absolutely lose their ever lovin’ minds. Any DJ who says they don’t like playing there needs to get another job. I can’t wait for this season. Serious business coming your way soon.

How have you found Manchester as a city to play? How does it compare to some of the cities you’ve played more than once?

Manchester has embraced me more than any other city in the world. Over the past 4 years the crowds just got bigger and bigger and now it’s out of control. It’s like my second home. I played there more last year then anywhere else in the world. Maybe that’s why they have embraced me as one of their own. Maybe I was a Manc in a previous life.

The Jackathon compilations and the label both stem from the Jackathon events, and that’s what brings you to Parklife this year. What does it mean to you to be hosting a Jackathon arena at Parklife this year?

I couldn’t be happier. Last year was crazy. I walked into an empty tent to play and within 2 tracks there was 3000 people there. Manchester represented hard. They gave me back all the love I gave to them over the years. Best gig of last year for sure. The line-up this year is sick. Every artist playing is at the top of their game and lets just say that roof is going to get torn off. Bring a change of clothes because we are going to sweat our asses off.