Elly Schook, otherwise known as Kiddo, has been collecting records for more than 30 years. In 2002 she had an experience that began to really fuel her as a DJ.
“I did a short stint as a radio DJ on WSUM in Madison during undergraduate school. The day I started, my trainer wouldn’t show me how to mix on the vinyl turntables in the studio because I wasn’t playing ‘dance music’ as my show format and would ‘mostly be playing CDs’. Gate-keeping much?! A few months later, I decided I would buy some Technics as a graduation gift to myself and was determined to learn how to mix with vinyl. When I moved back to the Chicago area, I started learning the mechanics of mixing with the help of some friends and, within a year or so, I had a little weekly residency at a small bar/restaurant.”
She began playing out more in Chicago, spreading to other areas of the Midwest, as well as in Mexico and Spain. “Smartbar has always been home base for most of my DJing years, but I LOVE playing in other cities. After having my son three years ago I (foolishly) thought I would be ‘done’ with DJing, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m so grateful that people still enjoy what I do.”
Schook shares about her process when creating mixes. “If a party, promoter, label, etc. has a particular aesthetic that really dominates their musical output, I may choose to create something tailored to that aesthetic. I actually enjoy that opportunity to experiment with a certain theme or sound.” When self-publishing a mix she uses the opportunity to simply pull music and hit record.
“I’m very spontaneous with my sets both in the studio and when I play publicly, maybe to my own detriment sometimes. But, I actually enjoy creating when certain things are up in the air – not necessarily knowing ahead of time that the tracks will be a perfect fit, but finding ways to make them gel together in the moment. It keeps me on my toes and more actively engaged in the process. I guess it’s risky but, ultimately, more satisfying. I also (unintentionally) tend to be very seasonal with my musical choices. I went back and looked through the last ten years of mixes and noticed that in the spring and summer, my output definitely has a more house-forward sound, while my mixes created during the winter tend to be more techno-oriented and/or dark and heavy.”
She breaks her cyclical seasonal sound for this mix to show Sequencer an hour of her darker side. “I tried to weave together several different styles of American and European techno and electro. Aside from a couple of pre-2010 picks, these are mostly newer tracks that I’m having fun with at the moment and pretty representative of what you might hear me play at a club or party. I tried to incorporate some nuanced shifts in mood and dynamics throughout, but my hope is that people really enjoy the pulse and energy of this mix. I think it pumps,” she says.
Coming up Kiddo will be DJing a few parties in Chicago, as well as working on several different podcast mixes. Her main focus in the music world is to continue the planning and growth of Walking and Falling; the DJ mentorship and workshop program for woman-identifying and nonbinary music enthusiasts launched March 2017. “Now that we’ve done several successful workshops in Chicago, we are starting to expand the program to other cities, so most of my musical energy is going towards seeing the program grow. Walking and Falling has allowed me to combine skills I’ve learned in my teaching career with DJing and brings me such immense joy.”
Dig into this dark and groovy mix from Chicago’s favorite Kiddo.
1. The Third Man – 6 A.M. On Leith Walk [Ai Records]
2. Mor Elian – Drum Vortex (Markus Suckut Remix) [Hypercolour]
3. Tolga Fidan – Grop Tape 2 [finale sessions]
4. Z@p – Fuerzas Karmicas [El Milagro Records]
5. Martyné & Jacob Chenaux – Quasequini [Traffic]
6. Patrik Sjeren – Code Blank [Fit Sound]
7. Camea – Vanish [Neverwhere]
8. Objekt – Fishbone [Objekt]
9. Brother Nebula – A Brief History of Lasers [Legwork]
10. Tripeo – Untitled #5 [Tripeo]
11. Dawl – TRK 1 [Tone Dropout]
12. Doms & Deykers – Eyes Up 
13. Sween – Lab Rat [Tone Dropout]
14. Daïf – Lovelydevil [Amazing stories]