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J.Phlip: Connecting the Dots, From Chicago to Berlin and Back Again 

Saturday 11th, November 2017 / 12:01
By Catalina Briceno 


Photo by Vitali Gelwich Photography

CALGARY – Jessica Phillippe, also known as J. Phlip, was destined to achieve her dreams of being a DJ because of her hard work and unwavering dedication. Music gave Phillippe purpose long before she was a DJ. In university, Phillippe, on top of majoring in general engineering, minored in audio engineering. 

“We deeply studied sound waves, harmonics and frequencies, and loads of nerdy audio stuff that I can’t remember anymore,” says Phillippe. “I built a talkbox and a ring modulator from scratch. I was also the Speaker Building workshop director at the Audio Engineering Society [in university],”said Phillipe 

In 2005, not long before diving into DJing, Phillippe decided to enter a spinning contest and won. Her prize? Touring with DJ Collette and Reid Speed. 

“I won a DJ contest that sent me to WMC [Winter Music Conference] and Ultra in 2005. Feeling some success come from my DJing turned my motivation up full force.” 

At just 21, Phillippe got a taste of what her life could be. It was after the tour where she decided to pursue her dream. Before diving in and exploring the depths of her passion, she focused her attention to finishing her academic endeavours.  

“I was pretty close to graduating and finishing my degree was really important to me. I loved engineering too, and I had made it that far. I decided to focus as much as I could on finishing, even though all the DJ stuff was starting to really take off,” says Phillippe.  

The year before, Phillippe met Dirtybird titan, Justin Martin. The two exchanged demos, their first encounter.  

That following year, they crossed paths again at Martin’s event in Miami. It was there, where she met Barclay Crenshaw, Dirtybird founder. 

After graduating from post-secondary, Phillippe immersed herself on what could be. Still fairly new to the scene, Phillippe set out to find her identity as a DJ.  

After testing the grounds in Chicago, the birthplace of house, Phillipe ventured onto a new genre and location, where she, like many others before her, went on a techno pilgrimage to Berlin to polish her skills.  

“I moved to Berlin because I didn’t know diddly-squat about the scene in Europe. Barclay suggested that I just go over there to live for six months.” 

Six months quickly turned into four years. Berlin not only expanded Phillippe’s music horizon, but reinvigorated her outlook on music.  

“Going to the parties there gave me a feeling like going out to a house/techno party for the first time all over again. I loved being able to go out and hardly know anyone and get lost on the dance floor. I was able to develop my taste a bit more because of some of the artists and parties I was able to see that don’t make it to the USA very often or ever…. and because of the thriving vinyl culture and all the record shops there.”   

Relocating allowed Phillippe to blossom as an artist and propelled her to achieve new levels of her artistic capability. 

Phillipe became a fixture within the festival circuit, landing coveted spots like: Movement Detroit, EDC, Holy Ship, and Shambhala. Despite her many achievements, Phillippe remains humble and is responsible for launching the careers of Eats Everything and Catz n Dogz.   

“I have the ability to help connect the dots sometimes.  Eats Everything gave me a CD of his music [and] I was blown away. I played some of the Eats Everything tracks at the Dirtybird BBQ at Golden Gate park, one of them was “Entrance Song,” and that’s when it got Barclays attention,” said Phillippe. 

“Voitek from Catz n Dogz my roomate [in Berlin] at the time, so I immediately went home and played them for him. Eats ended up immediately signing a record for Catz n Dogz new label (at the time) Pets Recordings and a record for Dirtybird.  It was a breakthrough for Dan’s career but mostly we got this awesome mofo to join the fam. [Dirtybird] has grown into this family of friends who are inspired by each other.” 


J.Phlip plays November 18th at The HiFi Club (Calgary).

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