Jess Dilday is PlayPlay.
Club DJ and Producer
Jess Dilday is a NYC-based DJ, producer, teacher, and music scholar. Under their main moniker, PlayPlay, they combine their penchant for percussion (particularly breaks) and heavy bass with nostalgic hip-hop and house samples. A dancefloor veteran, PlayPlay’s music is inspired by what they grew up listening to – namely jungle, DnB, breakbeat hardcore, Baltimore club, industrial, jock jams, 90s club anthems and hard house. Using a combination of samples and hardware synthesizers to create everything from unearthly basslines to high-octane acid/industrial sounds, PlayPlay makes energetic music that is both familiar and hard to pin down. They have released two club EPs on international club music label Knightwerk Records, as well as several singles and remixes on labels such as Worst Behavior and Juke Bounce Werk. They have a record forthcoming on Brooklyn-based Sorry Records coming out in June of 2022.
As a DJ, PlayPlay’s experience as a lifelong music nerd and mainstay at underground clubs for over 20 years is constantly informing their encyclopedic DJ sets, weaving together new underground club tracks with the classics. They have shared stages with artists such as Big Freedia, TT the Artist, Le1f, Sylvan Esso, MikeQ, Nadus, Jubilee, Dai Burger and Darude, released guest mixes on The Lot Radio, Rinse FM, WIDE Radio, JEROME Worldwide and more.
Music scholar and Educator
Jess also has an extensive background in music education. They have been an artist/educator with NYC-based Building Beats for the past 4 years. Before joining Building Beats, Jess taught The Art and Culture of the DJ through the University of North Carolina Department of Music as a DJ professor. They have also guest lectured at universities such as Duke University, Rider University, The University of Groningen and ARoS Museum (Denmark).
Jess loves to share their skills with as many people as they can, and has a particular investment in mentoring women, trans/non-binary artists and others who are marginalized in the DJ and music production industry.
Most recently, in February of 2020 (exactly one month before the pandemic hit worldwide), PlayPlay served as an artist-educator through the Next Level Hip Hop diplomacy program in Peru. They have since continued their work from a distance, teaching music production for Building Beats, Next Level, and In Session digitally.
As a music scholar, Jess’s main interests are in local music scenes, dance floor dynamics, queer theory, and media studies. Formerly the editor-in-chief for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music website (iaspm-us.net) and currently the head of content at Building Beats, PlayPlay has also published in Oxford University Press Handbook of Hip Hop Music and has an article forthcoming in their Handbook of Electronic Music.
PlayPlay has held a 3 year residency at Flux Factory, a Queens-based art gallery, where they will be curating a major exhibition in 2022 on liminal club spaces in NYC. In 2018, they presented their first solo exhibition – a sonic tribute to the queer histories of club music.
Jess can be reached at email@example.com.