Jess Dilday is PlayPlay.
Club DJ and Producer
PlayPlay (Knightwerk/ Half Moon Radio) is a NYC-based DJ, producer, teacher, and music scholar. As both a DJ and producer, PlayPlay combines 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 recently 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 Cybersonic LA.
PlayPlay has shared stages with artists such as Big Freedia, TT the Artist, MC Lyte, Suzi Analogue, Le1f, MikeQ, Nadus, Jubilee, Dai Burger, Quest?onmarc, and Slick Shoota. They have been DJ’ing for over a decade, and have a near encyclopedic knowledge of club music that they use to draw as many people as possible onto the dance floor, weaving together new underground club tracks with the classics.
Their ultimate goal is to be in constant musical conversation with the crowd, contributing to a safe(r), free(r) space for everybody.
Music scholar, Professor, Activist
PlayPlay is also a music scholar and activist interested in local music scenes, dance floor dynamics, queer theory, and media studies. They have been teaching DJing and music production for several years, most recently through Building Beats (NYC) and UNC-Chapel Hill (NC). With a particular investment in mentoring women and gender non-conforming DJs / producers, PlayPlay has held workshops at festivals such as Moogfest, for organizations such as Girls Rock NC, and at various colleges & universities.
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 is a long term artist-in-residence at Flux Factory, a Queens-based gallery, where they will be curating a major exhibition in 2021 on liminal club spaces in NYC. In 2018, they presented their first solo exhibition – a sonic tribute to the queer histories of club music.
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.
Jess can be reached at email@example.com.