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 currently hold DJ residencies in NYC at H0L0, Flux Factory, and Half Moon radio, as well as the long-running NC-based party, Party Illegal. 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), Jess has presented at past conferences on topics such as José Muñoz’s disidentification and queer rap, 90’s musical nostalgia, queerness within New Orleans bounce music, and media framing of protestor actions and emotions at the 2012 DNC/RNC.
PlayPlay is currently an artist-in-residence at Flux Factory, a Queens-based gallery, where they will be curating a major exhibition in 2020 on liminal club spaces in NYC. In 2018, they presented their first solo exhibition – a sonic tribute to the queer history of club music.
They have also recently been selected by Next Level US to serve as an artist-educator through their Hip Hop diplomacy program in Peru, where they will be the DJ resident in February 2020.
Jess can be reached at email@example.com.