Emma Holmes




University of Plymouth, United Kingdom - MediaLab Arts

We always like it when we meet women who are kicking butt in a male-dominated industry, especially when they are working in off-hours to make it happen and are inspiring others in the process. Emma Holmes, a scratch DJ, is one of those women. She started her own company, Studio Scratches, where she creates scratch tutorials, develops beats for others to practice to and serves as a resource to help other aspiring scratch DJs. To find out a little bit more about what she does watch "Why We Do," a short film that explains her passion. When Emma has spare time you can find her with family and friends, surfing, practicing yoga and riding fixed gear bikes.

Do not under any circumstances wait for permission or approval to begin.

How did you discover your current job?

While I was self employed as a graphic designer I decided that I would really love to, and could do something with, the skills I had learned in scratch DJing over the last 10 years, which is my true passion. I set up Studio Scratches initially to record scratching for artist’s music albums, but I found that I had so many people asking me about scratching that it has developed into a video tutorial, source of encouragement and resource site for scratch DJs around the world — which is far more of an impact than I could ever have imagined.

What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?

By day I hold down a "regular" day job in retail. Then when I get home and on my days off it's typically recording scratch tutorials and videos, making beats and music for people to practice to, and responding to comments and questions I receive via Studio Scratches, YouTube, Facebook and mail. I'm always thinking of what new things I can create for my audience and subscribers.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

Every time I receive an email or comment that someone has learned new techniques and improved their scratching because of my tutorials or uses my beats, that really encourages and inspires me to keep going.

It can be challenging when I receive negative comments or when it feels like I am not progressing. As what I am doing is mostly Web-based, it can be quite isolating at times. I'm learning to ignore the challenges and press on!

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

Sleep and watching TV! Sometimes time with family and friends, but I strive for balance.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

Don't worry about existing "scenes" or compare yourself to other people in your industry. Be yourself, be authentic, and share your unique talents and gifts with the world. Others can maybe do it “better” than you, but no one can do it “like” you! Celebrate yourself and what you bring to the table. Everyone has a unique style. Use it to your advantage! If you start sharing your skills and talents with the world, sooner or later you will start to have an impact on at least one person. Have courage, be confident, and go for it! Do not under any circumstances wait for permission or approval to begin.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

DJing is largely a male-dominated industry, so you can get sexist remarks and comments based on looks rather than skills. However, most guys are extremely supportive and encouraging.

Who are your role models?

All the people who are taking steps to live the life they want and who are following their dreams are my role models. Musically it would have to be DJ D-Styles and Qbert.

What are some of the rules you live by?

It's not a rule, but the quote, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined," by Henry David Thoreau. It is something that drives me forward.

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Practice, practice, practice! Seek the help of like-minded people who will encourage you and build you up.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Having helped people develop their scratching and progressing Studio Scratches further.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thanks to everyone who has helped me on my journey!