New Year Eve’s 2014 guests of Cape Town’s Shimmy Beach Club were led in their revels by DJ Krystal Roxx, the London-based sensation who dresses like a Miuccia Prada muse, looks like a young Princess Charlene of Monaco (with infinitely happier eyes), and parties along to each of her gigs like she’s on a big night out with the girls.
Looks and attitude can only hoist one’s star to a certain height, though, and it is Krystal’s technical prowess that has seen her become the official European DJ for R&B star Taio Cruz (who Krystal regards as a “brother and fellow techie geek”), as well as a resident DJ for iconic house music brand Hed Kandi, for which she has stacked up a list of appearances that reads like a StumbleUpon return for nocturnal cool - Es Paradis (Ibiza), Cocoon (Frankfurt), Nightwax (Germany), Cavalli Club (Dubai) and of course Shimmy Beach Club (South Africa), which Krystal describes as “Extremely classy, and, er, Omigosh, the food...”
Those fortunate enough to meet Krystal in person will be struck by her ability to view her life from a tickled and slightly disbelieving vantage, like she’s standing beside you, watching herself on the high wire of the international DJ’ing scene, shouting “Don’t look down, luv.”
“It’s Krystal with a ‘K’,” she says. “That is my real first name. My surname is Archer. The Roxx part was my brother’s idea. Clubbers were always shouting, ‘Krystal, you rock,’ so he was like, ‘You should be called Krystal Roxx,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ Since then loads of people have pointed out that it sounds quite porno, but it was too late by that stage because I’d bought the website.”
DJ’s who’ve spent years in the club scene trenches, working, waiting, hoping for a break, would be well advised to turn away now, because Krystal’s rise to the ranks of the international DJ jet set was almost as accidental as it was meteoric. Just a few short years ago she was a dancer, singer and actress, working out some theatre contracts in London and supplementing her income by teaching dance and drama at a college in Guildford, Surrey. A colleague told her he was a DJ and Krystal, who had recently bought herself some mixing software with a view to putting together mash ups for her gym sessions, lied and said, “Me too!”
“Five days later his agent booked me to open a club in London, which was very scary of course, but being out of teachy work I thought, well, fortune favours the brave, and I made the whole gig’s worth of music on CDs, so that it sounded like I was DJ’ing, and I put them in and enjoyed the night like I was out partying with my friends, and the crowd loved it.”
A year-long residency with the same club afforded Krystal the opportunity to sharpen her DJ’ing claws on the job. When playing one genre of music in one place became a drag, she applied for, and was awarded, one of Hed Kandi’s coveted residencies, and with it a ticket to tour the world’s beautiful places, mingling always with its beautiful people.
“It has been so, so fantastic. My family helps me to remember just how fortunate I am. I remember returning home once having just played Hong Kong, and my dad said, ‘What was it like?’ and he was genuinely fascinated because he’s never had the opportunity to travel. Since then my policy has always been: bag in the room, then straight out to explore the city, whereas a lot of DJ’s just stay in their hotel rooms, do the job, then go home.”
There can be no doubting Krystal’s ability to get beneath a city’s skin. On a previous trip to Cape Town, one of her most memorable experiences was watching local band Plush play an acoustic gig at The Alma Cafe in Rosebank, a wonderful but obscure acoustic venue, known to a grand total of about 11 people.
But after a while even obeying the carpe diem principle wasn’t enough for Krystal. She decided it was time to give back, and today she does more for noble causes than most of the DJ’ing community combined. She’s an ambassador and fundraiser for The Global Angels Foundation, and raises awareness for Plan International’s “Because I Am A Girl” campaign. Independently she has created an online women’s empowerment platform called I Am Superfoxx (www.iamsuperfoxx.com), which aims to deliver inspirational content to women worldwide, including stories, fitness and beauty tips, and even political reportage.
“Everything I do as a DJ is aimed at inducing euphoria and happiness, so as my profile has started to build it has been a natural extension to explore ways of doing that in other ways. Deep house vocals are huge in London at the moment, which is great for me because I love anything that makes me feel like I’m 15 again."
Written by Danielle Dougherty for Shimmy Style Magazine, South Africa.