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Cardiff Character: Reba Kimber

Get behind the decks to discover the female head DJ for Cardiff’s biggest hip hop and R&B night

Reba Kimber outside her DJ home, Buffalo

On Monday nights, Buffalo Bar comes alive as Cardiff descends for an evening of hip hop and R&B music.

During the day the mood is far more relaxed, and Reba Kimber has stepped out from the DJ booth to sip a cappuccino.

Bump & Grind is currently made up of four female DJs with Reba at the head. She has lived in Cardiff for the past 10 years having come to the city for university.

Reba may not have always known she was going to be a DJ, but she has always loved music. When she was little she used to make her friends CDs and record her own radio shows. She said: “I never thought that would be a thing for me but now it’s changed my whole life.”

Being a female DJ

Reba likes to cater to the girls’ tastes on club nights. She said: “If I want to play a Beyonce sing-your-heart-out song that’s what I’m gonna do. All my girls are gonna love it with me.”

“Your skin just gets tougher. You just laugh it off I suppose.”

Even with this love from the crowd, her audience can sometimes get drunk and rowdy.

“Your skin just gets tougher,” she commented. “You just laugh it off I suppose.”

She smiled and said that Where is the Love by The Black Eyed Peas is the perfect song to play if a fight threatens to break out to get people singing and diffuse the tension.

Reba likes to dance to the music when she is DJing

While more female DJs have been stepping up over the last 10 years, there is still an imbalance between the genders.

“The shock factor is still there,” she said. “It’s people undermining you I think.

“Most of the time the manager or the person managing the club will be a man.”

She made sure to say that while she doesn’t want men to be out of the equation, there won’t be equality until it’s completely normal for women to DJ.

Reba’s DJ skill

Reba demonstrated how she creates a mix using Buffalo’s DJ decks.

She hooked up the wires and flicked the switches deftly, tapping her sparkly manicured nails on the table while adjusting the controls.

She puts the Spotify playlist makers to shame as she hops from one side of the decks to the other, hitting buttons and switching songs.

“We do get it where people will stand there and watch me for ages just to make sure I’m not just pressing play and letting a playlist run,” Reba said.

She tries to do every mix perfectly, even though she often works shifts from 10pm-3am.

She added: “I want people to see that I’ve worked hard to be good at what I do.”

At the end of the night

When Reba was working at another job alongside DJing for Bump & Grind, she found the hours required had a big impact on her mental health.

Even now she’ll only be home by four or five am, but she has learned to manage her time better over the years.

She said: “To be honest it’s taken a long time to get to grips with sleeping.”

Nowadays, if she DJs every other day, she’ll make sure to stick to a sleeping pattern that allows her to both make the most out of the day and perform at night.

She says that it’s an incredibly exhausting job not only because of the hours required but also because she finds it hard to stay still behind the decks.

“I don’t like to just stand there,” she says. “I like to dance and get involved too.”

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