Lockdown Listening: seven 7” singles that inspired Honey Dijon

Grab a glass of wine and let the DJ and producer guide you through some of the singles that have influenced the album she’s working on in lockdown

The 12” record has long been mythologised in dance music, a format suited to long, drawn-out grooves and heavy bass frequencies. The 7”, on the other hand, has been the format of the pop single. The limited space available means that songs have to convey their purest essence quickly, while the format favours higher frequency sounds like melodies.

For the past three or four years, Honey Dijon has been collecting 7” singles. For our new Lockdown Listening video, the Chicago-raised DJ and producer sat surrounded by her library at home in Berlin and discussed some of the 7” singles that have inspired the album she’s currently working on, due out at the end of the year via Luke Solomon and Derrick Carter’s label, Classic. 

“I’ve been planning to do a 7” set,” Honey Dijon says in the video. “I’m giving you guys a little bit of a sneak preview of some of my record collection.” But before that, she takes a sip of wine to loosen up – and encourages you to do the same, too. 

“For every song, we’re going to do a sip. So if you have a glass of wine, get your glass of wine and we can drink together and toast together... and, at the end of it, be fucked up – just like we do on a regular Saturday afternoon. Is today a Saturday?”

Watch the video above, and check out a playlist of Honey Dijon’s selections below.


Honey Dijon: We’re gonna start off with one of my favourite producers ever: Mr. Gino Soccio. I remember as a kid growing up listening to early house music tapes, one of my favourite tracks was “Remember”, and it’s what led me down a rabbit hole to sort of get into all of his music, and I stumbled across this 7”, “Dancer”, which I play quite a lot in my sets. On the other side is another great track of his called “So Lonely”. If you don’t know about Gino Soccio, that’s what Spotify is for.


Honey Dijon: This was a big record at a club called The Saint back in the day. There were so many major clubs in New York in the late 70s and early 80s: The Saint, along with the Paradise Garage and The Loft. It’s amazing because most of the time when I’m shopping for records, I always check out the 7” section and I’m always blown away by how much music was released on 7” back in the 70s and 80s.


Honey Dijon: This has got to be one of my favourite disco records in the world. When I was a kid, we used to have school dances, and that’s how I learned about DJ culture, because we would have DJs come and then the school cafeteria would turn into the school club. That’s where I first got introduced to disco. I will never forget hearing this record for the first time, and it literally gave me a spiritual experience – it’s First Choice, “Dr. Love”, Rochelle Fleming on vocals.


Honey Dijon: We’re going to move into a little bit more pop. There have been two artists in my life that have been hugely influential to me, not only as a human being, but as a musician, as how I look at the world, and fashion and art. The first time I saw Sade, a snatched-back ponytail was her signature, and hoop earrings and a white shirt – the most simple things, but the way she put them together, combined with her energy and her beauty, was just mind blowing. I will never forget when this record came out. What I love about this record is that it was not only the music, but this was photographed by one of my favourite fashion photographers ever, Mr. Helmut Newton. I can just get lost in this album cover.

It just led me down a rabbit hole of jazz. I mean, I always loved jazz music – but the way she did it in pop culture was just really amazing, and there hasn’t been an artist since that has combined soul, and jazz, and an English sensibility as Sade has.


Honey Dijon: So I’m going to give you a little bit of house music history. I’m sure everyone’s heard the lyrics “and Jack had a groove”. Well, ‘jack’ was basically a dance that people do when you went out dancing to hot early house music. It was very tracky, and people just jack. It was like you would dance with the speakers, and you would jack the speakers; it was basically sex with the speaker. Before it was called ‘jack’, it was called ‘punking out’. A lot of early British synth pop, and new wave, no wave, and music from the post-disco movement in New York was heavily influential in the beginning of early house music, along with acid house, and tracks and things of that nature. The Human League was super, super influential in early house music. “Love Action” was probably one of the first songs that I was introduced to by them, before “Don’t You Want Me”, which became their big international hit. I just love this song and the album cover – and red lip? Red lip!

The other side is just as great as that track – “Hard Times”. Who doesn’t like a little bit of a B-side?


Honey Dijon: Me being me, we couldn’t have a little session without some fashion involved. I’ve always been an artist that has believed art, music, and fashion are one and the same, and they’re all part of the creative process. Jean Paul Gaultier was an early adopter of house music, and he actually made a house record – it’s called “How To Do That”. If you’ve never seen the video, it’s by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. My best friend, Derrick Carter, we used to always geek out when he would play this at a party. When I found this on a 7”, I absolutely had an orgasm and died right in the middle of the store. They had to call everyone to get me off the fucking floor because I was basically dead. 

On the back, it says ‘House Couture’, and if you’ve ever seen Paris is Burning, when Willi Ninja is talking about his earring and he has the receipt, it’s from Junior Gaultier House Couture – it was from this moment. Everything in my life sort of intertwines: art, music, fashion, culture, subculture, voguing, dance – it’s just all part of who I am as an artist.


Honey Dijon: I want to end things on a tribute to my hometown, Chicago. I lived in New York for many years, and then I relocated to Berlin a couple of years ago, but Chicago has always stuck with me, through my sound and how I live my life, and how I have relationships. Chicago is a very working class place, and they don’t like bullshit, so you have to be really true to who you are, really authentic, and really real, and you have to bring your A-game. 

During the whole house music era, the beginning of house music, there were so many DJs, so in order to stand out, you had to dig deep and have your own personality, and have something to say through the music. So many great labels came from Chicago, like Guidance and Casual, Relief, Prescription... So much great music. I think one of the most talented producers in the world is Green Velvet, Cajmere – and this song, from the first moment I heard that on the dance floor to now, is just still... No matter where you are in the world – from festivals, to small clubs – it just tears the roof off the place. (This is) the version that has been sampled to death, and even Kanye West used it in his Sunday Service.

Listen to these selections as a Spotify playlist below: