VIPER’s founder Lily Mercer spoke to South London DJ and presenter, Snoochie Shy on the set of the JD King of the Game Christmas campaign. We’ve got interviews with the stars of the advert dropping on site every day until Christmas, stay tuned for chats with Jasmine Jobson, Fumez and more…
What career do you think you would have ended up in, had you not followed the path you chose?
I would have tried to be a dancer because I used to do street dance all the time. I mean, I attempted street dance. So I would have been trying to be a body popper like ‘You Got Served’ or ‘Stomp the Yard’; I would‘ve wanted to do something like that. I used to want to be a forensic [scientist] as well. I feel like everyone went through that phase but I wanted to go to uni and study forensics. That wouldn’t have worked out for me because I was bad at science; I was alright at Biology but not Physics. Now I just watch forensic shows on Netflix and that’s how I get it out.
Tell us what’s coming up with your TV presenting career?
I’ve got a new show coming out on BBC Three called Hire Me – The search for a dream job. Those days were really long; it was going in to get makeup at six am and finishing about eight or nine pm. I’d have radio after so I’d get a 20 minute nap and then finish at 1am, then back the next day; we survived on coffees. – out now on iplayer!
You took a step back from DJing to focus on presenting, are you getting back into DJing after playing main stage at Wireless?
I do radio four nights a week [but] I think the DJ things stopped because I was getting mad anxiety. A lot of the times I was like, “You know what, this is not worth it now. Let me just stop.” I’ve started DJing again and I’m really enjoying it but every time I DJ, beforehand I’m still like, “no one talk to me!” Everyone thinks I’m rude but I’m trying to meditate without saying anything. I’ve always wanted to do TV work, so it’s been a natural progression and there’s only so many hours in the day.
How was your Wireless set?
I really pushed myself to do Wireless because I found out in February and I was like, “I’m gonna do it.” Then the first day I did the main stage, I was on stage [and] all my friends were just trying to chat to me, I was just like, “No, I don’t wanna speak.” The security guards are trying to talk to me and I’m like, “No, sorry I can’t speak.” Just in my own bubble and even when I came up to the decks, Jay Knox was DJing before me and asked me, do I want to go on the mic? I was like, “no, no, I don’t want to get on the mic. I’ll just change the song or whatever.” As soon as I got into it and saw how the crowd was, it made me really enjoy it. The next day I came out twerking on stage, I was literally upside down. I feel like I found a newfound love for it again; it’s just getting over those initial nerves.
How important is it for you to curate the playlists and not be told what to play?
That’s a good thing about 1xtra, they’ve allowed me the opportunity to have 100% complete control over what I play. I love that, I started the residency in 2018, but my own show, it’s been nearly four years.
What’s been your favourite moment?
When we were nominated for an ARIA award, I feel like the ARIA is the Oscars of radio. We came second but we came behind Scott Mills. Scott Mills has been on radio for however long, to have that kind of recognition was really good. Also, the way that listeners are and how they start interacting with the show, we start at 11pm so everyone should be asleep on the text line, but it goes off. Listeners will message me and say that I’ve helped them get through a situation.
Rap is always considered a very masculine area so to have a woman hosting the show is so important.
100%, I love being a woman working in rap music as well. When I first started, I remember doing YouTube interviews and the top comments were, “bet she shagged him to get this interview.” No, I can be a woman playing rap music and interviewing rappers, it doesn’t mean I’ve shagged them. Also, when I was doing interviews on Zoom in lockdown, we’re in lockdown, so it’s just not going to happen unless it’s 3D and comes out of the USB port. A lot has changed but there’s still a long way to go and more work to be done. Women can do what they want anyway, work hard and be at the forefront of rap music, why not?
In the position that you’re in, do you ever feel pressure with what you curate?
I don’t really think about it too much, I just send over the playlist. Every day, I’ll send over a playlist and I’ll say, “This is what I want to play.” We get sent a lot of music, my email inbox is full of music but if I don’t like it that much, I won’t play it. I don’t think I’ve ever played a song that I don’t like and if I have played one by accident, I’ll turn it off halfway. I’m sorry, I will turn it off. That’s what the show has been built on, having my own say on what I want to play. So I don’t feel pressure in that way.
What experience in life really taught you about yourself?
I would say going into the castle, for Get Me Out Of Here. That taught me a hell of a lot about myself, one day is like a month in there; it’s just ridiculous. Also, I was surrounded by people that I’ve grown up watching like Ian Beale and Simon from Corrie, Frankie Bridge who was in S Club Juniors, Dame Arlene Phillips and I’m like, “why am I actually here?” But while you’re there, you learn so much about yourself, because you’re starving and there’s no makeup, everything’s taken away from you. I learnt to love myself and appreciate myself for who I am, to also not worry about what other people think. Because when I first went in I was like, “Oh, my God, my birthmark!” But as soon as I came out, I didn’t even care anymore. I’d definitely say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
You said it was like therapy right?
Yeah, it’s like therapy and rehab at the same time, because obviously there’s no drinks there. You know, me, I love a drink as well. But it’s like therapy, because you’re just there with yourself and you’re with people. Sometimes you might go upstairs to the higher bit and be on your own, you’ll be thinking about things and missing your family. I can’t call up my friends, so it definitely is like therapy as well.
How did you feel when they asked you to come on the show?
When I first found out, I called up my mum and I was screaming “Oh my God” because I’ve always wanted to go on the show and I’ve always watched it growing up. I think there was an apprehensionat one point before we had a Zoom meeting. I called up my agent like, “I don’t know if I should go on it,” but that was because – which sounds so stupid now – of not having make-up. That was one of the main things for me and also the fact that there’s cameras 24/7, I thought I might pick my nose and eat it or something, not that I eat my bogies. But you never know what could happen in there, because you’re starving. I was just thinking about things like that but I’m definitely glad that I did it. I think it’s natural for them things to come into your mind, especially for a show like that.
You became the Hoodrich womenswear ambassador this year.
Yeah, I did my first campaign and now we’re on the second campaign; we’re doing the TV ad today, it just makes sense. I love tracksuits and I love everything that the brand stands for. Also the slogan is “from nothing to something” and that’s something that resonates with me because we all started from somewhere. Now we’re trying to get somewhere and work hard and on top of that, I love everyone from Hoodrich. I went out with them to Ibiza, I feel like they’re all my mates now.
How’s it feel being in this year’s JD Christmas ad?
JD’s Christmas advert is such a big deal, they’re amazing. Every time I’ve seen them, I’m like ‘sick, I want to be in it’! So when I got the message about being in it, I was like 100%. Even looking at the sheet and seeing how many people are gonna be in it! It’s such a great thing, I’m literally honoured to be in it; I’m very excited and the venue is sick.
Are you a competitive person?
I do think I’m a competitive person, especially when it comes to games nights. On my show, I play a load of games and I end up getting really, really competitive when I go head to head with the artists. I don’t realise it until I watch the video back and I’m like, “why am I screaming? What is actually going on? It’s not that deep.” So 100% I’m competitive, I just want to win, even when we’re playing Shot or Not, I’m like I need to get this question right; I get really into it.
Any games that you can’t play anymore cause the loss was way too painful?
A game that I’m banned from playing would probably be my own game, which would be Shot or Not. Because I generally think I’m the reigning champion of Shot or Not and now I’ve played it so many times, I can train my brain to say like five different answers in five seconds now. Then I end up not getting lit and everyone else is drunk and I’m sober because I get all the questions right. Twister -don’t even come to me because I’ll be wrapping my body like a yoga person. It will be going off, I’m long as well so I really take Twister seriously.
What’s your favourite piece of streetwear?
First of all I was emo so it used to be the boot cutswith the heavy chains and stuff. My mum got me into that because I looked back at some pictures and I’m like, those were really flaring. I’ve always been into tracksuits, it started off with vintage shell suit tracksuits which I love. I’ve still got loads at home but I don’t fit into them anymore. My mum used to have loads of tracksuits from back in the day in the attic, so those are the first ones I started wearing. Then it got to a point where she was like, “you can’t wear these anymore because you’re ruining them.” I would say my mum got me into a lot of streetwear and watching Channel U back in the day. I wasn’t a trainer person, I’ve only just started getting into trainers in the past five years because before, my trainer game was not there. I would have been wearing creased up Air Force ones, muddy for like 20 years.
What is the worst gift you ever got someone?
The standard Lynx Africa, I got that for my dad, which actually is quite deep. I was just like, “yeah why not?” I still think it’s a good stocking filler but that was the main gift so whether he was happy with that, I don’t know. But it’s not the worst present I’ve received, I got my ex boyfriend Dr. Martens and he got me a two-for-one offer of custard creams. That’s what I got for Christmas after I got him Dr. Martens and a hat as well. He’s long gone, bye Leon. I’m lactose intolerant as well.
If you could have one thing from JD sports under the tree, what would it be?
I’m gonna say the black Hoodrich tracksuit I’m wearing now, I love wearing black. I love wearing colours, but I would say this tracksuit here just goes with everything. I am waiting for them to bring out some bikinis…I know it’s Christmas time right now but let’s get the bikinis going. Ready for summer, shake that ass.
If you were a trainer, which one would you be?
I’m gonna go for Vans, the high Vans with the checkers on it… no, I’m switching it up, the high ones with the fire on it. I’m watching Game of Thrones again and there’s dragons in there, it’s giving me that vibe.
Any personal fashion disasters?
When I dressed up in a bin bag because I was inspired by Jeremy Scott’s collection for Moschino and I thought, I’m gonna make an outfit out of a bin bag. So I made a dress out of a bin bag and I made a coat out of another bin bag and I took pictures in my garden next to my cat Shadow, who’s actually dead now; rest in peace. My next one would be when I went through a pink phase, which was cool, but there was one look where everything was pink; pink jacket, cardigan, T-shirt, trousers, socks, Dr. Martens, pink hair, cat sunglasses. I went outside ASDA’s bin because it was pink and I took my pictures there. That was quite weird, I was holding the trolley as well; I don’t know what the vibe was.
If you’re looking to impress on a first date and you’re wearing Hoodrich, what is the look?
If I’m going on a date, we’re gonna go body-con because they’ve got a body-con one-piece with orange mesh. So I can let my date know I’m not wearing any knickers and I’m not wearing a bra and if I like you, it could be your time. It’s orange, so you might as well fling on the Vans with the fire sign and that’s going to mix in with it. We’d have to be going for a casual date day but if we’re going somewhere nice for a sit down dinner, then we’d have to fling on a heel, get the toes out.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’d say getting into TV work, because that’s something that I’ve wanted for a really, really long time; I’ve worked hard for that. So at this moment in time, it would be having my own TV show – Hire Me: Search For A Dream Job.
Any games that you can’t play anymore cause the loss was way too painful?
I actually have a PlayStation 2 just for this game, it would be Dance Mat. If we’re talking about games, no one wants to step to me on the Dance Mat because I will shut it down. They’re lucky that they don’t have a Dance Mat today. I’d love to take the Dance Mat home with me, that’d be great because I’ve still got the thing that connects into the PlayStation. There’s a lot of ways that people do it, I like to add in a jump with it because then I feel like it’s giving a little more crunk. So a jump with a bit of movement at the top. If you want to worm, you can worm. If you want to robot, you can robot. Then you can also buss a whine with it as well.
If there was an artist that’s been on your show, who you could definitely beat on the dance Mat, who would it be?
Headie One. 100%, because the way he talks is very slow so I need to see what energy he’d bring on the Dance Mat. I think I could get him on a Dance Mat, I actually spoke before about bringing a Dance Mat for a feature on the show. I would like to see some rappers take me on, I’d be very much here for this. Why not, just get all the guys on the Dance Mat, it would be lit!
So if it was all of OFB, who do you think you would struggle to beat on the Dance Mat?
RV, he made a track called ‘Moonwalk Slide’, maybe he could give me a run for my money. I’ve seen him do a little body-pop before so it could potentially be RV. He might take my throne, I don’t think you can moonwalk on the Dance Mat, though. So actually write him off, he’s done.
Who’s been your favourite guest on the show?
I’d say M Huncho because he was cussing vegans on there, not that vegans should be cussed, but there was just a lot of conversation. I used to be vegan as well and he was just like, “What is the point of KFC being vegan? And cauliflower wings?” We were having an argument about cauliflower wings, which actually bang. You can make them into chicken wings and there’s an argument about that, so M Huncho. I’d probably also say Squeaks because he left drunk as hell. He was like, “I’m going training next day” and I’m pretty sure he pretended that he went to the gym because there’s no way he made it.
Interview by Lily Mercer