Interview with Iraina Mancini DJ, Model, Singer & Songwriter
March 25th 2018
Photographs and film by Georgie Weedon
Multi- talented British singer, songwriter, model, DJ and radio host… Iraina Mancini grew up in a musical family where her father, Warren Peace, famously performed and wrote with David Bowie. Influenced by 1960s French cinema and Serge Gainsbourg, Iraina is recording her first solo E.P, Shotgun. Not only does she sing and host her own show on Soho Radio, but she is part of the dreamy lady-duo, The Smoking Guns, playing all over the world from music festivals to fashion and film events.
Iraina wearing Red shell pyjamas
How did you come into doing what you are doing?
I have always had a passion for music, I grew up in a very musical family so it was a part of my daily life listening to old records and going along to the studio with my dad. I naturally started writing my own songs and learnt to play the piano. I also used to record songs from the radio onto tapes and record over the speaking parts with my own chat..Early training for my adult life!
Can you describe a beautiful moment that has happened to you?
My dad sung backing vocals and wrote with David Bowie from Aladdin Sane through to Station to Station. Last year he and I were asked to sing guest vocals on Golden Years the record he was originally on with Earl Slick at the Islington Academy ..That was a bit of a moment for me.
Iraina wearing the Coral Kimono
How have you seen the music industry evolve since you started out, and where do you see it going?
The music industry has changed so much, I can barely keep up! Its amazing how easily you can push your art out into the world with Spotify, Youtube and all the social media platforms available anyone in the world can listen to your music .. Gone is the time of ‘waiting’ for a record deal, you can have complete control of what you put out. You can make music videos on iPhones, film live sets and stream online and interact instantly with your fans. Its a lot more work but ultimately more satisfying and authentic.
Which three records are you unable to live without?
That is such a difficult question! But if I had to pick 3 records that I never get bored of they would be.
- Barrett Strong – Money (thats what I want)
- Space Oddity – David Bowie
- Bonnie and Clyde – Serge Gainsboug
What do you consider to be music’s golden age?
Im totally stuck in the past. For me the golden age was late sixties early seventies.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
At the moment i am really influenced by 60s/70s Cinema, French Yeye Girls and Psychedelia. Like most musicians i’m obsessed with Serge Gainsbourg’s Melody Nelson. The music I DJ influences me massively 60s Rhythm and Blues and Northern Soul, I wanted to write music I could incorporate into my DJ sets.
And your greatest style icons?
Bridgette Bardot , Jane Birkin and Anita Pallenberg have always been favourites of mine. I love the sex kitten look..Big hair and big lashes. I go through different phases with fashion, at the moment I’m wearing a lot of 70s stuff, tailored flares, loose shirts, vintage suits and platforms.
Favourite place you have DJ’d at?
I love DJing music festivals the energy is so unique, everyone is there with exactly the same mission.. to have as much fun as possible and escape their daily lives. Also, visually festivals always look like a fantasy world, especially Glastonbury.. when its not raining! My favourite place to DJ is actually a really small festival called Red Rooster, its in the most beautiful setting and has the best music. Im djing there this summer, Im really looking forward to it.
With such a busy lifestyle what would you consider your best sleep tip?
As I tend to have a lot of late nights because of my job so I need to make sure I get a full 7/8 hours otherwise by about 9pm I’m knackered. If I’m travelling I like to go an extra day before work so I can sleep some of the jet lag off before the gig.
What was the first thing you did when you woke up as a child on a Sunday?
As a child I was always dancing or singing around the house, putting on shows for my mum and dad. My mum always says I was quite the show off..I guess not much has changed!