London-based radio station Reprezent has been supplying the capital with the cutting-edge of underground sounds for a decade. Based out of three shipping containers in Brixton, it is the UK’s biggest youth-led radio station and is known for nurturing some of the country’s finest broadcasting talent.
Razor, Annie, Lash, and Shireen regularly grace the Reprezent’s airwaves (check their showtimes at the end of the page). Like most of the station’s roster, the four DJs are deeply plugged into the country’s music scene and Reprezent is just one of many projects they juggle on a weekly basis. Razor is also an MC and DJ, Annie just launched the podcast Don’t Call Me “Exotic”, Lash runs her own radio station called Ultrabeam, and Shireen is a singer-songwriter and about to launch an EP.
As much as they admit to loving the grind, finding time to step away and gain some headspace is crucial for them. One of the ways they do that is by running.
Given their love of running and incredibly good taste in music, we teamed up with Reprezent and On ahead of the London marathon to discuss motivation, the best London running routes, and their favorite tracks to warm up and cool down to, which we've put together in what we promise will be your new go-to running playlist.
Those in London can also catch Lash, Shireen, Annie, and Razor playing live Thursday, September 30 at Protein Studios on the opening night of On Point2.
What is running for you?
Annie: For me running is a way to switch off. It's a really personal thing where I can zone out and not deal with anything. You really have to focus on your breathing, it's almost a form of meditating in a way. I go in phases where I get really into it and then kind of get a little bit lazy. But over lockdown last year, because I was in a flatshare and everyone was working from home, I was with people all the time so it was a good way to get out of the house and zone out.
Lash: I grew up playing a lot of sports but as I got older, I stopped. I struggle with anxiety and running helps to clear my mind and make me tired enough so I can sleep. I definitely picked it up a bit more during the first lockdown and like Annie, I get lazy sometimes, but it's always something that I always resort to whenever I need to clear my mind.
Shireen: Running is definitely an escape for me. I'm always trying to create and sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming, so it's a good way to let go. When I've got music and I’m running, I just embrace the environment. Take in everything, that's my meditating.
Razor: There's something satisfying about running, especially with the apps where you can track your time and how many miles you’ve run. It's a personal achievement thing and it's quite stress-free. If I want to play football, I have to go and find people. It requires a level of organization and effort. Whereas I can literally wake up on a Saturday and think, you know what? I fancy going for a little run.
Are you good at motivating yourself?
Razor: Absolutely not. I usually bribe myself, so I'll be like, "Go for a run and then you can have Wingstop later." Or, "You had Wingstop yesterday, you have to go for a run." I'm great at making excuses for why I shouldn't run. But then I feel guilty so fast.
As radio DJs, your work and passion for music are so interlinked. What role does that play when it comes to running? Does music still get you pumped?
Shireen: Yeah. A hundred percent.
Annie: I have to listen to songs that I know all the words to because it distracts me from the actual act of running. I'll be rapping or singing while I'm running because sometimes I feel like my chest is going to fall out if I focus on the running.
Razor: Sometimes I'm running and I'm really out of breath, but then I'm like, wait, hold on, stop trying to wrap along with Kendrick, and you'll be able to breathe more, you know what I mean?
What are your go-to tracks to run to?
Lash: Kanye and Jay-Z's Watch the Throne album, the song "Liftoff" with Beyoncé. The drum pans are mad. It just does a lot for me, it makes me want to lift up my hands when I run. And Little Simz's "Offence" from GREY Area is a good one to run to.
Annie: I listen to a lot of new music when I run. I usually run for 40 minutes, which is usually the length of an album. So that's when I check out new projects because I can really listen to them.
Razor: Grime is my thing — it's that 140/145 BPM. It's up-tempo, quite aggressive, and energetic, so it's good for running.
Do you ever listen to your own sets or demos while you run to trial them?
Razor: Running to sets is the best thing. Sometimes I pester my mates to send me the MP3s of their sets. Sets are unexpected and give different bits of energy. I also like when there’s an MC performing — it makes it like a performance as opposed to a recording. That hypes me up, I just love that energy.
Annie: My friend who I do one of the shows with on Reprezent always tells me that I run and then I drop him voice notes because I get ideas for the show. He tells me, "Go for a run, we need more ideas."
Shireen: Yeah. I've been in the studio a lot recently working on my EP. Usually, when I finish, I play the song straight away in the car, but it’s good to give myself a bit of a break. The other day I went for a walk and I just played all my demos just to get a feel of it.
Where do you like to run?
Annie: I used to live in Hackney. Hackney's really actually good for running, there are a lot of parks. I would run through Hackney Downs or Clissold Park, but I've just moved to Walthamstow and I haven't found my route yet.
Lash: I live in Mitcham and behind my house, there's the big Mitcham common. There are lots of lakes and really beautiful places, so I usually run in the common, only if it's not too dark though, because I'm definitely a chicken.
Shireen: I live in North London, in Alexandra Palace, where you can see the whole of London. I really love the back of that. If I walk for two minutes, there's a massive field and a hill where you can see the whole of London. I run all the way up there and then back. It's an incline, even walking there is a workout.
Razor: That hill is scarier than running through Mitcham at night. I grew up in Hackney, two minutes away from the canal. So I used to along the canal quite a lot. I have fallen into the canal whilst running. I wasn't really paying attention, I was listening to Jay-Z I think, I tried to sidestep a buggy and ended up in the canal.
What was your experience running in On sneakers?
Lash: They are comfortable as hell. They are so good. I've definitely kicked my Free Runs to the curb.
Razor: I'm interested in trainers from a fashion perspective, so I recognized the brand, but I had no expectations but the trainers are so comfy. As a DJ and an MC, I’ll often be on my feet for eight, even 10 hours. This is the old man in me talking now, but I didn't realize how important comfortable shoes were until not too long ago. I thought my running shoes were comfy, but then I got these ones. The bar’s been pushed out on my idea of comfort.
Annie: I always think the first shoes are really comfortable, but then you wear really comfortable running shoes and you're like, these are fucking trash. Why am I wearing these all the time?
Shireen: I went from wearing the On running shoes all day to Jordan 1s, and I was like, "nah man, this flat shoe thing, I can’t." They're really comfy.
Tune in to Reprezent 107.3 FM:
Shireen — Shireen Valentina every other Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. GMT
Annie — Every other Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. GMT and Family Business every other Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. GMT
Lash — Ultrabeam with Lash every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. GMT
Razor — Razor on Reprezent every other Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. GMT