Because of my 2 year stint of living in Los Angeles, Short Shorts and I have several mutual friends. I believe we only met a couple of times in L.A. but we’ve always kept in touch and supported each other. I admire her very much for her staying power, and how savvy and nonchalant she is about her career. I am a general fan of her DJing (she still spins vinyl) and she’s an all around wise, and amazing professional (whether she considers herself a professional is another story!) Her connections with L.A. RECORD, Little Radio, and her residency at the Standard Hotel have made her a respected staple in Los Angeles. Let’s learn about what she has to say about her career!
(This is part one of a back to back female DJ Q&A series. Check back next week for an interview with Boston’s DJ Asia Lakay!)
What’s it like to be a DJ in Los Angeles, CA?
The same as everywhere else, except attendance drops dramatically when it rains.
How did you get your start?
A friend of mine (and a very good DJ in her own right when there weren’t that many women doing it) Tami Reingewirtz taught me the basics. I worked for free for 3 years and simultaneously became better and worse at DJing, which brings me to who I am today. I also produced an online show at littleradio.com for 5 years.
Is LA a difficult city to get gigs in?
I’ve never had a problem. Right now I’m doing a Saturday night at Footsie’s, ‘TOTAL WRECK’ with Chris Ziegler (L.A. RECORD) + Monday
night at the Standard downtown.
Do you feel like you have to compete with a lot of different DJs?
Not at all! Let it be known that I’m one of those rock-n-roll-record-nerd people. There aren’t that many people that do what I do comparatively and even less if you break it down into all the music specific micro-scenes. Los Angeles is a huge city. If anything we just generate more guest DJ gigs for each other.
What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Are you able to make a living from DJing?
I can get by with just DJ gigs, but like most artistic endeavors and labors of love it is advisable to have a side job. If you mix top 40 or club friendly music the gigs will be more lucrative an forthcoming. A notable exception is Mancini 500, who incorporates flawless musical selections into his remixes and live sets.
If you could travel and play shows in any city, which city would it be?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel and DJ in many places around the world, but I’ve been hearing great things about Mexico City.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
I hate to say it, but worse than inane requests, unethical promoters, hangovers and scratched records are the dudes that continue ask, “Are those YOUR records?”.
Do you consider yourself a producer, artist or a musician?
If you had any advice for young people just learning to DJ, what would it be?
Learn as much as you can about gear and how it’s set up in a variety of different settings, then develop heuristic shortcuts. The gear in clubs are heavily used, under maintained and occasionally broken so be prepared. If you play vinyl, remember to bring your own 45 adapters. Lastly but most importantly, louder is not always better. Keep that gain down!