Despite being a relatively new artist, Toronto born DJ and producer nej!las has quickly gathered a following like no other, thanks to her dark, evocative sound. We caught up with the Techno Queen to get a glimpse into her life as an in-demand DJ.
Hey! So lets start simple, when did you start DJing and what attracted you to it?
I started DJing about a year after producing. All of the artists I looked up to have the brilliant ability to both make original productions and have a great eye towards DJing. DJing is a field that is attractive because you can look at two different DJs, who play similar songs, but their styles are completely different, and the mixes end up being completely original. It’s the ability to have creative expression in any mix that makes DJing an exciting venture.
What is it your number one reason you enjoy DJing?
I enjoy the originality of it – particularly in mashups. DJing can actually be a reflection on the DJs own personal tastes – what the DJ believes are the best parts of the song and how the DJ highlights those parts can be a reflection on how the DJ thinks. It’s an insight into the DJ’s mind. It can be a challenge to try and take a song that everyone has heard and make it original by integrating other songs and mashups, or even playing the song out of order, or adding filters, in order to make it something new, original and creative. This challenge is the reason why I love DJing.
Do you have a number one gig you have played?
My favorite gig is a personal one. It was an intimate gig for about 40-50 people, by it was where my friends and family also were in attendance.
What made it the best?
The intimacy – I could feed off of the audiences’ energy and they could be up close and personal to my live production. It really was a symbiotic relationship between the crowd and me.
What is your most common genre you mix, or do you enjoy switching them up?
I love to switch it up. I strive to have in every mix a mixture of unreleased tracks, tracks that were just released, and tracks from the past that are a couple years old. I generally mix techno with electro and electro house. I think the more genres combined in a mix the better – it adds variety and is much more engaging to the audience. It’s also super cool creating mixes of different genres knowing that the end result is a single, cohesive, mix. It shows that genre categories/labels can be arbitrary at times.
Do you often showcase your new songs in your mixes?
Of course. There is no better feeling than playing a song you just finished in the studio for a crowd and feeding off of their reaction. Especially exclusive, unreleased tracks – it adds to the intimacy of the show and makes every show or gig original.
What is your favourite venue and why?
Soundbar in Chicago. It’s actually quiet an intimate venue, the performer can literally watch every person who attends a show. Yet Soundbar has always strove to bring in major acts. It’s phenomenal to be able to have such an intimate venue where the audience can watch their idols perform close by, it’s very inspiring. I’ve made some great memories there.
Finally, do you have a favourite mix online we can listen to?
I was honored to be the guest for Something Global Radio episode #433; which aired 6 July 2018. It was actually picked up by IHouseU here.