As the weather warms up so does the party scene in Los Angeles. There are certain elements that make or break any event and one of the most important is the DJ. Notoriously the circuit has been commanded by men but there are certainly women making waves as well. These dynamic damsels have created a following and reputation for rocking the house and they look damn good doing it. In the name of Summer fun we are saluting a handful of conductors for turning things up and curating the finest selection of jams across all genres to accommodate our musical escape.
I walk into the party and I see a few familiar faces, and a few that I’d like to make familiar. It is 2010 and I am just getting to know what will soon become one of my favorite Summer destinations, The Do Over. Behind a set of tables I see a gyrating body dawning a white t-shirt that boldly reads SCHOOL SUCKS. Valida Carroll is conducting a symphony or rhythm. At the moment she catches my eye it seems she is throwing her own party and at the same time creating one for everyone else. Fast forward one year and yet again I find myself in the midst of a slamming summer bash, Summertramp. This time there are so many people going ballistic on the dance floor I take the time to investigate who is running the set out of sheer curiosity.
I realize that if I am going to end up at any of the best places to be this season I am sure to run into her again in 2012. DJ V. is going be returning to Summertramp again this year and will also be spinning at the first ever Downtown LA Prom hosted by LA Canvas Magazine in addition to maintaining her KCRW “Dessert Nights” residency at the Standard Hollywood on wednesday nights. Valida has come a long way from her home of Bosnia, her presence at an event has become a sure fire for a great time and having just released her first single “Mine To Take” things are surely heating up. She was kind enough spare a few moments to talk about summer, the single, and a little bit about her style. Take a look at the video and learn more about the person behind it, you’ll surely be glad you did.
Citizens Of Culture: First things first, Summer is right around the corner and you are known for being an eclectic DJ.
What is one song that you feel reminds you of summer of totally embodies the spirit of the California summer experience?
Valida:There are many songs I could pick…but probably, right now it would have to be a tie-in between Allah-Las “A Long Journey” and Best Coast’s “The Only Place”….
If we were going for a more classic number, then Marlena Shaw’s “California Soul” would have to be it!
COC:Its also no secret that you are a total babe with a great look, what is one item that you consider to be a summer style essential?
V:Thanks! ( she blushes) I would have to say I can’t wait to rock some short summer dresses with boots!
COC:And when its time to hit the water, would you prefer to hang at the beach or poolside on a sunny day?
V:The Ocean…However, infinity pools are a close second.
COC:Besides your residency at the Standard what other spots will folks be able to catch you this year?
V:Besides Summertramp and DTLA Prom coming up in May and June, you can catch me each first Thursday at The DelMonte Speakeasy in Venice for a new night of live music and DJ sets called Hot Sand, which I am co-hosting with an awesome DJ partner: Heidi. Also, I’ll be at a variety of KCRW-presents shows as well. For instance, I’m really looking forward to KCRW Summer Nights at One Colorado in Pasadena on June 9th. I get to introduce Bahamas and DJ before and after his performance! Also, the Hammer Museum series in August will be great as will be the Animal Collective/Flying Lotus show at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept 23rd, which I’m introducing.
COC:So for the DTLA prom, how did that come about?
V: I have worked with one of the producers of the show, Edgar Varela, in the past. He reached out to me about playing and I happily agreed.
COC:When you lived in Bosnia, did they have proms there? Did you go?
V:Bosnian proms are slowly beginning to look like American proms, but you NEVER really have that classic American dance prom anywhere outside the US…I always wanted one growing up and of course it didn’t happen…so I get to have one now and I’m pretty stoked. Hope I have a cute date.
COC:We LOVE Summertramp too, it seems like you have a few different venues in short period.
Do you change the way your approach each one musically? What is in your playbook?
V:Summertramp is the ultimate fun pool party…The motto is just to have a great time playing happy dance music…
And yes, I tailor my sets according to where I’m playing, for whom, and when…It’s important to be respectful of other DJs and if you are playing the opening slot at any party, not to “seek and destroy” in the first hour…Any night needs to build…Also, my DJ sets at Desert Nights (the weekly live music series I produce at the Standard Hollywood) or my KCRW shows are markedly different from a set I would play at a dance party…It’s important to know who your audience is.
COC:So now, not only are you a DJ but a music artist as well. Is this a newer development or is this something you have wanted to do for a long time?
V:I have been singing my whole life. I have lent my vocals on a number of songs that have been releases on various labels…All of 2011 was about learning Logic software so I can be self-sufficient and work on my own time. I’m just getting back into it now that I am inspired again…and now that I have more time to devote to it. Luckily I’m no longer at a point where I need to play 4-5 nights per week just to pay bills. I think I have paid my dues in that respect and now can afford to spend more time in the studio.
COC:The single “Mine To Take” isn’t a dance as one might expect from being familiar with your live DJ sets, what led you to lead with this song over others, or something up tempo?
What is special about this to you?
V:Haha…No, it’s definitely not a dance number, although I might drop it at the prom as a closing number…hmmm… It’s just what I was going through when I wrote it back in December…I didn’t hold back and that’s what came out.
COC:Tell us about the creative team behind the project, were you working with writers and producers or doing more of the writing on your own?
V:I wrote, produced and engineered the song….The mix was done by Josh Marcy at Mophonics studio and it was mastered by Kelly Hibbert. A special spark that ignited the making of it was my friend a fellow artist Justine Bennett http://www.facebook.com/pages/Justine-Bennett/38513621193 She basically told me I could do it and sat with me until I wrote something I was happy with. I am forever grateful for her nurturing spirit.
You can’t think of a party without great tunes and you can bet on DJ Valida to provide not only choice jams but her own special energy and smile to spark the fun. Check out Valida’s site for all her information and be sure to track her down if you are looking for a great time this Summer in Los Angeles and elsewhere. She is one of the true currators of the culture and we’ll definitely be keeping in touch as DJ Valida continues to become synonymous with great music.