PUMP UP THE VOLUME
By Setor Attipoe
Lipstick. Check! Patent leather pumps. Check! Flat iron. Check! Turntables. . . uh wait a minute.
Few can deny the sudden influx of women invading the DJ booths of hotspots all over the country. Female DJs are almost always spunky eye candy, if not former models, who are threatening the jobs of their testosterone-filled competition everywhere. And it’s easy to see the draw. Having the power to make an entire crowd move (while working in a glam club) while droves of guys go gaga over you certainly looks like fun.
But alas, there is always a prickly side. Some people think female DJs get by because of their looks, charm and uh. . . assets. So it’s fair to say that women pursuing careers as DJs do have some barriers to break through and prejudices to overcome.
But DJ Mirandom (AKA Miranda Maxwell) is one brave femme who is determined to pump up the volume from coast to coast.
Mirandom’s Mother was a vinyl spinning Dj in the 70s so it’s no wonder why Mirandom chose to go down the same path. After collecting records as a kid one of Mirandom’s friends pushed her to take some spinning gigs and soon she was making more behind the turntables then at her regular job.
To add to her skill set she enrolled in Scratch DJ Academy eight years ago and before she was even finished her course, she was asked to take a position as an instructor at Scratch.
Now the newly L.A. based DJ/Model/ from New York has done residencies at Underbar, Whiskey Blue, Bengal’s fashion shows and Whiskey Park and currently rotates at Rolling Stone restaurant in Hollywood and the Knitting Factory in the Valley of L.A. (when she’s not modeling T shirts for the “Eight Arms and Black Mist” t shirt line).
So come in, stay a little while and explore DJ Mirandom’s fun (and sometimes random) world.
How do you feel when someone asks you to play a specific song while you’re working?
A. Normally requests are a pain. Sometimes you get a request and it doesn’t make sense – it’s not the type of crowd. .. But if they ask in a nice way and the song makes sense given the venue. . I don’t mind.
“If they say something that’s completely left field “I just put my headphones on.”
What is your Favorite Music Genre?
A. Funk & Soul. Marvin Gaye & Prince are my favorite artists.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A. Surprise me.
What challenges come with being a female DJ in the industry?
A. There are definitely challenges . . . as a female a lot of people assume that you just got hired because you’re a girl. People test you all the time. . People throw a lot of tests at me to see if I really know the equipment.
How does a DJ go from small local gigs to high paying residencies?
A. Build a celebrity name for yourself along with a following. You need to be able to draw a crowd. And a lot of Djs don’t really make a name for themselves until they’re able to book national and international gigs.
Do you have a manager?
A. I had a manager but soon realized that I could do what they were doing for me without having to pay them a %. It needs to be the right manager in the future.
How is LA different than working in NYC?
A. It’s another world. . It’s all about who you know out here. It’s about finding the right people and getting connecting. There is a lot of talk. . . It’s all about talking the game and meeting and knowing the right people. In NY I feel like it’s more organic. And the Hollywood scene is pretty much top 40. Downtown has a pretty cool scene but overall I feel like NYC is more creative.
How do crowds react to you as a female djing?
A. I’ve had people come up to the DJ booth and not believe that I’m mixing live and put their hands on the needle to see if I was actually spinning. . .
“I know that they would never do that to a guy. . . It’s annoying!”
What’s your dream gig?
A. A European DJ tour. And Amsterdam is one of my dream work Destinations. I have a lot of family in Europe.
How does Djing (the hectic schedule) affect your personal life?
A. I have a lot of close friends and I value that more. Moving to L.A. gave me a good perspective of who my friends are and who is just on the scene.
Any advice for young women who want to be Djs?
A. Really know the music that you enjoy inside and out. . Know how it starts. . . Know the tempo. . I think it’s important for Djs to really enjoy the music that they play. And get your technical skills down as much as you can. . Stay focused with the technical part.
What To Watch For: Mirandom’s “Chicks and Kicks” Painting Exhibit that celebrates women and the sneaker culture. Debuts August 2011.