Sex : Female Zodiac : Pisces Country : USA City : Jersey City
Type : Exclusive mix Genre : Moody, Groovy Music
Hardware : Technics 1200, Rane Empath Rotary, Pioneer CDJ 350, synths, Korg
Software : Propellerhead Reason, Logic, soft synths and effects
Smelly Feet Records: According to your personal biography. You are a “yogini, an astrologer, an empath, a DJ, a music producer and all-around curious soul.” For the sake of this interview, could you tell us how all of these passions of yours come together to help define the sound that is Dakini9.
Dakini9: I’m rather introverted, and also very somatic, and since DJing and making music are physical in nature, meaning, you must use your body in the creation of these art forms, everything in life that I have ever experienced is in my cellular tissue in one way or another, and that comes out in my DJing, my music production, my approach to selecting music, the way I program it, etc. I sometimes wish I had greater separation between me the person I live with everyday and myself as an artist, but they are basically the same person, so my everyday life is the raw material for my creative expression.
Smelly Feet Records: How does your continuous development and personal experience shape your career as an artist?
Dakini9: Again, they are one and the same. The process of making music and presenting it publicly is a process of vulnerability, so there is a continuous feedback loop between public and private life.
"...my everyday life is the raw material for my creative expression."
SFR: Is there any advice you can give to aspiring artists in achieving their goals?
Dakini9: Be clear about what you want to achieve, or what your motivation or intention is. Having a clear idea of who you are and what you want to say will help keep you centered whether your sound is in favor or out of favor. Know yourself, your history, and honor that. Stay focused and keep on pushing. Staying in the game is half the battle because there are a 1001 things that can take you out of the game. Don’t get too hung up on the blogs and websites and the chatter online. Stay true to yourself whether what you have to offer is hot or not. I read a book recently on mastery. Masters learn to love the plateau because whenever you pursue something for a long time, there will always be periods where we feel we aren’t growing or going anywhere. As we learn more and become more adept, the plateau takes up more of our time so just ride out those periods because there will be another period of growth once you’ve had enough time absorbing the lessons of the plateau.
SFR: Tell us about some of your earliest projects and where / when they developed. What have you learned from the past that has helped you move forward today?
Dakini9: I stepped into the arena as a DJ and promoter in NYC with my party “Deep See,” an event I started with E-Man Clark, which lasted for almost 10 years and during most of those years, was a weekly event. “Deep See” is where I learned to DJ, on a rotary mixer, with vinyl, to an audience of very particular, opinionated, and passionate house dancers. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything because it taught me what it really is to be a DJ. The culture that drew me into house music in the first place flourished at Deep See. Although we were small, we felt mighty. Kind of a David and Goliath story in a way, because we kept moving locations when we got on the nerve of management at our previous location. We were determined to keep it going and kept on pushing until the late 2000s, when the nightlife scene moved to Brooklyn and to raw spaces, lofts, and warehouses. We had our place in time and I am very grateful for all of it, the friendships I made, the things I learned, and most of all for being part of NYC’s house sub-culture. In the early 2000s, I was also involved with Stimulus Response. That crew was born from a few early events at small lounge/dance spots in the East Village, and thanks to the perseverance of promoter Gabe “Silverbull” Mayorga, we held a residency in NYC’s Pacha for about 3 years. The DJs were me, Sean Cormac, John Cacciatore, and Keith Blackstone. At Pacha I learned to play to a diverse crowd that wasn’t just into an underground sound, so I learned how to stretch my aesthetic, or cast a wider net.
I also have fond memories of playing clubs in Brooklyn like The Duplexx and Frank’s Lounge where if you didn’t do your job, the crowd would let you know by facial expression. This was before cell phones predominated in clubs, so everyone was there to dance and hang out. These are the days when I had 3 or more gigs a week in NYC. I learned a lot playing out frequently and honed a particular style of play that I think represents NYC: a journey style that has lots of texture, not linear, and accentuating certain frequencies of the record, which some people say is cheesy, but I love it, in moderation. Don’t put me in front of a crossover, I love those things.
I started working on Plan B Recordings in 2008 and Sound Warrior Recordings in 2013. Sublevel Sounds is a sub-label of Plan B Recordings. I started releasing music under the moniker Dakini9 in 2010.
"I learned a lot playing out frequently and honed a particular style of play that I think represents NYC: a journey style that has lots of texture..."
SFR: The label you currently run, Plan B, is very successful. What are some of the fondest memories you have had on the journey thus far?
Dakini9: For the first few years, people didn’t really understand where Spider & I were going with it. It was too weird. It’s still weird, but now the sound we are pushing, an industrial-leaning, experimental, DIY approach to house and techno, is more in favor. Some of my fondest memories so far are seeing the growth of the label, seeing the sound we are nurturing be embraced by others, and learning to run a business. The creative process of A&R, label design, working with partners like our mastering engineer Dietrich Schoenemann and all the steps that go into running an independent label are very fulfilling to me. I also run Sound Warrior Recordings with Jenifa Mayanja and I love the A&R process, working with artists, and packaging a concept into something that you can actually hold in your hands. I’ve been able to tour based on my involvement with the labels and my productions. I’ve played Panorama Bar twice, played in many European cities, in Tel Aviv, and I know this is due to the exposure I received with the labels and production, and I’d like to think, to a sound I developed in my years as a DJ in NYC. I’m very grateful for opportunities to share music and energy with others around the world.
" I love the A&R process, working with artists, and packaging a concept into something that you can actually hold in your hands. I’ve been able to tour based on my involvement with the labels and my productions."
SFR: In a market dominated by digital sales, what is the interest in selling Vinyl?
Dakini9: Spider and I are both vinyl DJs. I learned to play on vinyl and I still play predominantly vinyl. I’ve never DJ’d on a laptop and I have no interest in doing so. Vinyl is tactile, it’s fun to play. You put your body in it when you DJ vinyl. The people who buy our music are mostly other DJs or music collectors who have a niche taste. All the labels I’m involved with are niche projects that appeal to a certain type of person, and that person loves vinyl! To stay true to ourselves and those we vibe with, we press vinyl. Some of our releases are available digitally and we’re always thinking about adding more to our digital catalog, but we were raised by a vinyl culture and we love that culture, so that is why we press vinyl.
SFR: Dakini9. Tell us about your future goals and aspirations. What do you hope to achieve with all the hard work you put into developing your sound, body, and mind?
Dakini9: I think about this often lately. I know that I have connected with people whether through my productions, DJ sets, or the work on the labels, and that’s great. Life is defined by change, nothing lasts forever, so I am grateful for what I have accomplished thus far. In terms of my yoga practice and teaching, I aspire to maintain and grow my vitality and wellness and be in service to others, to help people connect to themselves in a world that does not view this as a priority and offers little in the way of time or space for people to do that. That’s also my mission in DJing and music production, to create the space for people to connect to themselves. Everything flows from that. To follow your heart in this day and age is an act of revolution! I want to live a long happy life, help others, and feel that I contributed something of value to the world.
" I learned to play on vinyl and I still play predominantly vinyl. I’ve never DJ’d on a laptop and I have no interest in doing so. Vinyl is tactile, it’s fun to play. You put your body in it when you DJ vinyl."
SFR: If you were a star constellation. Which one would you be?
Dakini9: A black hole.
SFR: Lola, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration. Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
Dakini9: I always like to include music from my labels and my friends, and there are tracks here from me, Amir Alexander, Whim-ee (who’s released on Sound Warrior), and other folks I’m cool with and whose music I respect and enjoy. Otherwise, I also like to represent, for lack of a better term, an “old school” house sound that is pumpy and fun, a time when our dancefloor culture was more participatory and communal than what it seems to have turned into. Lately I get a lot of inspiration from parties I attended in the 90s and 2000s, when the crowd bumped as one. I remember those moments in my bones and if I can channel that into my sets, I feel it is an important energy to keep generating for dancers and heads as well as for folks new to this, so maybe they get bit by the bassline and the kick and find the freedom and release we all need. I play best when I am grooving behind the decks. This mix got me going about 20 minutes in. It was recorded in one take and some mixes are looser than I would like, but I think the energy translates clearly and that is what is most important to me.