November 21st, 2008 | by NILINA MASON-CAMPBELL Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns, Columns, Columns

Hang the DJ: Lady Adie

     
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ladyadie While she's presently pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience, Lady Adie's real desire is to be a full-time DJ. However, if you take a look at her current residencies—at Dante's, Pala, Hecklewood gallery and more—it seems as though she pretty much already is. In this installment, the 27 year old DJ gives us the low down on her preference for Serato and the genre-hopping it enables, how she came to find her musical outlet in DJing and the magical powers of a certain New Order song.

How did you decide on your DJ name?
My friends and family have been calling me Adie since I was in grade school, but Adie is actually short for my legal name... I'll leave it at that. I pride myself on being a real person, so I couldn't front by having some fancy/silly/hipster handle. The "Lady" part just came naturally (duh, it rhymes), but it also helps me stand out as a female in the industry.

As the Rapture say, "People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this" - how often do you encounter this?
Fortunately not very often, although sometimes I run into it when I do weird corporate events or things that involve daylight. If my people aren't dancing, then I'm not doing my job. It's totally my responsibility to switch it up and play what will bring the bodies to the floor (which sometimes involves "Blue Monday"... trust me, that song has magical powers).

Ideal crowd?
My ideal crowd is ready to dance! It's so much more fun to play to a few people really getting down on the dance floor as opposed to hundreds of people standing around with their cocktails. I also must admit that a tipsy crowd is typically more fun than a sober one... that is, as long as they're far enough away from the booth to keep the needles from getting bumped!


How do you feel about requests?

I feel like one of my best assets is having great taste in music and knowing what tracks are right for the moment/club/crowd. I actually get a little bummed out that people don't trust me to provide a great set for them and that they feel the need to intervene. I've been hired to do a job, and I promise, you're gonna have a good time when I play, so just trust me! However, if someone happens to request something really rad, or something that fits the vibe, I'm more than happy to play it. Typically I'll just use the excuse, "Ohhh, I only have that on vinyl and I just brought my laptop tonight... Sorry!"

Do you have a story about a particular request or requester?
Once upon a time I played a First Thursday Artwalk event that happened to coincide with a WW singles event. As you can imagine, there were lots of 40s something awkward singles stumbling around this warehouse space while I was playing mellow electro house. The party had been going for a while and the crowd was decent, and all of a sudden this totally trashed tanorexic bridge-and-tunnel woman staggers up flailing a 10 dollar bill in front of my face, screaming "Play "Fergalicious"!!! I want to hear "Fergalicious"!!!" First of all, Fergie is obviously out of place in every way imaginable in this scenario and second of all, it's coming from this woman?!? I kind of laughed it off and shook my head, but she was so drunk she kept coming back up and asking me when I was going to play "her song!" Comedy, I'm telling you.

Do you DJ full time? / What do you do outside of DJing?
Outside of DJing, I'm in a Ph.D. program in neuroscience at Washington State in Vancouver. I study the interaction between drugs like THC and morphine, and I get to wear a sweet lab coat. I would love to DJ full time, but that will have to wait until after I've finished my degree, because I'd really like to go on tour. When I'm in the lab or writing a manuscript I'm constantly thinking about and listening to music, usually building sets in my head. Music also keeps me focused when I'm trying to work, so I don't really think I could do one successfully without the other. My only qualm with DJing full time is that I strongly dislike compromising my creative freedom, and often as a hired goon you're just paid and told what to do. No thanks.

Where can we find you?
You can catch me at Dante's once a month for Xotica-Go-Go on Thursdays, First Thursdays at Hecklewood gallery, XYZ (Aloft hotel) on Third Thursdays, also at Pala on the last Friday of every month, and starting soon, at the Refectory with Zita every Saturday (I know, I know, they're doing a huge format change, we'll see what happens).

How'd you get your current main gig?
Hmm, I'll have to choose one of them... I'd say my favorite gig right now is Dante's. The promoter, Taber, booked me based on my reputation because he'd never actually heard me play before. I believe he tracked down my phone number somehow, I distinctly remember talking to him about the gig while drinking a Pabst on my back deck. Fortunately, he ended up loving what I do, so I've been a monthly guest ever since.

How long have you been spinning?
I matched my first beats about a year and a half ago. I've come a LONG way since then, but I'll be the first to admit I still have plenty of skills to perfect. I think being an eternal student (read: overachiever) drives me to perfect my game and work as hard as I can to do the best job possible.

What drew you to DJing originally?
Growing up, my mom (former DJ) had a great record collection, some of which I've managed to get my hands on recently. She is a down-ass woman who heavily influenced and fed my passion for music. Even when I was a little kid I would make mix tapes using songs from her collection and the radio. I was always really bad at guitar and keys, but I was always really good at making mix tapes, which naturally lends itself to DJing. I really can't remember a time when I didn't want to DJ, it was all just a matter of putting the time in to learn and rehearse. I have to admit, the first time I heard my beats matched in my headphones I got a huge rush, did a little dance, and never looked back. I have craved a musical outlet my entire life and I'm so thankful I've finally found out what I was supposed to be doing this whole time!

What are your thoughts on vinyl vs CDs vs laptops?
Ultimately, I think it's a matter of personal choice. If you can rock out on two tape decks, fine, get down with your bad self. For me, laptops/Serato are the way to go. Don't get me wrong, I love busting out my vinyl for cheesy 80's parties, but having gigabytes of music on hand at any point in time is incredibly valuable, particularly when I need to change up what I'm doing in order to draw a good response from the crowd. Also, Serato is an immensely powerful software that allows me to tailor mixes to sound better than they would normally sound on vinyl (i.e. not every song is DJ-friendly, but I can make almost anything DJ-friendly with Serato). Ultimately, my use of Serato results in a better product for the crowd and a happy Lady Adie. I'm also somewhat of an audiophile and I very much prefer the sound quality of 320 kbps over wax (for electronic music anyway... Reggae and punk are another story).

What songs will we find ourselves dancing to with you?
GRUM - "Go Back (Le Castle Vania remix)"
Little Boots - "Meddle (Designer Drugs remix)"
The Presets - "This Boy's in Love (Lifelike remix)"
Mansion - "Body"
Machines Don't Care - "On a Roll Man (Malente remix)"

How would you describe yourself in five words or less - complete sentence or not:
Real, honest, passionate, drama-free.

How do you describe the genre you play?
How I describe my main sound depends on who I'm talking to. Other DJs would consider my sound to be blog house, nu rave/nu disco, or indie dance. The sheeple would basically understand that I play electro house. That being said, if the event requires it, I can play virtually anything, including dancehall, hip-hop, disco, drum & bass, etc... In fact just this week I played an entire set of goth and industrial... it was awesome!

Who are your other favorite Portland DJs?
My favorite women in Portland are Zita, Mani, and Equestrian (gotta give big ups to the ladies first) and my favorite dudes are Nature, Keys, Ronin, Rising Sun, and Kenoy. Also a special thanks to Spun Academy.

Lady Adie is next playing at Rotture (Fubar) on the 28th of November.

Links:
Lady AdieSpace
Spun Academy

Photo care of MySpace
 
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