Star Eyes on Causing Trouble, Working with S.F. Artists, and Her "Goth Dubstep Love Song"
Star Eyes, veteran DJ of fifteen years and first lady of Brooklyn record label Trouble & Bass, has not-so-quietly gained a substantial international following of fans who share her love for teeth-rattling drums and dark melodies. Initially drawn to dance music by her interest in U.K. bass, Star Eyes has frequently abandoned her first love to explore a wide variety of styles, working with jungle producers such as John B and local producer 5kinandBone5. She spoke with All Shook Down about bikini-clad DJs, the inspiration behind Trouble & Bass, and her upcoming release, "The Night," before performing this Thursday at Mezzanine along with Drop the Lime and more of her Trouble & Bass crew.
What drew you initially to the EDM scene?
I got sucked in to rave culture by seeing huge pictures of illegal British parties in fields in NME and Melody Maker, and by The Prodigy's "Charly" video. Do you ever know you are going to love some place before you go there, or that you will love some band before you ever listen to them? It was like that. Love at first sight. Destiny.
You seem to have infinity for U.K. dub/grime music. How did this come about?
I first heard dubstep on a serious soundsystem at London's Plastic People, I guess around 2002. It sounded like some sort of spooky, even more stripped-down version of Miami bass and I loved it. Dubstep and grime have always had a raw, dark, mysterious, and aggressive energy that I'm really drawn to. I'm interested in music that makes you want to cause trouble.
Speaking of trouble, what's one of the main inspirations behind the creation of the Trouble & Bass label?
One of the main inspirations has been to put Brooklyn on the map, and show the rest of the world how we do things. Our style is about growing up listening to all kinds of U.K. bass music (drum & bass, U.K. garage, hardcore) and American bass music (hip-hop, Miami bass, Baltimore club) and fusing those elements with our personal influences. It's creating a label that is more about a general attitude than a tempo or a certain sound.
If the label had a motto, what would it be?
The name is the motto. Trouble & Bass says it all.
What's been difficult about running a growing label, which is now expanding into clothing, designing, etc.?
Honestly, the most difficult thing is trying to find time and resources to try to execute all the crazy ideas we come up with. Right now we're working on procuring a pirate ship. Seriously.
Since you've been around the EDM scene for quite some time, what's one of the biggest misconceptions you've heard about female DJs?
The two biggest misconceptions are that female DJ can't mix or do anything technical, and that girls somehow play "girly" music. It's 2011 and I can't believe these things still exist. I thought this was the future.
What's the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
The biggest obstacle has been always my own mind and my own perception of limitations. And shyness. It took me a while to feel comfortable being on a stage with people staring at me.
What's some advice you can offer aspiring female DJs, preferably not limited to ones that bounce around in bikinis?
My advice to all DJs is to do it because you love it, and don't get discouraged easily. Turn any jealousy and anger you have into fuel for the fire to make yourself better at your own craft. Be yourself. Have fun. If that fails, put on a bikini and press play.
Well, I used to live in the Bay for nine years, and was in a drum 'n' bass crew with UFO!. He is an old friend and a genius madman. We started making some on-fire fucked-up Ed Rush- and Optical-inspired bass madness that we really need to finish. Charlie, aka 5kin and Bone5, is a rad producer I met through friends -- don't sleep on this guy. We've got a project called Dark Ages that's all cave bass and cobra synths and black and purple atmospheres. Coming soon to a dark alley near you.
How do you choose which tracks to remix?
Mostly I've remixed friends, but if I get a choice of tracks, then I choose whichever one has a vibe I'm drawn to or a vocal or synth line I think I can do something with. Vocals are my favorite tool to be able to mess with when remixing.
What can you tell us about your upcoming release, "The Night"?
"The Night" is my next single that's due out in November with remixes from Deathface, Clicks N Whistles, and others. It's different than my last T&B EP -- this is my goth dubstep love song, and it's me singing. My more emo hardcore/sensitive side I guess, but still with plenty of bass!