In the age of the “craze to be different” there are those of us who just are and exude a strong sense of unique confidence. Irene also known as DJ Who Am I, happens to be one of those fearless chicks. I met Irene a little over 6 months ago and was instantly drawn to her outgoing, albeit strong personality. Who Am I is not only a great DJ, with a sound all her own, but also a great person who is the life of the party where ever she goes!
Name, Age, Current Location:
Irene aka DJ Who Am I, currently residing in NYC
What was your first experience DJing like?
It was at Mehanata in NYC where I had my first residency. It was on a Friday night and the room totally packed. My set was 6 hours and I was so nervous. I was afraid I would run out of music and mess up (which I did mess up quite a bit), not to mention just scared to play for such a big crowd. It was all the regulars of the club and all my friends who are mostly musicians. I will never forget that night…most nerve wrecking experience.
As a female in a male dominated industry, what has your overall experience been like?
I’ve been lucky to have great people and more experienced DJ’s both women and men guiding me. I am sure it’s tough for everybody but for the girls, it may be harder I guess. You never really know if someone is enjoying what you do because you are good, or because they want something else from you. I definitely tried to stay close to other female DJ’s and get their advice. It’s important for us to stick together!
You’re definitely not shy on your social media outlets and on your event flyers, lol. I think its great that you speak your mind, where do you get your confidence?
My father is a musician and so is most of his family. He has always encouraged me to do what I love. I grew up watching him play in bands and family parties. He is a crazy maniac and super fun and confident. I am definitely my fathers daughter!
What kind of music do you spin?
I play a lot of music from all over the world. I don’t have any limitations or BPM preferences, like some other DJ’s may have. I am originally from Ukraine which still influences my style today. I still love to throw in a random folk or Klezmer song from my town.
My family immigrated to Philadelphia in the early 90′s and growing up in Philly influenced me in major ways as well. I used to go to all these underground hip hop clubs and warehouse raves which is where I learned about electronic music and American music in general. Although these days I like playing a lot of tropical style and house music. I love African house, Cumbia, tech house, Gypsy, electronic folklore, old school jungle and house. I guess if I had to sum it up, it would be world electronic and house!
Where can we catch you? Events, residencies, parties?
I just started a Wednesday night party at Bembe in Brooklyn. Monday’s I am at NUBLU. I have a bi weekly residency at Piano’s NYC on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. As well as a once a month party called BASTRDZM, that I throw with another DJ. BASTRDZM is a party that combines all genres of music with a different theme each month.
Any exciting projects that should be on our readers’ radar?
I am just tapping into the idea of actually learning how to make/remix songs, so hopefully soon you will hear some productions soon.
Do you have any advice for other ladies who are interested in DJing?
If you really want to DJ, I think you should get into it for the love of music and wanting to make people shake their asses. Definitely learn “sound” and how to be great technically. I am still learning. Go out and listen to other DJ’s live and learn from them. It’s not about your outfit or how sparkly your headphones are, etc. I hate to look at myself as a “GIRL DJ” but people will put you in that category. The reality, it is a male dominated industry so we have to work twice as hard to get respect. But the only way to be respected if you are actually a good DJ, is by being a good selector, and respectful to others.
Check out Irene’s, ahem, DJ Who Am I’s, sounds on her Soundcloud and be sure to follow her on Twitter!
Check out the promo video for DJ Who Am I’s monthly party BASTRDZM