Interview, photo: Polina Belehhova

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What is the most exciting part of being a DJ for you?
There is a moment within a set, on a good night, where a feedback loop exists within the crowd and myself.  It is entire presence, love, fearless connection. It requires a willing openness from the audience, and some vulnerability from me in order to be a channel for this.  It feels dangerous and uncanny and bigger than the sum of its parts.  Getting to feel that, to be part of it, on a fairly regular basis is the most exciting thing about this work for me.

What is going on in your head when you are playing a gig?
Ideally, I’m not in my head at all – I’m entirely present and responsive to the space that I’m in, to whom i’m sharing that space with.  If I catch myself thinking too much, I pray to be god-conscious (whatever ‘god’ means to you), as opposed to self-conscious, to be an instrument of loving noise.

Your music feels very intimate. What is an unusual source of an intimate feeling for you?
Music has made me who I am, has saved my life and given me purpose and meaning.  It is privilege to get to share that reality with others.  Intimacy is a byproduct of taking this thing that I love ferociously and shining it to a room full of people, or a festival audience, and feeling those people reciprocate generously.  The magic is co-created.

Do you have any rituals when writing music, something that helps you get the creativity flowing?
I wish it could be ritualized, so it came on demand! Unfortunately for me the creative process is almost peripheral.  There are things I do to keep my knives sharp (writing every day, reading a lot and taking notes, hunting inspiration as a way of life, creating space in my days for ‘unproductive’ thinking because that’s where the ideas germinate) so that when the fickle muse is near, I am ready.  However, most of the work is patience and presence so when the idea is there I can finally turn to it and tease it out into a song.

If you had to choose between sex and music what would it be?
I would probably choose music because I could live without sex, but especially on the forthcoming work, sex has really informed the content of my music.  Maybe they are linked inextricably for me.

Would you like to know something specific a year ago that you know now?
Definitely not. I’d be shattered by it. In the present, however, everything is copacetic.

What is your favorite conspiracy theory?
Fluoride is put in municipal water supplies as a toxic sedative to control the masses and actually has no effect on tooth decay.

 

What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen or experienced in your life?
Love.

What is the best gig you’ve ever performed?
There is often 2-3 ‘best gigs ever’ per month.  The last really magical one was our July RAAR residency at Wanderlust in Paris.  It is something amazing when you play really challenging, aggressive music, and the crowd is just lapping it up, hurling joyful energy back at you.  We got to invite our friend Jensen Interceptor to open for us, who is a delight and an extraordinary talent, and legendary DMX Krew played live, which created a kind of ecstatic teenage energy in all of us as we are huge fans.  This feeling was amplified even more playing back to back with Maelstrom.  That is always a real gift – we make each other better, there is a mutual awe that we get to do this.

What film would you like to live in?
Bill Viola’s The Reflecting Pool. Reflecting Pool, like much of Bill Viola’s work, is a meditation.  Interaction with the piece, as an observer,  changes my perspective, how I feel in my body, how I experience time and space.  This piece specifically, because it is so simple, has a particularly sublime quality: it demands incredible patience, without losing a gentle tension throughout the .  It hits me in the heart, in the guts, because there are certainly moments of my life that I would love to remain suspended in eternally as the world spins on, dissolve into like the man in the film.

What is your personal heaven on Earth?
Wandering around a giant field with my horse on a sunny afternoon in early summer.  We take turns following each other.  In the words of the Talking Heads, ‘Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens’.

What question do you hate to answer the most?
‘How did you get your name’?

What is your definition of beauty?
Loving kindness.

What is your favorite way of escapism?
Exercise


What common misconception or belief irritates you the most?
12 step programs are group therapy.

Is there a new skill you would like to acquire?
I’d like to be good at learning languages.

What is the best compliment you have received?
“You helped me…”

What is one thing that people tend to over-complicate?
Surrender.

What are you certain about in life?
God is love and love is real.

What was the most significant decision you took in your life?
Getting sober. Getting sober wasn’t so much a decision as a necessity.  It became very clear that I could keep burning my life down with the help of cocaine, losing family, friends, opportunities, physical and mental health, and any self esteem that I had left, or make a drastic change by leaping into the unknown.  At that point, that unknown was sobriety, more specifically ‘recovery’, or the process of the twelve steps as a way of life.   This process has restored, sustained and given me, who came in a shattered, scared kid, a life beyond my wildest dreams, and helped me grow into the woman that I never imagined I could be.  I thought living sober was going to suck, that it was going to be something I tolerated because to keep using meant death at best.  Instead, it is a life beyond my wildest dreams.  If you don’t know how to stop drinking and doing drugs, slide into my DMs.  Let’s talk.

Tell us a little about your first time in anything.
It was unexpected and electric and impressive; I thought I’d be in control a lot longer, and suddenly I was entirely at the mercy of the situation, and I loved it.

What question you would like to ask yourself during the interview?
Where are we going? How do we get there?