SHADES OF DJ LUNA
ON THE OCCASION OF HER 5th PLAYLIST, MOONSHINE VOL. 5, DJ LUNA TALKS HER THOUGHT PROCESS BEHIND CURATING MIXES, HER FAVORITE RAPPERS IN 2017, WALE, EARTHGANG, MICK JENKINS, AND MORE.
In November, Mika aka @DJLunaEBM began her Moonshine series. The 20+ track playlists are a combination of familiar tunes mixed with contemporary underground rap, with hints of original Soundcloud content that can only be found by deep-diving into Soundcloud’s vast catalogue. These 20+ track playlists are part-cultural memoir and part-personal expression, as the Miami native DJ Luna acts on her dreams to master the craft of DJ’ing.
The Moonshine series expresses Mika’s yearn for DJ excellence along with frustration and joy encountered on her road to success. With the help of her EBM (Every Blue Moon) team and D.C. lyricist Wale, Mika has amassed a cult following for her Moonshine collections. The early success and admiration that her series has enjoyed might inspire others to reach for their dreams, too.
DJing has changed so much over the years that I feel I have to ask all DJs this question nowadays – do you frequent record stores (and shout them out if so!) and do you collect records? If so, do you have any favorite vinyls?
“I don’t frequent record stores as much as I should, but I have been to a few really dope ones. My favorites that I have come across are in both Atlanta and LA. I don’t collect vinyls, but one of my fans sent me three as a birthday gift, so I guess I will start soon.
My favorite vinyl that I own is the Flatbush Zombies – 3001: A Least Odyssey and Baduizm (Erykah Badu).”
“My favorite vinyl is Flatbush Zombies – 3001: A Least Odyssey and Baduizm”
Do you have a favorite part of record store browsing?
For me, I like flipping thru vinyls and looking at the dates and record labels of certain releases. It really puts the album in perspective, to me.
“I get excited every time I see an album that I love. 😂 I can’t say I have a favorite part.”
In your last playlist, Moonshine Vol. 4, you started off with Spazzy D’s “war pain“, then went into “Cowboy Bepop” by Anonymuz, which transitioned into “Herb Shuttles” by The UnderAchievers. These are all relatively underground rap artists. Can you explain what thought process went into that opening sequencing?
“My sequencing always comes from cohesiveness of content and sound. I thought starting out with more underground artists would paint the perfect picture towards what [listeners] could expect throughout the playlist.
My goal is to combine songs by artists people know and love, with new dope artists that they’ve probably never heard of.”
You ended Moonshine Vol. 4 with the upbeat BPM “Lemon Pon Goose” by Smino and Sango and “Rude Tings” by Lulu Be, which made for an antithetical yet pleasing ending. Was that your purpose? Do you have a certain strategy to picking openers or closers for your playlists?
“I wanted to fade the playlist from hype, into reggae inspired feel-good music to close it out in a “positive” way, to leave listeners in a good mood.”
Mick Jenkins, EarthGang, and Wale appear almost religiously in your mixes. Are these your 3 favorite rappers? What separates these artists from the rest of the pack, in your opinion?
“They are definitely amongst my favorite rappers. The fact that you noticed that, shows how versatile they are. The number one thing that I look for in an artist is originality and versatility, and these three embody that perfectly.”
“The #1 thing I look for in an artist is originality and versatility,
[Wale, Mick Jenkins, and EarthGang] embody that perfectly”
On Vol.3, you have a record by Soulection artist starRo. Have you been able to dive into some of the music the Soulection collective has been producing?
Some of the hottest new rap artists like Goldlink, Dave B, Bryson Tiller, and now Smino have come up rapping over Soulection affiliated producer beats first.
“Yes, I am a huge fan of the Soulection collective. J Louis, starRo, Monte Booker, etc are all incredibly talented. I love Dave B’s project “Tomorrow” produced by Sango and Smino’s “Blkjuptr” EP produced by Monte Booker.”
What do you think of turntable DJing versus CDJing? Some traditional DJs feel that CDJ’s are less credible because they don’t practice the art of scratching and juggling beats. Is there a difference between the two for you?
“Personally, I learned on vinyl, which really helped me appreciate and respect the art of DJ-ing. I think all DJs should practice on vinyl at one point to give themselves credibility. But CDJ’s and controllers are what is needed in today’s atmosphere, so I think both are very necessary.”
Great answer. Technology advancements have made DJing incredibly accessible to the masses and the art behind DJing sometimes gets lost.
Your twitter persona revolves almost entirely around music. Could you date someone that doesn’t appreciate music the same way you do?
“Doesn’t appreciate? No. Appreciation is a must.
But I could date someone who is very open-minded and willing to be put onto new artists and come with me to tons of concerts and showcases. 😊”
What can we expect on Moonshine Vol.5 and where can we find it?
“Moonshine Volume 5 is my favorite playlist I’ve made yet. It starts out with feel-good alternative R&B, transitions into EDM inspired R&B, and then transitions into slower, more “in your feelings”, R&B.”
We can’t wait to listen. Thanks DJ Luna! 🌙