Nobody Puts Mija In a Corner

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Photos  /  Angelo Kritikos 

Story / Freza Palermo 

Styling / Aubrey Kia

It’s safe to say that there’s nobody in the EDM game right now who is quite like Mija, the genre-defying DJ who first caught mainstream attention after a b2b set at Bonnaroo with Skrillex in 2014. Following Mija is like watching a Mayweather fight; she delivers such consistent, strong punches, it’s easy to feel that it’s impossible for her to stop. Shortly after her Bonnaroo breakout, the DJ solidified audience’s attention with her 2015 OWSLA-released production with Ghastly, “Crank It” featuring Lil Jon, which she quickly followed with her single, “Secrets”. It’s rare for new talent to be able to resist categorization, but Mija has made that resistance her calling card; she’s recognized by her fresh fk a genre ethos, which challenges listeners to venture outside of their comfort zones. Mija has been so fire lately, between her worldwide tours and appearances with acts like Jack U, Tycho, Kiesza, A$AP Ferg, and Zed’s Dead, so I was stoked to be able to catch up with her between major tours and hear her take on the state of EDM today.

You distinguished yourself early on with your versatility and your ability to surprise an audience. Did you find people overall receptive to you and your style of mixing when you first began or was it more a process of trial-and-error with crowds?

I found that everyone was very receptive and appreciative of a versatile set. I find that very few people only listen to one type of music. It’s just all about the delivery of the track. Although, I definitely got my crowd reading skills down early on when I was a local dj/opener.

Are there any particular DJs or artists that inspired you to get into the scene?

When I was 15, Darren Styles, Hixxy, and Gammer were my gods. Legends in happy hardcore world. That’s what got me into the scene.

What do you like to do around LA when you’re not touring?

Off tour, I mostly just make music and eat sushi and never leave my house (laughs).

How do you feel the EDM scene has grown since you began, and where do you see it going/would like to see it go?

It’s grown so much!! When I got into it, you would never hear an electronic artist on the radio. Phoenix (where I grew up) wasn’t big enough to hold festivals. Times have definitely changed! I would like to see it continue to grow and flourish into its next form. More live electronic music at festivals. Also would love to see DJ culture shift back its roots where the DJ’s just a DJ and not a superstar, where it’s more about the party and the vibe and the music.

Is there a genre you want to try out but haven’t yet?

I’ll try anything, but I mostly just wanna mix all the genres and create something innovative.

When you’re listening to new music and you’re trying to decide whether you like it, what do you look for?  

I look for originality and something that tells a story. If you hate a track that you’re hearing for the first time, there’s a good chance that you will love it in due time, because the fact that it made you feel something so strongly means that they did their job. Proper/clean production is always a plus, but sometimes even the most under-produced tracks can make you feel more than something mastered by a professional. It’s all about the feels.

Who would you love to work with right now?  

Rustie just because I would love to pick his brain and figure out how the fuck he even thinks of the things he creates. Dude is a genius.

What’s your dream collab – dead or alive?

David Bowie / Nicolas Jaar

I’ve read a lot about the FK a genre ethos; if you had to make the argument for it to someone who was a hardcore genre loyalist, what would it be?

You do you. Some people enjoy the elitism of genres specific communities. I respect it, but it’s not for me. I have commitment issues (laughs). I would never push my ideas on someone else though. Everyone is different.

On the topic of FK a genre, I’m going to list 5 pop artists and their top song currently on Spotify. If someone came to you and asked you to remix their music, which style of music or other artists would be your first instinct to you round them out with?

-Big Sean, ‘Bounce Back’

-Sia, ‘The Greatest’

-Drake, ‘Passionfruit’

-Twenty One Pilots, ‘Stressed Out’

-Migos, ‘Bad and Boujee’

Probably Sia because I love the style and vocals. I couldn’t say for sure, but i think that working with Sia would give me the most creative freedom to experiment with new sounds. Drake is pretty tight too, though.

Any big plans for 2017 or 2018?


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