DJ Heather has been widely regarded as one of the best music selectors in the game. This Brooklyn-born Chicagoan has made a name for herself for her commitment to musical appreciation and innovation. Mostly known as a Hip-Hop DJ, she eventually shifted the tracks and genres she played toward house music. “The demand for me to play house seemed to increase after each gig. Over time one just gave way to another. Gone but not forgotten” she says. With roots in Detroit, Claude Vonstroke always loves to show love to the Midwest on the Dirtybird Campout lineups. This year is no exception with DJ Heather’s name gracing the bill. 6AM caught up with DJ Heather to talk about her Dirtybird Campout appearance and inclusivity in dance music.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! You’re coming off of playing ARC, how’d it feel being part of the inaugural festival experience? What were some of the highlights for you?
ARC was a fantastic event. Felt honored to be a part of the first one. The curation of each stage and the attention to detail did not go unnoticed for sure. Felt like an oasis within my hometown, reminiscent of festival experiences I’ve had in other cities and countries over the years.
The Windy City was overdue for a festival of this type considering it’s the city that birthed house music, don’t you think?
Absolutely and the timing was just right. Look forward to what they come up with next.
Ironically, a recurring issue in the dance music community has been the lack of inclusivity even though its fabric is woven from non-normative narratives. As the city as well as other parts of the world reopen their dancefloors, how can the industry, as a collective, work together to ensure festival line-ups are not simply recycling names? Where or with whom does this effort start with?
Hopefully by giving opportunities to those who are quite capable and talented. The space is there. I hope that people are willing to take chances. In my personal experience, I feel that it made a big difference as my life as an artist has progressed over the years. I still feel that way. I am always grateful for the opportunity. My enthusiasm has not changed.
Do you personally do anything to this end?
I try to offer support when I can. Create meaningful relationships and pay it forward when possible. Sometimes it can be tough because budgets aren’t there etc. I want artists to be treated properly and it is difficult to reciprocate the way I feel it should be done.
It’s been said where words end, music begins and you’ve admitted that mixing is like “secret language.” Seeing music as a language, what are some messages you try to communicate in a DJ Heather set/mix? Or are there certain emotions you try to evoke?
Depends on the time, space I guess. Hopefully, the common thread will always be an ability to pull from different elements and influences and make them your very own signature sound.
Speaking of your skills behind the decks, you’ll be playing at this year’s Dirtybird Campout. You made a special mix for listeners to enjoy ahead of the big weekend on October 15. What can people expect when they hit play?
Hopefully, they will be able to get a general idea of what I do and want to see how that translates to a live experience.
The DB team really knows how to put on a party, what are you looking forward to most?
I’ve heard so many good things but I am trying not to have too many preconceived ideas of what to expect. Def ready to have fun and see and hear some amazing artists!
Before we say goodbye, is there anything else you would like to share?
Feel free to peep my Twitch channel. I stream almost daily for my H Is for Hustle shows as well as bi-weekly for The Chi Fi Show on Tuesdays nights. Follow me over at Twitch for live notifications and schedules.
New music is forthcoming as well and you can find that info on my Facebook page.