Minty fam, meet Miss Shelrawka, one of the few strictly vinyl djs whose eclectic sound has her poised to elevate dance floor consciousness worldwide. We recently had the pleasure of meeting Miss Shelrawka (digitally) through our good friend, photographer extraordinaire and people connector, Vitamin Dee. Have a glimpse her musical history, what she’s up to now and what’s in store.
Are you originally from Seattle?
No, I am originally from the East coast. Born in NJ, but lived in both NJ and NYC. I moved out to Seattle almost two years ago.
How did you decide made you move out west?
I relocated for a job opportunity. NYC is pretty intense and fast moving, which is great, but I needed to change it up a bit and try something new. Seattle has such amazing views and the summers here are so beautiful – like those Jill Scott lyrics…”Cumulus clouds, 84 degrees, melody…” but I miss pizza and the subway. Ha!
What made you want to become a DJ?
This question is always some long-winded-years-ago-when-I-was-a-kid stuff, but to be honest; I was surrounded by a ton of different styles and genres of music. So, having all these different influences, and loving the beats from hip hop to the rave scene, it was hard not to want to bring some flavor to the tables in a way I was given and experienced in my life.
What makes you remain a strictly vinyl DJ?
I love vinyl. I love the analog sound, the smell, the feel of it. Actually seeing the lines on the record is my way of reading the music. It’s a commitment when you buy a record. From the price, to the care for it and yes, to lugging it around. (I’ve got some bruises man, hahaha!)
I’m not knocking the digital era because I get the benefits of it. I’m simply saying that there are some who use a computer program to beat-match for them and not acquire the skills to be able to sync the tracks with their ears. That it is an art form to be learned, shared and respected.
How would you describe your sound/style to someone who doesn’t know much about electronic music?
I guess it would depend on the genre of music I am playing for that party. I am a booty shaker, haha! I like it funky with percussion beats but the bass has to be there. I went from the hip hop thump into the drum n bass back in the 90s - kind of got out of that sound because it started to sound the same. Moved over to the house crowd — took some of that NYC latin influence. Moved into the techno scene - took the bass bumpin’ drive and techy energy. Then slapped my funky inspiration from all these genres and it’s delivered into a nice little package to keep you boppin’ and actually dancing.
What are some characteristics that set you apart from other DJs in the electronic/house music scene?
I like to create a journey by combining the melodies of all kinds of genres that someone would never think could vibe together. Some things that you may hear in techno, you would never think to work in a House element. I prefer to warm up the dance floor by well-delivered tracks rather than stale anthems.
How are you bridging gaps if any in the Seattle music scene?
I want to show people there is good music out there by introducing it to them in a way they can relate to or are familiar with. Sometimes what I am playing at that moment people may not realize its techno and really dig it; only to find out that they were enjoying something they had a prejudice about. Techno gets a really bad rap for the most part and is misclassified a lot. The same can be said about house, it’s too soulful, whimsical, too light, not hard enough and this isn’t the case either.
What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to working with local talent and meeting new talent. Building relationships in the music community and being turned on to new experiences. There are some really talented DJs here in Seattle and I see them working it. It would be great to collaborate with them.
How can people support house music or good music in general? Where can they go? What can they read? Both locally and nationally.
I would say people just need to keep the communication on music out there —on good music at that! Just staying actively connected to blogs or open forums. They are generally really good and have interesting insight.
If you are in or around Seattle this weekend check out Miss Shelrawka, Saturday June 26 at the Electric Tea Garden.