Mija is swiftly on route to becoming a household name. Born out of Phoenix, Arizona, the energetic electronic producer has built her career dabbling into the harder side of dance music; a stroll through her catalogue would certainly fill you in on that.
She is currently mid tour on Australia, with her final shows coming up this weekend including a headline slot at Ransom BNE with support from our dude Noy. We caught up with Mija to have a chat about all things from side projects, fashion, kangaroos and haters.
Interview by Toyah Hoetzel
Stoney Roads: Hey Mija, thanks for taking the time to have a chat! How has your time in Australia been so far?
Mija: So good!! I fed kangaroos yesterday and discovered Australian penguins. Too cute :’)
SR: How have you found the Aussie crowds in comparison to back home?
M: Aussie crowds are mad fun. Definitely comparable to American crowds in the sense that we’re all just a bunch of humans dancing to loud ass music, but there’s genuinely something to be said about the energy Australian crowds give back. The kids out here get pretty wild out here.
SR: You’ve said that your b2b set with Skrillex was a huge opportunity and it helped your career as a DJ take off. What would you say to other young up and coming artists about taking opportunities when they are presented to you?
M: Yo, if you are an up-comer and the universe grants you with some serendipitous opportunity, take it and RUN. Don’t look back. Don’t overthink it. and don’t assume it will last forever. Just be humble and use it as an opportunity to learn as much as you can. Create your own world around yourself instead of living in someone else’s–that’s the real key to success. And no matter how “big” you get, always treat people with kindness/respect because that energy is reciprocative. As long as you are genuine and work really f*cking hard, you can literally do anything you want.
SR: Lots of artists talk about a handful of factors that got them to where they are today. Were there a few major experiences of defining moments that drove your success?
M: Obviously my b2b with Skrill gave me my first 15 min of fame, but I actually got my first festival booking by winning a mix contest with Wavo and Black Butter Records. but even before ALL of this, when I was just a local DJ in phoenix, a huge moment for me (being a house/techno junkie at the time) was getting invited to DJ the longest running house/techno party in phoenix. the party was called Solstice. I was much younger and far less experienced than these guys, but they saw my passion and they believed in me. the catch was that I had to DJ on vinyl and a Urei rotary mixer, which I had never done before.
So I bought turntables, learned all my records backwards and forwards and practiced day and night. I also had no experience using a rotary mixer which forced me to learn it on demand during my set. the reason I feel like this was a pivotal moment for my career is because I put myself in an uncomfortable/nerve-racking position and truly challenged myself as a DJ. It may sound like such a small thing, but working with these dudes gave me incredible insight on DJ culture, and the confidence to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.
SR: You play massive cross-genre sets that crowds go crazy for. Why do you think bouncing through different genres works so well?
M: I think it works so well because we are living in a day and age of sub genres. and generally speaking, we all listen to many different types of music. So at the end of the day, you can play whatever you want as long as you are telling a story. It’s all about the delivery.
SR: How do you prepare for your sets in a club as opposed to a festival show, do you do anything differently?
M: I typically try and plan a bit more for festival sets because those are shorter set times and i want to be sure I get to play everything in a specific timeframe. My club sets are more freestyle because I get to play longer sets and it’s easier to read a crowd that’s 2-feet in front of me vs 30 ft away on a massive stage.
SR: Have you had the time to meet/work with any Aussie artists while you’ve been in town? Are their any you’d like to work with?
M: Yeah!! I’m actually working with Shawn Naderi on my days off here in Sydney. Naderi mixes/masters most of my tracks so it’s been really cool sitting with him and watching his work flow and bouncing ideas back and forth. I’m trying to get Nina Las Vegas to come to the studio tomorrow and make something weird with us 🙂
SR: You’ve stated in the past that you’ve been accused of using ghost producers. Why do you think female producers are targeted for their authenticity when it comes to dance music production?
M: I think people just love drama / love having things to talk about. It bums me out that females are the biggest targets for this and I’m not entirely sure why that’s is – But whatever. People will always talk, but music speaks for itself.
SR: You’ve played at some incredible festivals. What were some of your favourites to date and why?
M: Ahh, that’s so hard. I would say that some of my favourite festivals include Shambhala, Electric Forest, Lightning In A Bottle, The Day After Fest, Storm Fest, and Burning Man. The reasons for each vary between just being really fun/unique experiences (Shambhala, Burning Man, Lightning In A Bottle), or pure excitement of being in brand new countries playing for all new people (storm fest-shanghai, day after fest-panama).
SR: Where do you see yourself going in the next few years, what are your plans?
M: This year I am going to releasing a ton of new music that I’ve been working on for a long time now. So I guess in the next few years, my plan is to continue to create and develop the music into an audio/visual experience. On top of that, I’ve been getting really into high fashion and mixing that with my punk background…. So I want to continue developing “Made By Mija” as a passion project.
SR: What have you got coming up in 2017 we should know about? Any remixes, collabs, albums in the works you can share?
M: I have this super fun banger collab with Gammer that will hopefully come out in May! And then I sort of have two different EP concepts that will follow shortly after so stay tuuuned !
SR: Thanks for chatting, before we finish up, what are your 5 must-play tracks during a set?
M: Currently: Mija – Secrets + (Crankdat remix — unreleased), DJ Hazard – Time Tripping, Caroline (Leg Kale Remix), Josh Pan, X&G – Nowhere, Chris Lake – Operator.
Be sure to catch the end of Mija’s Aus/NZ tour! Her remaining dates are below:
Thursday, March 16 – Kyte, ACT.
Friday, March 17 – Ransom BNE, Brisbane
Saturday, March 18 – Impala, Auckland.