Tara’s World

How one she-jay defies the stereotype by keeping clothes on her body and her eye on the ball

This could be Tara Brooks’ year. The gigs are only getting bigger and better, she’s shopping a few original productions to labels, and she’s just signed to be represented by S.K.A.M. Artists, one of the most recognized companies in the DJ scene. Vegas Seven got a glimpse into the world according to Tara in advance of her Sept. 9 set at Marquee Dayclub and Sept. 10 tag-team set with DJ Stellar in Marquee’s Boom Box Room.

In Las Vegas there’s a lot of attention on female models and/or porn stars turning into DJs more for show and money than for a deep passion for music. How has that affected your bookings?

I guess because I’m so different than a lot of the other girls, since I don’t play commercial or Top 40. I’m more on the underground side. It’s definitely more challenging because I’m not a girl who’s playing with my boobs hanging out, the whole image thing. I’m playing the music that I love. But it’s working, slowly but surely. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and not take the easy way out, because if I were to play what everybody else is playing I could be making a lot more money and probably be a lot more popular. But I’m just doing what I love, and so far it’s working with the people who appreciate the music.

Have you played mostly the West Coast thus far?

Yeah, mostly L.A., Orange County, San Diego, Vegas. I’ve actually played a lot in Vegas, just more at the underground spots. Over the last three years I’ve done Drai’s on Halloween and Memorial Day Weekend—it’s kind of tradition now. And Artisan. And for the last three or four years I’ve played at Winter Music Conference, and Miami each year a couple of parties. I’ve played in New York, Chicago, Electric Daisy Carnival 2011, but mostly West Coast. But that’s my goal: expanding.

You’re officially a S.K.A.M. Artist now, right?

I just signed. They’re awesome. My agent’s name is Sarah [Benjamin]. I love it that she’s a female. They have a new house division, so it’s very funny because I’m very opposite from their great roster of Top 40/hip-hop, and they’re very established, so I’m very appreciative they took me on. I look forward to seeing what we can do together because this is something new for them and for me.

In a perfect world where you could play whatever you want, what would that set sound like?

I love multiple genres and multiple styles and feelings, so it all depends on the time of day or environment. But I guess depending on the situation it would be from house, deep house, tech house, techno, progressive, and dark progressive and dark techno.

What other DJs would you love to play with on a dream billing?

Loco Dice, Victor Calderone, Digweed, Lee Burridge, Steve Lawler, Paco Osuna, those are just some of my favorites. I played before Richie Hawtin when he did Plastikman at EDC last year. That’s definitely a goal: I want to play more shows with guys like that.

What first prompted you to get behind the decks?

My ex had a DJ setup at our house, and we connected on a music level. We’d go out to the record store long before I started DJing and pick out records together. He was a Navy SEAL, so he’d be gone a lot, and I was young so I’d be at home, just graduated from college [at San Diego State], kind of like a housewife, going, “What am I doing with myself?” I loved music, was trying to figure out what kind of career I wanted to go into, and I just started messing around at home.

How did you first start gigging professionally?

That’s one of the positive sides of previously having worked in the service industry is that I always knew a lot of people, and I think more importantly was always so mesmerized by the music. I would go out, and even if it was just by myself, I was always a fan. Eventually I started telling people I was DJing. It took awhile because getting someone to book you from a mix is not the easiest thing to do. You have to literally shove it in their car and say, “Listen to this!”