Yes, She Can DJ

Mika Gold is more than just a pretty face

mika_gold_HOMEPAGEParis Hilton. Crystal Hefner. That one chick who was in Playboy (not even the American version, by the way). It increasingly seems like a lot of women with a good airbrush artist and an inkling of marketing potential now think it’s time to be a “DJ” (we use the term loosely). So what about those she-jays who can actually spin? They’re still out there gigging with their mad skills, even if you don’t see them on a glossy ad. Take Mika Gold, for example. She’s been a Las Vegas staple for seven years and has also toured overseas. And then there’s her unique journey, which took her from the circus—yes, really—to the DJ booth.

What was your path from B-girl to DJ? 

I used to be really into break dancing, circus [acts] and performance. I had DJ boyfriends when I was 12 or 13 years old. I’ve always been into music; my mom was a professional dancer, my grandma was a musician. It was just really a fun hobby for me for a long time, and then when I moved to Vegas, there were so few female DJs. I was working with a promotion company doing modeling, and they asked, “Do you have any other talents?” I said, “I can DJ.” Within a week, I was working five nights a week.

Was there a deep DJ culture in your hometown?

I’m from Merritt Island; it’s the sticks in Florida. There are literally alligators in retention ponds outside of my house.

So that’s a no. But you first went to L.A. to work in film?

I was in the circus at Florida State, and I wanted to be a stuntwoman—that was my initial career choice. So I moved to L.A. and they were like, “Uh … you’re 5 feet [tall]. You’re not going to be a stuntwoman.” I was in L.A. for a while, and worked in TV, but then I broke my femur and couldn’t walk for six months. My roommate at the time was some weird closet DJ, so all I had to do for six months was play on turntables.

Nowadays you see lots of “model DJs,” girls who stepped behind the turntables with little experience, but who get big billing. Do you worry people may confuse you with them and assume you don’t have the skills?

Yeah, definitely. If I could go back and talk to my 21-year-old self, I would be like, “You probably shouldn’t be photographed just wearing records.” [Laughs.] But I also went to school for marketing. At heart, I’m a tomboy, and I play out in the desert a lot. It’s hard because there are a lot of really horrible female DJs who don’t take the time to actually learn what they’re doing or any of the technical aspects, and they don’t have respect for the DJs who have paved the way—especially in Vegas—like R.O.B., Michael Toast and DJ Crime.

Who’s technique did you study?

I love DJ Rectangle; he’s amazing with his mixtapes. Crime is a huge influence. Joey Mazzola: my house guy. I really, really, really love Featurecast and A.Skills, the guys who do a lot of ghetto funk. Stickybuds, too, is awesome.

What’s the scope of the sets you play?

I love old-school hip-hop. But I also am really into some minimal, tech-y house. I really can play everything: I can play rock, a huge Top 40 nightclub and a desert party. I make a lot of my own mash-ups in Ableton. I really dislike Top 40 music, but of course our job as a DJ is to play what people want to hear, not always what you want to hear.

Do you get the chance to play a lot of desert parties and indulge in your preferred sound?

I definitely do, and it’s such a different vibe. I’ve been really lucky. I would say Tatiana and I are the only two girls who’ve gotten to play a lot of these outdoor parties in Vegas that are underground and been able to play my type of music and have people like it and dance.

With regard to fake female DJs, would you ever consider battling Paris Hilton?