I recently got the chance to sit down with one of today’s hottest female DJs, DJ Lindsay Luv. See where she draws inspiration from, her dream collaborations, and what the near future holds for her. Dubbed the nicknames “DJ to the Stars” by MTV and “Turntable Goddess” by Victoria’s Secret, this chick is definitely going places!
When did you begin your DJ career?
I was working in the music industry from the business-side first in New York City– everything from marketing and event planning to A&R, distribution, demo production, nightlife promotions, DJ bookings and assisting on the management team of Columbia (now Vice) artists The Raveonettes. Through my work in music and specifically live music-based event planning for some top brands, I worked with many acts from Justice to Chromeo, and with DJs including the late Adam Goldstein aka DJ AM. A developing friendship with the celebrity spinner had us constantly sharing our new music finds and eventually led to his suggestion that I should try DJing myself. This was years back, when female DJs were still pretty rare. He recommended I do it ‘right’ and learn from the bottom up the same as he did so that I would earn the respect of my peers and fans. I taught myself how to spin via vinyl and the Serato program by spending long hours in my friends’ nightclub in the Village, Ella, and with the help of tips from DJ friends. Eventually the owners saw how hard I was working and offered me my first residency. I did everything for that gig from DJing it to promoting it to designing flyers and sourcing live acts and photographers. While I was learning as I went in regards to my technical skills, people were really impressed with my vast wealth of music knowledge and ability to read the crowds and fill the rooms. Music has always been my passion so between that knowledge and my business skills I was really able to begin developing my brand.
Coming from Massachusetts and New York and now living in Los Angeles, how has that influenced your music?
That is a great question! Wow, those are some major cities with serious rivalries…. I definitely developed my love for music and specifically emerging artists from a young age. When I was in high school I was the kid who was going to see the local bands and working on street teams for various acts. My ‘band crush’ at the time was definitely Dispatch- a jam band from Boston. This band that I saw at one point perform at Brandeis College to about 15 attendees eventually went on to sell out Madison Square Garden 3 nights in a row — the first Indie band to sell out The Garden on their own! Boston definitely gave me a taste of loyalty to local bands like Dispatch, Guster, and The Flogging Mollys. I went to Dave Matthews Band, James Taylor, Steve Miller, Phish and The Allman Brothers concerts every time they came to town. I think Boston in general has a lot of heart and loyalty to artists every step of the way.
Then in NY I was working in various facets of the music industry primarily identifying and working with independent artists. I was often credited in NYC as the ‘person who kept bringing Mickey Avalon’ to town as his star started to rise. I would book him a lot for brand events! There was something so wild and uninhibited in Mickey. I was booking other upcoming artists including Chromeo, Justice, the Presets, and Ultraviolet Sound. I also worked on the management team of my good friends The Raveonettes and have seen them through 5 albums and more concerts in more cities than I can begin to name! NYC was all about the emerging artists and breaking records to smart crowds.
Moving to LA definitely pushed me into a new zone. DJing Hollywood hotspots and celebrity parties meant a demand for more mainstream hits and pop/hip-hop. My way of keeping the ‘Top 40’s’ fresh is by constantly finding dope remixes and insane mashups. So I may play a song that ‘everyone loves’ but always with my own twists on it. I also take a lot of risks and mix in all kinds of random selections into my sets to keep it interesting and different than the expected Hollywood DJ sets. In my down time in LA I have been able to really get into one of my favorite personal music realms: old school west coast hip-hop! Nothing like cruising to the beach listening to Dre rapping about Cali!
Who are your mentors or idols that you gain inspiration from?
Obviously DJ AM was an incredible mentor to me from the get-go. He was as nice a friend as he was a talented DJ. I miss him and often wish he could see me today! I have been especially inspired by some of the industry people I have worked with, specifically the Raveonettes Team. The Producer of The Raveonettes, Richard Gottehrer (the legendary producer who wrote hits “I Want Candy” and “My Boyfriend’s Back”), and his managing partner Scott Cohen have always been encouraging and hugely inspiring. Whenever we are in the same city we will have dinner and catch up. Richard is still like an excited kid — so in love with music and creating hits. His energy at his age definitely inspires me. Scott also has an incredible knack for discovering great bands to develop. His latest, The Dum Dum Girls, were a favorite of mine before I even knew he was involved. Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo of The Raveonettes always inspire me. They are both so unbelievably talented on every level as musicians, yet as humble and cool as the day I met them when they were just releasing their first EP. They always make time for me and we support each other’s work. They gave me my first official remix to produce!
What are your favorite cities, venues, or events to spin for?
I really have had incredible experiences DJing in Toronto! I feel like the crowd is youthful and so full of energy. Every time I have DJed there the crowd is on their feet raging all night long. You really can’t beat that! I also love spinning at Webster Hall in NYC. Webster Hall is not only a staple in NYC but the crowd is SO diverse and ‘anything goes.’ It’s such a melting pot of people in the greatest way that only happens in the Big Apple. They pack that place every weekend and I love playing the same stage that has been home to some of my favorite artists. Last time I played there was the night after I saw NIN perform. I went to India as well recently and it was incredible to play there. People were just excited to see me and hear the tunes. I would love to go back! And I LOVE my current residency at The Mondrian Hotel in LA every Saturday night and summer pool parties. Great vibe and a wild crowd- that place is like family!
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Rock n’ Roll meets Bohemian Chic. I went through a period in NY where I would only wear black. Since moving to LA I had to lighten up a bit, so now it’s more eclectic. It’s hard to look as angry when it’s sunny everyday! I love to mix and match looks and price points.
What are your favorite brands?
Chanel statement jewelry, Helmut Lang pants and leggings, Alexander McQueen shades, Diesel Black Gold jackets, MAC makeup, Hudson jeans, Andrew Marc leather bombers, FRESH Body products, Rebecca Minkoff handbags, Pamela Love jewelry, Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony and Mason dresses, Giuseppe Zanotti, Miu Miu and Ryan Haber Collection Heels, Proenza Schouler handbags, Agent Provocateur lingerie and Alexander Wang separates. And I love Victoria’s Secret everything — I collaborate with them a lot and am totally addicted to everything girly they make!
You’ve done some modeling too and look oh so hot! Any plans to pursue that realm?
Ha! Why thank you! I think of it more as modeling for my ‘brand’ as opposed to modeling as a model. I’m pretty small and curvy- I don’t know if they make pint-sized models these days? I think I will stick to my day job; however I would LOVE to model for cool various brands and product lines from an endorsement angle!
Any upcoming projects we can look forward to? Any “dream” collabs you’d wish to work with?
2012 just started with a bang in India, so I really feel like the sky is the limit this year. I signed on as a celebrity partner alongside stars such as Katy Perry and Chelsea Handler for the “SoHo Project” that supports top charities – always a great feeling! I also started the new year launching an incredible performance collaboration with America’s Next Top Model winner and drummer, CariDee English, called “Luv & English.” I DJ and she rocks out on the drums for events. It is a really exciting “high-energy, girl power, fashion forward” performance and we just performed for the McLaren Beverly Hills opening with host Jay Leno. I’m excited to see where that goes in the months ahead!
My dream would be to go on some tour dates with an idol of mine like Madonna, or The SPICE GIRLS. Mel B is a close friend and I am always asking when they will have another reunion! I would love even more projects with other trendsetting brands—MAC & Miu Miu for example, would be a lot of fun! Continuing my work in the studio is also high on my list.
If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing?
Cooking is my favorite hobby, but I have dreams of having my own travel show! I LOVE touring for gigs and seeing the world as I spin. You hear that Travel Channel? Karmaloop TV?! I am available for a fresh new show “straight from DJ booths around the world.” But no matter what I do it will likely always involve music and sharing my life with the people that I love!
Stay up with Lindsay!