Over the past couple of months, I have had the pleasure of catching up with Brooklyn based DJ and Producer, Dopeshoes. Coming from the left coast, Dopeshoes hit ground running once she touched down in NYC becoming a household name quick, fast, and in a hurry. As someone who is no stranger to the DJ scene in New York, it would’ve been silly of me to not link with someone who’s achieved more in the city than most DeeJays native to the land of the concrete runway. Her experience and palate on the turntables is exactly why The Couch Sessions elected to feature her for our guest mix. Fortunately I was also able to get her attention and ask her a couple of questions as well. While you’re at it make sure to check out her guest mix and throw on your fuzziest house shoes because it’s THAT time of the year.
Who are you?
Well, my name is Kristen, but I suppose for the purposes of this conversation, I’m Dopeshoes.
What are you?
I’m a DJ and producer, living in Brooklyn, NY.
Why are you here?
In New York? Because I’ve always loved this city, before I ever even set foot in it. And it seemed like the only logical place to pursue my ambitions. Or maybe you meant on this planet, in which case I have no idea.
Last year in an interview with Earmilk, The Internets got to find out a whole lot about DJ Dopeshoes. One thing I personally did not know was that you originally had your turntables set up on the floor. How did that work and what was your first set up DJing?
Ha, well, to answer your question about how that worked, it didn’t. I think I mainly just looked at them out of the corner of my eye for the first set DJing? Ha…well to answer your question about how that worked, it didn’t. I think I mainly just looked at them out of the corner of my eye for the first year or so. It wasn’t until I got them up off the ground that I actually started to fiddle with them. The setup was just two Numark turntables and mixer, which I bought off a friend along with a crate of records, for about $500. I think? As for the quality of the setup, let’s just say I overpaid.
What was the very first thing you set out to do as an aspiring DJ? How did you go about making that happen?
Blend two songs together? Seriously. I didn’t really have lofty DJing ambitions, but it turned out it was something I really enjoyed doing, so it just sort of progressed naturally.
Another thing that I didn’t know was that you initially began DJing thanks to DJ Shadow in order to expand your musical knowledge for music production. How have things progressed for you production wise in 2013?
Things have been progressing steadily, which has been great. I’ve been learning a lot and working on developing my sound, which has been both a rewarding and torturous experience, depending on the day. I was recently tapped to do a remix for a funk band in San Francisco, so it will be exciting to have an official release under my belt.
You moved to NYC not too long ago from the left side of the states, did it require a change in the mentality when it came to how you went/go about acquiring gigs? How does spinning in NYC compare to spinning in San Diego?
Getting gigs in NYC is not all that hard, actually. Getting good gigs, now that’s different. There are plenty of venues that will pay you next to nothing to spin for 6 hours on one working turntables and a mixer that’s held together by beer scum and electrical tape.
What would you say has been your biggest gig to date for you?
Probably opening up for Foster the People at the Natural History Museum. It was really fun, because it was the sort of party where I felt I could just go up there and do my thing, and not worry so much about what
As far as dream gigs go, where would Dopeshoes be and with whom would she be DJing?
I’d love very much to play with Spinna, and Four Tet. That would be kind of an odd bill, but I think we could make it work. As to location, pretty much anywhere, so long as the crowd is open minded and ready to have a good time.
It’s most definitely safe to say that you’ve settled into NYC seeing as you’re extremely active. Would you say that your style of DJing has changed at all as a result of the move? If it has transformed, how so and if it has not, why?
Well, for one thing I’ve gotten more into dance music over the past couple of years, so those are definitely my favorite gigs these days. On the whole I’ve become a much more versatile DJ since I’ve moved to New York. I can’t really say whether this was a personal change, or in response to the demands of the city, but I will say that when you are playing a 5 or 6 hour set, as is often the case here, you’ve got to be able to mix it up a bit, otherwise you-and everyone else-will be bored to tears.
Where can people catch you spinning in the upcoming months?
I’m at the Hudson Hotel every Thursday and doing a party called More Than Enough at LePoisson Rouge every other Saturday. I’ll be doing some other one-offs and random events, which I’ll list on the internets, for those who are curious.
Lastly, can you give some of The Couch Sessions folk 5 songs that they must absolutely listen to asap that they might not check otherwise?
Marian Hill – Lovit
Bongiovanni x Compton Chic – Never Felt So Rite
Janine and the Mixtape – Let It Run
DJ W!ld – Rendez-vous Love
Trentemøller – Hazed