We were introduced to Jaqi Sparro through Russel E.L. Butler when we were looking for local artists in Oakland/Sf to play our first DW party out there. She opened the party with such force and vigor, it undoubtedly set the tone for the whole event and this mix hits exactly the same chord: relentless yet dynamic which embodies her affection for rave culture. Now she’s moved east coast and is one of the most exciting techno DJs rising in NYC at this minute.
tell us about this mix
I recorded it on a Sunday, in one take with a bit of deliberation and a bit of spontaneity. It was snowing out. It’s not really genre specific but has a bit of techno and some broken beat. Its a narrative inspired by variation, interstice, and my first winter in New York. As a multiracial queer person of color, my approach to dance music is influenced by fluidity and intersectional experiences.
when did you start djing?
I first learned to DJ with drum and bass records about 15 years ago in my friend’s basement. We both live on separate coasts now, but we still find ourselves playing out together! I started to really play out maybe 8 years ago in DIY art spaces in SF and Oakland.
I think it was the after party of an avant garde drag show at an underground space in San Francisco. I remember being deeply inspired by performances from Boychild and Dia Dear that evening.
favorite party ever played:
Most memorable was on the Nile in Egypt. I played outdoors on a boat the evening after visiting the Hathor temple during the winter solstice in 2012. Most recently I had a lot of fun playing at Unter at the end of January. Unter really takes me back to those early days.
Volvox is consistently a favorite. Umfang is rad. Love all Discwoman line ups really. I always love hearing Venus X and Juliana Huxtable play in the way they mash up genres.
So hard to pick one! I dig Xosar and Inga Mauer right now.
pet peeve when djing:
Bad vibes because love is the message
what’s best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
A set I played being “seductive and driving but not too hard” Lol loved that description.
place you’d like to play:
I used to go to outdoor raves in the Oakland hills in the mid to late 90s. I love playing outdoor situations under the stars or in the woods. Really I like to play anywhere the vibe is good. New York has been such a great experience so far and I want to keep playing more locally for now.
something you want everyone to know about you:
I’m a middle school humanities and social justice educator with a passion in anti-bias education. I teach literature with an approach to education that gives voice to marginalized and non-dominant narratives. My students this year have had deep conversations on intersectionality, white privilege/supremacy, non-dominant narratives of immigration in NYC and the Silk road. I’m inspired by my students everyday. I also teach/mentor other educators in implementing mindfulness and social emotional learning curriculum. So that’s my day job, juggling grading papers, teaching diverse canons of literature, and non-dominant histories. It influences what I play out and the kind of mixes I put together. I guess living with history every day makes makes me realize what a necessity, privilege and responsibility it is to have music as a form of expression.