The genre-tempo-decade-shifting master, DJ Bus Replacement Service, graces us with her unique skillset of for our latest mix installment of extravagance and beautiful confusion. Check out mix Q&A below:
Photo/Photoshop credit: DJBRS
Tell us about this mix:
This is a recording my set from at Tempio del Futuro Perduto in Milan last November. It’s a good representattion of the essentials in my current gigs: a base layer of harder techno; donk; whatever else feels right from yodelling trap to Cantonese hip-hop. Finally, I always like to add something to shamelessly pander to the local crowd, in this case a handful of Italian/Italo/Italy-adjacent tracks to keep the crowd dancing and confused at the same time.
When did you start DJing?
I had a radio show at my university’s radio station in rural Indiana in the US. It was one of the few ways my small group of techno/drum & bass/hardcore-loving friends and I could share this hobby, in between going to Chicago for the occasional mega-rave and flyers to match.
I remember DJing at a Theta Xi frat party when I was in uni. I was quite possibly playing The Mighty Dub Katz’ “Magic Carpet Ride” when one of the speakers spontaneously combusted. No charges were filed.
My first gigs as DJ BRS happened between 2011-2012 in Hakodate, Japan, Brighton for one of Henry [ex-ex-Shitmat]’s Wrong Music shindigs, and Bang Face Weekender in Newquay. At Bang Face Weekender, I DJed in an impossibly oversized shark costume. There were no eyeholes, so I had to see through the red semi-opaque mouth area. My arms stuck out through a pair of pant legs sewn into the mouth. I played on Ableton back then, so I could always use one arm to keep the shark head from drooping over my face.
Here I am (with Shitmat) at that gig: https://bit.ly/2S18rdf
Favorite party ever played:
This is a tough question—several gigs come to mind with special memories from each one. Playing at festivals like Sonár and Unsound are definitely highlights that any DJ would be happy to have in their portfolio.
But my favourite for personal and juvenile reasons is the first Chin Stroke Soundclash I did with MC Queerhawk vs. DJ Detweiler & MC Dadmagnet. In between the DJ battle rounds, Queerhawk said something to the crowd that had me laughing in tears. However, what he said is totally unsuitable for repeating in this interview.
It has to be Surgeon, and not just because he happens to be my husband of 17 years. We are chalk & cheese in many ways, but I’d be surprised if I haven’t been influenced by the way he puts together a set and performs to an audience, as well as how to cope with the travel and crazy hours. The musicality of a set is the most important thing I’ve learned from him; it’s never been about being loyal to one piece of equipment or how well you can mix a set consisting of music from an identical sound palette. Another important thing I learned from him is having conviction in what you do, no matter what is in fashion at the moment. But it’s helpful to be open to discovering something that adds a new dimension to what I already do, and broaden my artistic range without compromising my personality.
Honourable mentions for DJs who I feel embody those things I mentioned, and seeing them play is always like attending a masterclass: Artwork, Eye-D, Jane Fitz, Justin Aulis Long, Jeff Mills, DJ Pete, Shyboi
Yasutaka Nataka—circa 2007-2013—singlehandedly made J-Pop a tit-rushing joy to listen to when he was the producer for Perfume, Capsule and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu during that imperial period. He still produces albums for them, but his current formula of sparser, mainstream-friendly EDM musical arrangements is more hit-or-miss for me. That said, he gave the world a couple of lovely Kylie Minogue remixes, so (almost) all is forgiven.
If I had my way, I would love for Nakata to have a go at making progressive EDM (think Rick Wakeman & Rush levels of musical indulgence), and go nuts with those pumping countermelodies and middle 8s like he used to make. He also seems like the type of guy who could jump around the studio in a cape befitting a progressive rock god.
Pet peeve when DJing:
Turning up to a gig where the promoter and/or sound technicians clearly haven’t checked my technical rider. Basically, I’m a short and almost-blind DJ who doesn’t perform at my best playing while standing on tiptoes and having to compromise & cut back on material to play on under-spec CDJs & mixer. Revising my technical rider is a never-ending quest to draft an idiot-proof document. Along these lines, something that will haunt me forever is when Regis did a live show in the US where he asked for a mixing desk, but was given a guitar amp head instead.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
Someone who saw me play at Nowadays last month said on Twitter: “I laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up.”
Place you’d like to play:
In no particular order:
Hong Kong (my birthplace)
The Berlin S7 ersatzverkehr mit bussen
Something you want everyone to know about you:
My crazy cat lady meter went through the roof when I visited the Lanai Cat Sanctuary in Hawaii recently. I hung out with some of the 650+ cats at this no-kill, open-air facility, ranging from new arrivals at the Kittengarten to senior & special needs cats housed in the Dr. David Theno Senior Center. All the cats are ferals captured on the island of Lanai, and the sanctuary’s existence protects the endangered native bird populations from being decimated by the cats. Double win!
I will be donating half of my gig fees from my upcoming US tour in April to buy cat houses and other essential supplies for their latest site expansion, which will increase their feline capacity to around 1,100 cats. If you’re interested in helping out, you can purchase items from their wishlist at https://smile.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3R35WJ7V1WP7N and ship the items to the sanctuary via their designated Gift Registry Address.