Resuming our series with Atlanta's Zaida who offers a breath of much-needed fresh air, layering tracks with effects, integrating genres and drops that make for an uplifting mix that gradually introduces more chaos with its creativity. She's also currently taking donations at her gofundme, if you're able to support.
Tell us about this mix:
I became a DJ specifically because I love clubbing, nightlife for me was always important. I’m speaking in past tense for obvious reason. This pandemic has been life altering for my relationships—now I don’t just make friends when I’m out dancing or playing out! That said before this all began, Atlanta was really picking up in terms of defining its underground identity. We have a diverse range of crews and producers, so the language of our underground dance scene was in a new era. That said, I didn’t want to capture what ATL club life was like before covid, but what I think it could become if we keep this shit up. It’s not just Atlanta either; Nashville and Knoxville, both have amazing scenes and we all communicate. So for me, this is me doing my part—taking the collective identity of our steppers and presenting it to platforms like Discwoman. We have so many stories to tell, and that is what I needed this mix to do.
When did you start DJing?
I started djing full on two and a half years ago. I finally got to a place where survival was not my driving force. A place where I now had the means to participate in something other than working my ass off five days a week. I asked some friends who are incredibly accomplished DJ/Producers in their own rite to teach me. They made me practice scratches and lent me a really old CDJ-1000, a basic two channel mixer, and a Serato box. I had a really busted laptop and sometimes it would just die in the middle of a set. That’s how I learned though, it made handling nicer equipment so much easier.
After practicing in my bedroom for a year, a friend who is a GM at a local and popular college bar asked me if I could fill in as a DJ. He called like five other people before my best friend suggested me! I resisted at first, but my first gig was an absolute success. It was the first time I connected with a crowd from behind the decks and to be honest, I still think about it even though I’ve played much bigger nights
Favorite party ever played:
The best party I’ve ever played is A Club Called Rhonda. The promoters wanted my friend Leonce (Morph) to bring a womxn DJ from Atlanta. He brought me along and we played their SF and LA nights. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it. The vibe is magnificent and very sexy; they definitely provide a singular nightlife experience.
My favorite DJ is Bearcat. Hands down. The way she forms an entirely connected narrative in a set is just....whew!
My favorite producer is a tie between Helix, my mentor, and DMX Krew.
Pet peeve when DJing:
My biggest pet peeve is when I have to do sound on my own. Please, I do NOT want to be responsible for your expensive PA system.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever gotten?
The best compliment I ever got was applause following a show I played in LA. I almost cried haha.
Place you’d like to play:
I’d love the opportunity to play Toronto, Chicago, and London. I think they would like me in those places!
Something you want everyone to know about you:
As a trans-femme who DJs, I’m always going to prioritize the needs of the girls, which means I am always going to carry as hard as I possibly can when I command the floor. My goal is to make an atmosphere that a femme queen could walk into and be comfortable in and music can do that—it has that power.