Mix It Up
This DJ blends east and west coast tunes to get the club crowd on its feet
Story by Annalise Cho / Photography by Ellen Jong
Mia Moretti bucks the recent trend of socialite / model DJs, somewhat. She doesn’t have a contract with a fashion house (yet), and she does actually spin vinyl (or at least did). As a matter of fact she learned her DJ chops hanging out with buddy Cut Chemist, king of the vinyl archeologists, dusty-groove specialist ne plus ultra. With that kind of pedigree, it’s not surprising that for her, job one isn’t being a cover girl — it’s moving butts. “Everyone who’s ever said to me they wanted to learn to DJ, I’ve just said ‘Well start listening to music’,” she explains. “It’s about creating the environment. You can be the best most technical DJ in the world, but if you can’t walk into a room and know what everyone wants to hear to have a good time . . . ”
Born in San Francisco, Moretti spent seven years in Los Angeles before relocating to the east coast a little over a year ago. An actress before she was a DJ, she was doing both in LA, leading a pretty comfortable lifestyle. “You work a couple days a week and you’re out every night with friends, and two years go by like that!” She knew she needed to make a change if she was really going to grow. “It was such a comfortable lifestyle,” she recalls. “It was too comfortable, and I wanted to push myself and I’m lazy! So I knew I had to put myself in an environment where I was more challenged.”
But it wasn’t easy, straight off the bat. For one thing, musical styles were different on the east coast. “I had sent out a bunch of mixtapes,” she says. “And a friend told me I should learn how to play hip-hop and play less electro in NYC. It’s funny because all the parties that he promotes are now getting into this electro shit that seems so old to me.” Even so, she still had to fly back to LA once a month or so, just to get the money to carry on being a New Yorker. But after a few months she caught on, and now spins regularly at The Woods in Williamsburg, Home Sweet Home, rock night at The Eldridge, and a whole bunch of chic events around town. So maybe cover girl status and fashion-house affiliation aren’t so far away. That’s the trouble with being off-trend. Life just comes around to your side of things, and before you know it, you’re the coolest kid on the block. Could be Mia Moretti is just about to play that role, right after she plays the next record.