Happy almost spring folks! Celebrate with us by listening to DJ Eko‘s Soultronica, Vol. 2. The mix is mid-tempo, up-tempo, grooveable and even has Ginuwine and an R&B version of Lil Wayne’s “I’m Single” which actually sounds good. Go figure. Eko and I met up for drinks last week—me, whiskey, of course, her, water. She’s so responsible—at Bed-Stuy’s Black Swan where we chatted about everything from why Sacramento sucks (my opinion) to why Diplo’s success is questionable and whether New York is for everyone. The Cali-turned-New York transplant is testing out the Big Apple and I’m glad we’re able to showcase her diverse musical tastes and jams on Parlour. Learn a bit more about the Eko, born Erica Olsen, and check out her mix below. And if you were at SxSW, she was the DJ who rocked with Miguel and Electric Wire Hustle. Enjoy!
Parlour: Born and raised?
DJ Eko: I was a very nomadic kid so I was born in California and raised from Long Beach to San Francisco and most cities in between.
How did you start spinning?
I was a fan of my college radio station my freshman year when a DJ I used to call up with requests told me I should get a show. I did and I spun there for 10 years, I found exactly what I wanted to do. I eventually became the station’s Music Director and a music journalist for Urb Magazine.
Favorite song to play at the height of the party?
I play so many different kinds of events from electronic music festivals to tropical/Latin nights to soul and house, there is no one answer to that question.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I can’t remember so I asked my sister and my mom. Mom said that neither my sister or I were into planning our futures. My sister added that she always caught me singing into the mirror and primping, this makes sense because I’m often photographed singing along to the songs I’m spinning.
Who are you DJ idols?
Rashida, she comes from very grounded musical roots, has good taste, doesn’t have to play pop, DJs for Prince and tours with Kelis. Need I say more? Gilles Peterson, he’s a global, eclectic tastemaker with his own radio program, awards ceremony and amazing, self-curated music festival. Kingdom, he’s a recent favorite. There are a lot of new up-and-coming producers who get gigs and don’t know how to DJ. Kingdom is a jedi of bass music, both producing it in the studio and spinning it based on crowd dynamics.
Who is the most interesting person in the world?
Rick Rubin. With his hand in creating rap music—LL Cool J, Run DMC, the Beastie Boys—with Russell Simmons and then going on to help shape the recording projects of Saul Williams, Adele, Jay Z and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Listening to those projects, I get a sense that he has a jedi way of helping artists discover their best mojo.
What’s your favorite country to visit?
Japan and Brasil, I love the innocence, beauty and structure of Japan and I love the joyfulness, sensuality and rootedness of Brasil.
What’s your favorite saying?
“Leap and the net will appear” from John Burroughs and zen writings.
What piece of clothing do you wear everyday, barring undies?
Wooden jewelry, I don’t leave the house without an accessory made of wood. I just saw Talib Kweli had some wood-framed sunglasses, need to look into those.
What’s the last thing you bought to wear?
Asymmetrical Sunglasses that are, unbeknownst to me, Cazal throwbacks.
Favorite guilty pleasure?
Food: Dun-Wells vegan donuts in Brooklyn
Music: Cassie, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé
TV: “One Piece,” a Japanese Anime show.
Director Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, I watch it over and over and give it to loved ones.
Five favorite songs?
What’s your definition of a good day?
Rolling with friends on any kind of adventure is a happy day in New York. In California, any day I get to surf or walk in the forest is a great day. In life, any day that entails me hitting the airport out of town is an good day.