News__ To the Middle East: DJ Venus X

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You may have heard one of the songs from DJ Venus X's sets in your last cab ride

Words: Zoy Britton
Photo: Genel Ambrose

If, like us, you have an eclectically nasty taste in music, then you've definitely had those moments where you wished to the stars above for an unexpected but amazing collab. Imagine Aphex Twin and Morcheeba merging to create ambient beauty in staccato rhythms. Cue DJ Venus X. Her extensive cultural exposure shines through her eclectic DJ sets as she incorporates contemporary hip hop hits like Meek Mill's "House Party" with more abstract underground music like Syrian dabke songs and beauty ad sound bites. Venus' intelligent yet provocatively fun DJ sets have her in high demand by your mama's mama's favorite designers and artists (yeah, it's that deep).

We saw Venus, hair back in cornrows rocking a Hood By Air sweatshirt, amongst a sea of jalibait skaters at the AirWalk event in NYC's LES this past Wednesday. As she was getting ready to DJ, we discussed everything from her obsession with Middle Eastern music, feeling out the "musical soul" of a venue and what's next on the bill.

So you’ve mentioned that Kuwaiti producer Fatima Al Qadiri is one of your mentors and you’ve been incorporating that Middle Eastern theme into your sets. Would you characterize your music chocies as more downtempo like Niyaz or uptempo like, say Cheb Mami?

No, more like Syrian dabke, like pretty upbeat dance music. I happened to DJ a party a couple weeks ago and I downloaded a bunch of it so I had some and I feel like nowadays there’s like a really heavy presence of Middle Eastern people so we’re constantly being bombarded by this sound because every taxi we get into is like “boom boom boom Middle East” I do it too so it was just like a trigger and also when you do something like that, if there’s a Middle Eastern person in the room they’re going to feel connected in a different way.

So the DJ experience is that for you, finding those people in the crowd and finding a locus point of connection?

Yeah, a little bit with everybody as opposed to just being ignorant or just being like Spanish or radio or Top 40. Just try to be honest.

Right, and get to the soul.


Music is intended to bring the soul to the surface.

It’s not that hard but people are still very thrown off by it because I’ll play songs they haven’t heard in like 12 years or something but if it makes you happy, whatever.

Typically do you get scenes where people are like forget this or do they let themselves just ease into it and dance?

No, I mean people trust me at this point, if they’re there then they usually do and if they don’t then I don’t know.

Like fuck it?

Yeah pretty much. We have a pretty loyal crowd in general that follows everything that’s going on and I appreciate it.

What about Ghe2oGoth1k? Any new projects for you and $hayne?

We’re throwing a release party with V Magazine at the end of this month, they’re putting out a bunch of Hood by Air stuff so we’re going to do a big Ghe2oGoth1k event with them. We don’t have a store of our own so we’re just working on them putting out the line and from there just looking for a space to do parties but like the chaos and lack of order is what makes it really special. Also, when artists come into town and they have a space we’ll do like one- offs so just like re- grouping. We’ve all been doing a lot of side- projects the last six months so everybody’s just like exploding on their own, it’s dope and now we’re just trying to sell some shirts and get back into the swing and take the temperature of New York and see what’s the next move to keep it fun.

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