Interview by Ryan Goldade
Words by Ryan Goldade
Photography by Patrick Giang
The Vancouver DJ scene has been considered by many insiders to be saturated. It’s generally considered an extremely difficult city to get work and even harder to keep it. The widespread availability of DJ technology in recent years has created a surplus of overnight DJ’s and caused the veteran DJ’s to scorn new comers. This rift in the scene has made it difficult for new talent to gain a foothold in the industry.
The justalilhype! Crew caught up with DJ Yurie, who definitely fits the description of new talent. However, she is far from the norm. The most notable difference from most DJ’s in the scene is that DJ Yurie is a female. One can imagine the challenges a female DJ would encounter in a male dominated industry; an industry where many female DJ’s are not hired for their musical talent. But despite the adversity of being an up-and-comer, young, and pretty and female, she has shown that true success in this industry comes from talent, determination and networking. Having held down a consistent residency for over a year, she has proven that she is the real deal.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is DJ Yurie, and I’m from Vancouver. I’ve been DJ’ing for three years now and I absolutely love what I do.
How would you describe your DJ style?
I lean towards more progressive house and electro just cause I love the feeling that comes with that. I am versatile as well; I can play hip-hop, top 40, the club mash-ups, that sort of stuff too.
What inspired you to become a DJ?
I was looking for something that I could invest my time into and be really passionate about. I’ve been really passionate about music throughout my entire life so it kind of just came to DJ’ing. My parents, as a gift, introduced me to another female DJ in Vancouver named DJ Leanne. From there, she taught me all the basics of DJ’ing and was really supportive and kind of pushed me in that way.
Would you consider DJ Leanne an inspiration?
Most definitely. It’s hard to find female DJ’s and the fact that she’s really successful really helps too.
Did your classical music background influence you?
Yeah. I started playing piano when I was six years old. When I was eight, I got into classical singing. I stopped piano after ten years because I personally got bored of it and I wanted to do something else. However, I have stuck with classical singing and I really enjoy that.
What is like to be a woman in a male dominated industry like the club scene?
Most of the time it’s a lot of fun but obviously you do come across some of the extremely sexist males. That can be really frustrating because it’s hard to change somebody’s point of view. But otherwise, people have been really receptive to what I do.
You do stick out as a female, obviously. People will be like “oh my gosh, what’s a girl doing up there?” It’s usually positive things.
What’s your involvement with Lavish?
They got my started in the clubbing industry. It’s an all-female promotion group based here in Vancouver. It’s nice to be surrounded by girls because they have sort of the same mentality and they throw events that are more aimed at the female demographic. It’s been a lot of fun. I was doing small events for them and they introduced me to the owner of BLVD 22. That was my first club gig!
How long have you had the residency at BLVD 22?
The club opened January 2011 for New Year’s, and I’ve been there since then. So I had my first club gig on New Year’s Eve!
I feel so blessed and fortunate. I know it’s a really hard industry to get into because there are so many DJ’s now. I’ve been able to make great connections through social media, networking, and word-of-mouth.
What kind of planning and thought do you put into your Mixcloud mixes?
Obviously what I want to hear from each mix is that I improved in some way!
With planning, it takes me about a month or two to acquire songs. I’ll make a playlist of songs I like and at the end of the month I’ll look at the playlist and cut out songs that I don’t think fits and I’ll keep the songs that I really love. From there, if I feel that there’s enough of a flow with the songs, then I’ll make a mix. I’ll sometimes base the mixes on an emotion or a feeling throughout the whole thing: like getting over someone, or just something happy.
I love making mixes but the feedback I get from it is the most rewarding part. My friend once told me “these random people I met in class have your mixes on their iPod!” That’s insane! So they are also a good promoting tool as well.
While you’re relatively new in the scene, you’ve made huge leaps in your career. What kind of advice would you give to an up-and-coming DJ that’s just starting out?
Obviously it starts with practice. I’ve met some DJ’s who had just started and they had the opportunity to open at a club and they’ll be so cocky! You need to enter this industry with the mentality of: no matter how well you do or how many people love your music, you have to able to expand and be versatile. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! You’re always going to be learning something new from the other DJ’s you perform with. You’re always going to be picking tricks along the way.
If you ever start losing you passion for what you do then it’s obviously not right for you! Get out it; don’t ruin it for yourself and ruin it for others. If you’re passionate about it then keep on going; it will be enough motivation.
What are your future goals/projects in the music industry?
Right now I’m in school. I’m taking radio broadcasting at BCIT. I’m really busy with that but once I’m graduated this year, I do plan on getting into producing. I have some really helpful friends that produce who are willing to help me out and get started. I’m really grateful for that. So, getting my ideas out and finally being able to produce is my goal.
Also, mixtapes. I’ve been falling in love with Moombahsoul lately so I’m definitely planning a moombahsoul mixtape.
Can you describe Moombahsoul?
So there’s Moombahton which is a moomba and reggaeton mixture. It has some electronic noises and it’s also really soulful at the sametime. Moombahsoul is a toned down version of moombahton, so it’s more relaxing with more of a hip-hop influence.
I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s something really nice to just relax and chill to.
You came up in the Serato generation, where technology in DJ’ing was already popular. What are your views on Serato and the tech aspect of DJ’ing?
I am a newbie and technology is advancing. I think Serato is a great tool to use because you can do so many tricks with it. It definitely helps you out while performing. I do think it’s important to use vinyl and CDJs and grow your ear. I’ve personally done that and I do know it has helped me not just stare at the screen. That’s not using your ear at all, it’s using your sight and that’s not music. Technology is always advancing so we can hopefully use it advantageously and not in a negative way, which would be staring at the screen.
What is HYPE?
It’s something that is fresh and exciting. Something that you really can’t compare to anything else – that’s why it’s HYPE.