Athena developed a passion for deejaying as a teenager and has been a mainstay in Dallas' drum and bass scene ever since. You can find her serving drum and bass platters at Two Tone's Thursday residency at Wit's End in Deep Ellum. But her work and experience aren't limited to that genre. For this week's Dallas Observer mixtape, Athena delivers a Latin-inspired mix. It's a proper floor filler and very likely to encourage sporadic booty shaking.
How did you get started deejaying?
When I was in middle school, I had the privilege of meeting a good friend, Tusi, who was Samoan and had a huge family. Her older sisters showed us a DJ Keoki CD, and we were basically hooked. Finally, I made it to my first rave shortly after at the International Ballroom (aka the I Ball) in Houston and saw DJ Hardware from Florida, and he made me forget every teenage worry I had, and I danced the night away in total bliss.
That was the moment at 14 when I knew that I wanted to make people forget all their worries and give them a moment of peace and happiness from the crazy world we live in, and it was basically downhill from there into the deep hole of raving, promoting and deejaying.
I worked with various promotion companies in Houston, Austin and Dallas — which included everything from raves to hip-hop and R&B artists — from the time I was 15 years old until now. My mom initially fought me tooth and nail about it but then really saw the passion I had for showing people new music they never knew existed. Then she jumped on board and showed support by helping me pick up flyers and taking me to distribute them and taking me to local record shops like Chemistry and Atomic Records, which started a very expensive vinyl habit.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The mix was made with two Pioneer 2000 CDJs and a Pioneer DJM-S9 mixer. Picking the tracks was pretty easy, considering I just took all my favorite pieces out of various moombah/booty bass sets I had done the past four years. I just wanted a fun, booty-popping mix that everyone could enjoy and dance to at one point or another in it. Everyone mostly knows me for spinning drum and bass, so I just wanted to show the other side of me with some cumbia, moombahton, dance hall, booty bass good feels.
What has been your most significant musical experience of the past year?
I finally made it to Sun and Bass in San Teodoro, Italy, which was everything and more than I could have imagined: laying on beach with a group of 10 friends from Texas and listening to our favorite artists in a breathtaking setting.
After that, I was lucky enough to go to Pula, Croatia, to Outlook festival for the second time and see more of my favorite artists, like Coki, Mala, Shyfx, Dub Phizix, Goldie, Jenna G and Randall, which are hard artists to see in the States.
That trip got me so motivated to come back home and make music and DJ as much as possible. Ever since then I have been spinning on my decks every day and enrolled in production classes. I am ready to see what I do in 2018.
Are there any producers or DJs in particular who have your attention right now?
My top three local Texas producers this year would be Darren Cody, Lacey and Tony Mundaca, and Leroy Bella and Pach Briones.
Darren Cody, aka DLO, is from Austin. He just did another drum and bass release on Force Recordings. Lacey and Tony Mundaca, aka Freshtildeath and Moondoctor, are from San Antonio. They own Freshmoon Records and have been smashing out great tunes from drum and bass to juke to their recent work with Teklife.
Leroy Bella and Pach Briones, aka Santa Muerte, are from Houston. They are smashing it around the globe with trap, hip-hop, and dembow with a Latin twist. All three of these artists I have seen grow and develop over the past couple of years, and it is great to have such talented Texas artists putting their work in.
Where do you like to dig for tracks — online or in physical stores?
When I travel, the first thing I like to do is hunt a local record store down to try and find some unique picks. I used to buy vinyl through Chemical and Redeye records, but since Chemical shut down it, seems I can find more exclusive picks going directly though the record labels' websites. As for digital, I go to SoundCloud mostly and, again, to the actual record labels' websites. Locally, Josey Records is my most go-to record store; they always have a great selection.
What local DJ nights or gigs do you frequent?
Two Tone at Wit's End, Beauty Bar, Served Sundays at Wit's End, LatinX at the Black House — I'm sad to say the more I work on music, the less I have gone out.
Which genres get your attention outside of dance?
Anything that grabs your soul and makes you feel like life is beautiful — everything from heavy metal to punk, soul, hip-hop and cumbia.
What gigs or releases do you have coming up?
Of course Two Tone every Thursday at Wit's End. I am mostly excited about our December edition with Makoto from Japan on Dec. 21. He's definitely one of my favorites, and I don’t remember the last time he was in Texas, but I saw him in Italy and I danced all night. It makes me happy we can bring him down and I can share that moment with my friends in Texas.
I have a couple of shows in December that are getting finalized soon, and you can catch them on my personal Facebook page. I will also be doing a podcast on Dec. 15 with my DNB Girls crew. We have a monthly podcast, which you can find here.
1. "Zombies" — Bro Safari UFO
2. "Broken Hearts" — Kito , Rejia Lee
3. "Boink" — LeDoom
4. "Attracting Flies" — Aluna George
5. "Chica Sucia" — Burn the Disco, CMC, 505
6. "watch out for this" — woogie
7. "Funk to the Brain" — Major Lazor
8. "Mami Whine It Up" — Kingman Fire
9. "Colombiana" — 3F3XT
10. "Original Woman" — Self Help
11. "Viva La Bumuya" — MJLX Morrison X RGGD
12. "Devoted" — Sabo
13. "Pa La Palomaton" — No Joda
14. "Cumbiatron" — Le Doom, Tony Mudaca
15. "Danza" — Dead Pixel
16. "Touch the Ground" — JSTJR X Vonzie
17. "Boy oh Boy" — Diplo, GTA
18. "Mi Sombrero" — Frank Lucano
19. "One Hand" — Baaze Bootleg
20. "Wine & Kotch" — Charli Black
21. "Dottie" — Sambo Frnkie
22. "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" — Celia Cruz
23. "Dibby Sound" — Benedetto
24. "Dile" — Don Omar
25. "La Dembowsana" — Erik Jaimez
26. "Teta Teta Teta" — Happy Colors
27. "Riverside" — Dave Nada