Tunes: Juliana Huxtable

Juliana Huxtable is a DJ, artist, model and poet based in New York, where she also founded the weekly club night SHOCK VALUE.

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Photo Credit: Hayley Pisatur, at XTAPUSSY

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am artist, DJ, poet and MORE.

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Tumblr.com – My dashboard is a source of inspiration, knowledge, news, and a way of tracking and archiving, my interests and research and seeing the way others do the same. There is a real sense of community that supports it as a platform for artistic experimentation. It is also the platform through which I really came to birth as an artist. I check it semi-regularly now, but rarely post because I am less active due to the projects I’ve got going on.

AAaaarg.org – AAaaarg is an online database of largely theoretical and academic books, texts and essays — it’s a place where there is a dissemination of tools of knowledge freely and openly — books that might otherwise be too expensive, online courses that bring esoteric and obscure academic texts into conversations with current topics in media, theory, philosophy, art etc. It’s a beautiful example of how the web, with its various means of storage, indexing, and social interface can become a really radical and productive space. AAaaarg made getting through college possible and has enabled so much research that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, or really have a curated context for.

dotheastralplane.com – This is one of my favorite sites/blogs for club and dance music. The creators and contributors treat club music — in the form of tracks, djs, producers and/or mixes — as texts deserving of writing and criticism that establishes a cultural, historical, social, and regional context. Their mixes and compilations are also flawless, spanning artists and themes from different genders, regions, communities and sub-genres. I think what they’re doing is so important and will continue be a vital resource and archive in the future.

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Photo Credit: Paige Silveria- Purple Magazine, with Kembra Pfahler

How has living in New York affected your music? Right now, I love that the complexity of New York’s various infrastructures, be the social, racial, cultural etc, has merged with the dynamics of networking and information available online. For much of America, although the internet offers so many cultural products and aggregators, the diversity and potential is not reflected in the physical IRL world. I know this first hand from growing up in a small town in TX. In NYC, the structures around me both reflect and lend themselves and opportunities to engage the endless languages, nationalities, and subcultures around me, especially in music. As a DJ, it has made my sound wider in breadth and more dynamic in its ability to express a sentiment or vision over a ‘genre’ per se. A walk from downtown Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge, into the financial district and into Chinatown with any stops I make along the way, is rich palette for musical inspiration. When I hear, see or observe on the streets, I have a starting point to enter into musical worlds that I would otherwise not know. The possibilities of searching the net are exploded when you have so much going on around you. It has made my music more global, variable and at the same time gives me so much more material from which to craft my own vision.

Carla Tramullas

Carla Tramullas

How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I have been in New York for around five years. As soon as I was old enough to be cognizant of my own aspirations and dreams, I knew I would live in New York. It wasn’t ever a question and I did what I needed to get here and support myself. It’s the only city with this diversity and the only place that someone like me could really tolerate life in America. It is its own universe — dense, rich and so diverse.

 

 

What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? The last mix I put out was made during and after a really nasty break-up I was having. I was necessary for me to channel my musical tastes through a specific set of emotions — female rage, emotional schizophrenia, a loss of feeling at place existentially, nostalgia, and a diluted or fledging sense of independence or triumph — and that was a really powerful and new way to process music for dj-ing. So lately I’ve been inspired by creating emotional spaces that use club music, and the dancing they induce as an alternative to pleasure or escapism. Music is a tool of exorcism or a means to quasi-religious ecstatic release. It’s translated to a lot of screaming, crying, aggressive noise, spoken word, and the vocals of women on the verge…

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m working on a (past due 😐 ) mix for OAK NYC, a remix for one of my favorite artists, the next iteration of SHOCK VALUE, and a lot of work towards an installation and performance in fall and a solo show of my work for early next year.

If you were a drink, what drink would you be? It would be three drinks in the following order:

I: A juice with green apple, ginger, beet, kale, and lemon

II: 
1 part tequila, 
1 part prosecco
, 1 part seltzer water, pomegranate seeds,
 juice of half a lime
, and an orange twist

III: 1 large, strong cup of yerba mate

 

 

How did your interest in music begin? I was raised to love music. Growing up, I studied classical piano, sang in three choirs at my church, and could not satisfy my need for new music. I had a huge tape and CD collection from an early age, and although I no longer play piano or sing, music has always been a necessary and vital part of my life. In college, my school brought many great acts that influenced me (The Black Dice show my sophomore year changed my life) and I was sucked into the world of music blogs and Myspace (when that was a thing). I had my own blog and was the go-to person to play music at parties. My love for and engagement with music has only grown since then.

What other musicians are you interested in right now? I’ve recently revisited an obsession with Water Borders. I love the new music coming from Chae Buttuh and bbymutha. I just saw SETH, a new outfit by Gobby & Jamie Krasner, live and I fell in love with their sound. I’m also still listening to the new Bjork album nonstop.

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? This is already in the works… so I’ll let it speak for itself when it comes out later this year.

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Photo Credit: New York Magazine

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after hearing your music? Maybe be a bit confused, hopefully they got sucked into a world or an emotion and leave feeling like the know it better or maybe even wrestled with it or found new nuances in how it plays out in their body and mind.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? My favorite places in the city are constantly changing, so picking one is nearly impossible. I generally love being near bodies of water and in direct communion with the sun or in night spaces where lights, sound, music and different forms of intoxication come together to take me to a place of fantasy and surreality (usually a basement).

Most embarrassing moment on stage? Luckily the moments I’m embarrassed by, other people rarely noticed, so it has been pretty easy to get by. Once my nipple was hanging out of my blouse while I was playing and I had no clue, so I guess that counts?

 

 

What were you like in high school? Big hair, loud mouth, a bit of a bookworm, a debater, and impatient to get out of my hometown.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? The best reactions are always unspoken — it’s when you see people lose their minds in dance — I had a group of toddlers doing the most beautiful interpretive club dances to my set at the Brooklyn Museum last week, so as of late that is my favorite. I also melted a little inside when my younger siblings Josh and Noel (separately) saw me play. They were so happy and in love with the music. My brother also clocked all of my science fiction references and couldn’t stop smiling.

The worst is playing an event where someone hires me based on how I look with no clue as to what I’ll play and tries to control me. I played a fashion week party once where I was told on more than one occasion to “play more top 40 and Beyoncé” I responded with a Marilyn Manson remix and I was ushered offstage to a David Guetta (or something of the like) remix. I guess that was the worst and one of the best responses in some ways…

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Photo Credit: Jason Rodgers, at HOLY MOUNTAIN