Tunes: Teen Witch

Teen Witch is Zain Curtis. He is a DJ and is the creator of Teen Witch Magazine; he also curates #AREA69 and Total Therapy.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m Teen Witch or Teen Witch Fan Club. Started messing around with images and audio under that name around 2009. Created a Tumblr and scanned old J-14 photo shoots, posted odd pop culture obsessions and butterflies. Somehow that just became my aesthetic ever since. I began a queer-based zine where I replaced teen idols with my friends and started a handful of club nights around the city. I make t-shirts, jewelry, selling cool clothes I find…whatever else to ensure that I don’t have to be woken up by an alarm clock ever again.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? The next issue of my zine is due, but I’m choosing to understand music and DJing more. I want to start creating original tracks this year other than edits. Lots of summer party planning, New shirts, stickers, mixes. Slowly turning my Tumblr into a music blog ran by a bunch of teenagers? We’ll see.

How did your interest in music begin? I think the first time I ever listened to a full album was TLC’s CrazySexyCool. I begged my mom to let me get it when she was doing one of those 12 CDs for 1 cent offers. I played it over and over, staring at the album art, writing the lyrics with crayon and taping them on my walls. With every song I had a music video envisioned. I just remember the colors being so good. Then I moved on to No Doubt and after that the Spice Girls. I always gravitated toward groups that had a strong image. I believe all music has to have some visual quality to it to make it whole.

 

 

If you had to explain your music to a stranger, what would you say? I honestly have the most trouble doing this, or just what my whole thing is about. I don’t get it either sometimes, maybe it’s better that way. Nothing has to be explained just experienced. I did over hear someone describing my club night as “a bunch of alien goths”. I like hearing how people that’re not totally engaged view the stuff or what category they end up putting it in. Even if its really wrong.

What kinds of music/what musicians are influencing your work right now? I’m really into a lot of artists on Soundcloud that share similar styles of chopped up pop samples with watery beats. Er I don’t know how to really explain sound, but Robokid, Jailo, AObeats are my favorite right now. It just puts me in a good mood.

Do you get fan mail? What’s been the most exciting thing you have received from a fan? I do every now and then and it will be short and sweet anons. The best one I ever got is from this kid overseas it made me tear up. I never realized how much I’m able to impact others, and especially people that I’ve never met.

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What do you do when you’re not working on music? Watch Teen Mom, Google image search “butterfly face paint”, giving “BFF” stick and poke tattoos to only myself, looking up which Spice Girl has the most net worth (Posh), looking through your tagged photos on Facebook. Typical things.

What are you really excited about right now? Summer! Obviously everyone is. I’ve been planning some really good events, but just to be able to wake up in whatever I’m wearing and going to the corner store or anywhere is ideal.

Any upcoming shows or tours we should know about? Playing with MikeQ at Primary on May 15th. I DJ a blacklight party every third Friday of the month at Exit. A new party with Johnny Love, Soft Leather, at East Room every third Saturday. On the 23rd I’m opening for Katey Red at Empty Bottle. On Memorial Day we’re having a 12-hour long BBQ in my back yard with DJs broadcasted on SPF420. That week I throw a monthly party at Berlin called Total Therapy last Thursdays with DJ Pluto. Then on the 31st I’m playing at Northwestern’s Dillo Day festival with Chance the Rapper!

 

 

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music? Haha, I can say recently when I was opening for Machinedrum’s live set. I sometimes go really left field, I was playing some Hardstyle track and was really feeling myself. I looked up and the crowd was all just standing on the dance floor waiting for him to start. One guy literally had his hands over his ears. That was probably the worst I can think of.