Moderna is the alias of dance music veteran Missy Livingston, the DJ that started playing in a noise band in the 90s and who has had a hand in the success of the record label Ghostly International, is now working on her own musical projects – by the way there are 3 of them. Moderna is a woman who lets her experience speak for her, she doesn’t seem to be planning on retirement, and she knows the importance of staying loyal to the scene in order to maintain its integrity. We talked to her in her most recent visit to Mexico so she could give us a piece of advice on what it means to be a woman in the electronic music industry.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I started at a young age playing in a noise band called The Static Cult, while also booking and promoting indie rock shows in Utah in the 90's. My passion for music led me to start djing and then on to co-founding a music magazine and also promoting events world wide for RE:UP and Ghostly International. After several years of working with so many amazing artists I decided to take a break from the business side and focus more on my creative side, being a full time artist working on my 3 projects Moderna, Modernluv and The Deep.
What do you think about the evolution in the electronic scene?
Personally dance music is ever evolving and that is what draws me to it most. It's refreshing to see independent labels and artists that are doing cool innovative things. For instance Deru's new album 1979 on Friends of Friends it's such a beautiful concept. And Kate Simko with her new project The London Orchestra. At Ghostly we held an amazing art show that featured visual artists which was inspired by the musicians and it went over tremendously. I try to incorporate this mentality with all my projects like with The Deep we are coming up with some futuristic ideas and interactive experiences for the album release. It's been a lot of fun.
Where did you come up with the name Moderna?
Funnily enough, I was in Copenhagen, Denmark about 5 years ago, riding a bike around the city trying to come up with my new artist concept and DJ name, as my old one shalt never be mentioned again – and voila there it was all around me.
Is it any difference in being a woman vs a man in this scene? Why?
Absolutely. There are the obvious reasons but it would take a separate interview for me to get into it. I will say one thing on the matter, talent, experience and commitment should always come before gender. Statistically the percentage of female dj's playing festivals and headlining events is still significantly low, less then 2%. Just with the talented female dj's and producers I know of that number should be much higher.
What is the strangest thing you have experienced in one of your visits to Mexico?
I adore Mexico and have so many fond memories, if I had to choose one it would be the time when a handful of us from Ghostly were in town and took over a club in the basement of a hotel in Mexico City, we threw an impromptu dance rave with Matthew Dear, Ryan Elliott etc. and about an hour into the party there was a huge earthquake but we kept going and then on to an incredible rooftop party that lasted into the morning hours - it was mental Mexico City is so cool.
Who are some of the most innovative DJ’s around in your opinion? Any Mexican talent you like?
So many it's hard for me to narrow down - really hard. I have been a fan of The Nortec Collective for years and I do love The Pachanga Boys, which is 1/2 Rebolledo who comes from Mexico as well as Daniel Maloso, Yumiko, Guada and Dj Puma are some of my Mexico favorites.
What advice would you give to young DJs/Musicians who are trying to get heard in such a big crowd of people chasing the same thing?
I remember a talk I gave to some indie labels in Norway for Brak Music (brak.no) one of the big take aways from that talk was community not competition. I explained the romance of working together as opposed to working against or even not at all, it sounds so obvious but come to find out not many of the labels were reaching out to one another. I feel this is the same thing with most artists. If I was to recommend one important thing it would be to find like minds and build with one another. Remixes and cross promoting events is a really good starting point.
The LAPD has cracked down on an illegal party in LA, something that happens in a lot of places. Do you think it’s important for these type of warehouse parties to exist in the name of electronic music?
The underground is a vital organ to the evolution of dance music culture, it is the heart. It still has to thrive in order for the culture to keep the same integrity it has now. Due to legalities many promoters have moved their events into clubs for the time being. It is important to remain loyal and continue to support the scene where ever it may be. We're still getting away with underground events just on a more intimate level with a "find us if you can" mentality.
What question would you ask a fellow DJ that hasn’t been asked yet?
I would probably ask DJ Harvey the name and artist of each track he plays out.. every single one of them.
What is your dream gig? With who and where would you play?
Robot Heart Burning Man sunrise set with Superpitcher xxoo
This story originally appeared on i-D Mexico.