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Artist in Residence: DJ Di

One of the Island’s most sought after DJs takes time out from the wheels of steel to talk about the art of DJing and what it means to be a DJ on Martha's Vineyard

Whether you know it or not, DJing is an art. It may not be the same kind of art as painting or sculpture, but if you’ve ever tried to blend one song into another and keep an entire room full of people dancing, you know there is a real art to moving a crowd.

Lucky for us, we’ve got a truly talented DJ here all year long. DJ Di, aka Diana Reilly, came to the Island by way of Boston and Mexico City where she grew up. She arrived on the Island in the mid-nineties, right around the time that she started to experiment with being a DJ, and has stuck around ever since.

She is a standard face at any good dance party on the Island and is also an integral part of the crew. We caught up with DJ Di before she kicked off another weekend of gigs to find out more about the life of a Martha’s Vineyard DJ.

 

Why did you first decide to stay on Martha’s Vineyard?

It felt very liberating, a bit left of center, and the people I met were and are simply brilliant.  

 

Why do you continue to stay?

I often question this because I really do miss the city, but I can't seem to get the sand out of my shoes or wash the dirt off of my hands...and our community is just incredible and fun!

 

Why did you start DJing?

I had a part-time job at a record store called "Mystery Train" in Western Mass and was seduced to the turntable side via a fellow co-worker / record addict...the rest all went downhill from there!


What is your involvement with the Pit Stop?

I have the pleasure of assisting with our web presence, graphics, promotion and general volunteering at events and such.  It is such a wonderful and creative crew that I am honored to be a part of.


What is your favorite kind of music to DJ?

Vinyl records on turntables!


What is your favorite kind of music to listen to on a road trip?

Best venue ever, right?! It is like being inside of a speaker...it can really set the stage depending on the mood and destination or even just keep you company. It is also a fun way to revisit old mixes and cds.  I also have the luck of having a cassette player in my truck so I tend to explore my old tapes a bunch in there too.  I just came across an old acid jazz mix from an NYC friend, but I guess my current fave would be cosmic disco re-edit mixes. Ultimately, it is fun to make it a bit cinematic...music to road trip by... 

 

Why do you think DJing is an art?

I think music defined is the "art of sound"...so I guess it could be seen as collage work or performance art (ahem...Ricky Prime!)...I am afraid I may just be a mere finger painter?!  I have seen and met so many different kinds of DJs...some benign and some ridiculously technical who manipulate turntables in ways that are so innovative and experimental (ahem...battle DJs). It really can be so incredibly artistic, I almost hate to define it in any sort of particular way.

I like the fleeting experience of it...art for a night, brief moment in time, blip on the radar...disposable?  I also like the collaborative nature of it...such as...I have seen way cooler "art" looking out on the dance floor...(ahem...Jefferson!) Make no mistake, the Vineyard is home to some of the most creative booty shaking across the universe and beyond.

I like to experience "art" ultimately and put it forth in service to the audience / participant, not in spite of them.  It can still be challenging and innovative I hope and believe...At the end of the day, I am just a humble record slinger...and, thankfully, we can find art in everything!

 

What other jobs do you have on the Island?

Gardener, Booking Coordinator for Hooked (new Lola's), Co-Organizer for Living Local MV / Harvest Fest


Who is your favorite DJ?

Supa Ricky Prime, Pretty Ninja, Cuzzin Andrew and Xoli Ngcoza 

 

Do you have most of your music on vinyl or the computer?

At this point...vinyl 70 percent - computer 30 percent... 

 

What is the hardest crowd to play for?

One's that enter from the neck up rather than the neck down

 

What are your favorite gigs?

Playing with friends at house parties  

 

What do you love most about the Island's music scene?

The family atmosphere amongst so many different genres and people...everyone is really supportive of one another

 

How about least?

Due to our seasonal nature, it often seems less about quality and more about quantity

 

DJ Di has many gigs in the works. You can catch her this Saturday at 70s Night at , on May 12th at the and on May 19th at The Peoples Disco at

 

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