Interview: DJ Maromi

Phoenix, Arizona is a city that has been blessed with a vibrant rave community. It is this community that lays claim to up and coming DJ Maromi, a cheerfully nerdy Happy Hardcore DJ and Arizona native. She’s been playing since 2000, but recently she’s broken out and can now be found performing at anime conventions and Happy Hardcore raves across North America, bringing along her distinctive blend of high-energy, sugary-sweet vocal Happy Hardcore. Recently, I spoke with her about her upcoming plans and her recent affiliation with Diskowarp Records:

How did you get into Happy Hardcore?

I was given a mix-tape from an artist named Kevin Brown where I heard “Disco-land” and “Wonderful Days” for the first time. The chipmunk vocals and high octane feel fueled my search for more music in the same vein.

What motivates you to perform?

Knowing I made an impact or a lasting memory for someone, sometimes just seeing a person in the crowd smile or get excited. The support I receive from fans and friends really pumps me up to keep going and always push to do more.

What type of equipment do you use at home and in shows?

My studio at home consists of 2 Pioneer CDJ 800 MK2’s a Pioneer DJM 800 mixer and 2 Technic 1200 turntables. This is my favorite setup, but pretty much any version of a Pioneer CDJ is just dandy.

What story do you tell with your music?

Nonstop happy hardcore sing-along dance party! It should be impossible to not smile, sing along or dance when I play.

How do you see yourself as an artist?

A high energy performer who is passionate and knowledgeable about the music she plays which shines through.

Do you have any heroes? If so, who and why?

Spree I would consider to be a hero, his style, mixes, and live sets really inspired me. Additionally I am very fortunate that a large majority of my heroes/inspirations are also some of my good friends! Jimni Cricket, Super K, James Rize, Dynamic, and Saiyan have all been big influences for me and their support means the world to me.

What’s your favourite on-stage memory?

I have a ton of amazing memories a few include: playing at Sakura Con 2012 which was one of the most amazing crowds I have had the opportunity to play for, getting to play directly after S3rl and meeting him for the first time, opening for Hixxy, opening for Spree on his retirement tour, and making a surprise “Happy Birthday” sign for a fan,holding it up for her while playing her favorite song during my set, and seeing her and her friends explode with excitement.

How have you evolved over the years, as an artist? What, if any, were the catalysts of that evolution?

Switching over from playing only vinyl to playing on CDJ’s I feel has been a large change. That switch has really made it easier to be more diverse in music and do more creative mixing. One event that stands out as a turning point for me, was a night I decided “ya know what, I’m going to play nothing but over the top cheese that I like, I don’t care how it goes over” and to my surprise it went over amazingly and I have continued to play that way ever since.

Can you go into more detail about the difference between vinyl and CDJs, and the impact it’s had on how you perform?

I am very fortunate I learned how to mix on vinyl because it really helps you build a solid foundation and the ability to just use your ears; and once you have those fundamental skills under your belt switching to digital gives you the ability to be extremely precise in everything you do and take the basics to the next level.  Additionally, when you spend less time on basics, it gives you more time to work out tricks and fun extras.

What achievements are you particularly proud of?

Being a part of Diskowarp Records, which is one of my all time favorite labels out there. Also having the opportunity to play at Sakura Con 2012 in Seattle, and Atomic Lollipop 2012 in Toronto.

Can you tell me more about Diskowarp Records?

Disko Warp is a hi-nrg music and lifestyle label from Seattle, WA, run by producer Initial P. This label is responsible for the “Speed Disko” CD series which is what initially drew my attention. The best way to describe the tracks would be cute, fast, and hard, which is totally my favorite combination. The animated videos that accompany the tracks such as “Oh Oh Oh Sexy Vampire” by Fright Ranger and “Less Than Three” by Becky have become explosive hits on YouTube as well.

Obligatory question: favourite song?

I have so many favorites. A personal favorite is “Untouched” by Rize on Mad Panik Records.

What makes a song stand out for you?

Pop remixes are a must, aggressive bass lines, and I am very particular on the pitch and octave of vocals, they have to have a certain sound for me to get excited.

What other interests outside of music do you have?

Retail merchandising, comics such as Crossed, The Boys, The Walking Dead, Sweet Tooth etc. I enjoy movies and the show Dr. Who. Adventure and travel are always on my interest list.

Something most people don’t know about you:

I hate writing or talking about myself so this interview was challenging.

Who have you depended on for support?

The person I depend on the most for support would be my husband, Ben Sparrow. The support I receive from all my friends and all the people who enjoy my mixes and sets means more to me than anyone will ever know.

Where can people find your music?
soundcloud.com/djmaromi
mixcloud.com/djmaromi
djmaromi.com

Photo by Craig Symonds of loudnights.net