THE BIRDHOUSE 090: Mija

Mija (née Amber Giles) recently started the FK A GENRE event series, and the name perfectly describes her approach to music. The Arizona native came up on a mix of D&B, happy hardcore, house, nu-disco – a little bit of everything – and it all finds its way into her DJ sets and productions. Mija's released music on labels like OWSLA, Fool's Gold and her own free imprint Never B Alone (which throws it back to her rave days), but also has collabs with artists like Billy Kenny in the works.

If Mija doesn't seem like an intuitive pick for a BIRDHOUSE guest DJ, one listen to her mix will dispel any doubts. Her set on this week's show really highlights her skill as a house selector, with tracks from Jesse Rose and Doorly alongside unexpected cuts like "Yambao". We cross paths on the road often and she nails it every time, so I'm glad to finally have her on the show.

Check out Mija's guest mix and read on for her answers to the Birdhouse Questionnaire.

THE REAL

How did your music career get started in earnest?

I quit school and started DJing hotels, restaurants and weddings, while running my own deep house night on the weekends. Some dude found me playing at an underground party and invited me to DJ on his art car at Bonnaroo. So I did! And that's where Sonny found me [O U mean Skrillex? – CVS] at 6am and we went B2B and the internet noticed us. So I just hit the ground running. Never looked back. 

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

I'm from Phoenix, Arizona and let me just tell you that Phoenix has always had a thriving underground scene. Whether it was my early days as a happy hardcore/drum & bass raver, or opening for The Black Madonna in an illegal basement as a young adult, it's all had a massive influence on me as a DJ, producer and curator. 

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

Not even once. But I also never had ANY expectations. I just do what feels good and what makes me happy. Music has always made me happy.

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

I started on [Pioneer] CDJ850s, but I don't know how much those affected my sound. If anything, my CD/vinyl collection was definitive of my sound. RIP CDs. 

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

When I started DJing, I didn't give any fux. Just wanted to play my favorite songs as loud as possible, mostly disco and house. But when I started producing in 2014, I was a huge AC Slater fan, so I was trying to emulate that bass-house sound. As I grew, I started to pick up more inspiration from my roots (D&B, happy hardcore, etc.). Careerwise, I took a lot of advice from skrill, most likely because we are on the same management team.

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

I listen to songs that make me feel happy and nostalgic, like [music from] Fiona Apple or The Beatles. That always makes me feel better.

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

I'm always happy when I'm at home working on music, but also when I'm curating shows and bringing artists together that don't normally play the same shows. I find that incredibly inspiring.

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents? 

I love designing things. I often find myself remaking promoters' flyers to fit my personal aesthetic, haha. I also love to draw and paint.

THE REST

Favorite and least favorite colors?

Favorites are black, white, orange, pink, seafoam, rainbow... least favorite color is royal blue.

Favorite and least favorite words?

Favorite is "whimsical", least favorite is "ointment".

Favorite animal? 

Big cats. All of them.

Favorite guilty pleasure food?

Orange chicken! Or spaghetti bolognese. 

Favorite guilty pleasure song?

"Hot For Teacher" by Van Halen.

German or Detroit techno?

Detroit all day baby.

Festival, club or illegal warehouse?

Illegal warehouse.

Biggie or Tupac?

Biggie.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars. 

Exercise or Netflix?

Netflix.