Le Bain

Anything Goes Here: An Interview with New Orleans' DJ Musa

DJ Musa shares her love for New Orleans and tells us about the best night of her life before she returns to Le Bain on Sunday, April 10th.
LE BAIN: You describe yourself as a 'Brazilian/redneck half-breed.' Could you tell us more about your childhood in New Orleans?
MUSA:  My childhood was a trip. Both of my parents are musicians and I grew up in the French Quarter. I was what New Orleans natives refer to as a "Quarter Rat," and to boot, I was also homeschooled. I would roam the streets while my mother was at work. She's been playing piano in a bar in N.O. for almost 40 years to this day. 
Tumblr nwmlkfce5m1r6t4szo1 1280 Musa at 7. 
When did you fall in love with music?
My parents let me start going to punk shows by myself when I was 11 or 12. I could walk and hear music on almost every street corner, and I grew up in a home where music was constantly being played.

Why your reference to Brazil?

I'm half Brazilian! My father is from there and lives there. We moved to New Orleans after a small stint in Brazil. I should also mention the few years my mother and I lived in Mexico, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. I think exposure to travel, freedom, autonomy, and music early on made me the person I am today. 
Musa alves 12 Photo by Musa [from the Oh Katrina series].
What makes New Orleans such a special city?
New Orleans is the best city in America! It is unlike anywhere else in the universe! It's very European, Caribbean, and South American. There is a magic in the air that is almost palpable. It's a city that embraces its beauty and its flaws—its crime, cuisine, passion, heat, sweat, rhythm, freaks, and weirdos. There is no pretentiousness in New Orleans. You can be whoever you want to be here—for better or for worse. It's a city that loves music, art, dance, food, heritage, and tradition.

And its swamps...
When you venture outside of New Orleans, you are met with the allure of nature in the swamps with the low hanging moss, cypress knees, algae crusts, alligator eyes and skins, slender egrets, and the most gorgeous skies I've ever seen of all the places I've ever been. 

"You're equal with the rest of the city when the sun goes down and the music comes on."

Is New Orleans' nightlife it as exciting as its reputation? 
New Orleans nightlife is bizarre! There is absolutely nothing consistent, reliable, or certain about it, which is part of the charm, I think. People are fickle in N.O., so you may have a show you thought would be sold out and 20 people attend. On the flip side, a DIY warehouse party you invited some friends to may get packed out into the streets. Anything goes here, and like I said before, there's no pretentiousness, which means there's no guest list, VIP, lines, etc. It doesn't matter if you're a celebrity—you're equal with the rest of the city when the sun goes down and the music comes on. 

Do you have fun?
Some kids and myself have been putting on parties in dive bars for years and also been utilizing warehouses in the Bywater and 7th Ward. I've started a feminist movement here through a dance party called Femme Femme Femme. The LGBT scene is really doing cool stuff and exposing the city to so much good house music. Anyone will tell you that N.O. is about 10 years behind every other major city when it comes to music and trends. 
Fff The crew of Femme Femme Femme.
I love your mixtape Noite Na Terra. It's full of surprises.
That's my favorite one I've made so far. I was really influenced by my Brazilian heritage and my love for France and Paris. Night on Earth is also one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time! 

Can you tell us about one of your favorite nights on Earth?
It was actually at Le Bain! It was my actual birthday and I had my birthday party there! I DJ'd alongside some of my best NY girlfriends, Lauren Flax and Nelleke. Spank Rock was there with us, as he and I were flying the very next morning to England to perform All Tomorrow's Parties. We got so drunk and ended up stripping down to our panties and jumping in the hot tub. Thankfully the pool had just been uncovered for the season that night so we got to christen it. [Laughs.] We stayed up all night and somehow made it to JFK and crawled to our seats. I woke up on a tour bus passing sheep in the countryside of England. 
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You've said, “Life doesn’t feel real in general anymore.” What would you say is the best thing about real life?
The best thing about real life is love! Love for yourself, love for your life, love for people, love for music, love for food, love for art, love for creating, love for traveling, love for reading, and love for learning! You can love no matter where you are in the world. It's the only thing I'm certain is real [in this life]. Without love, you have nothing. 

Sunday, April 10th, 9pm-3am | The Standard, High Line

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