Every week (or so…) we introduce you to a local LGBTQ party DJ and ask them about their experiences in the scene and feature an audio mix they’ve made. This week we’ll be featuring 2, as there are 2 great upcoming parties, one brand new and one only quarterly. So while I’d rather space them out this is an exception. If you’re interested in being featured contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DJ Bender has been known by many names in our community, but has consistently put good tunes into a successful party, whether it was early gigs at Booty, the dualistically themed Sluts’n'Squares or her brand new night debuting this Thursday at Crush, Trans-It! With this new monthly cocktails and dancing hosted by Tammy Whynot, Christine Martins is back to take the night by storm with once of the first queer nights directly catering to a cross-gendered trans community.
When and how did you get started DJing and why do you DJ?
I am fascinated w/the sensory experience of music and what a talented DJ can do — blending tones/tempos to create aesthetically pleasing, artistic arrangements capable of provoking sensual and emotional responses in the listener.
In 2004 I decided to try it out for myself. I acquired a CDJ deck with some DJ software and started fiddling around. I taught myself beat matching and discovered I had a good ear for tone which made me a natural at harmonic blending. I spent hours and hours on the decks and computer perfecting my craft. During that time, I met Puppet who was organizing a queer party in NoPo called Booty. I sent a mix to her and she booked me to spin — my first DJ gig ever!
How did you get your DJ name?
I had a couple of DRAB DJ names before I came out as trans. First I was DJ Boy (lolz @ the irony) then later DJ Bigtrak. Coming out was a fresh start for me in many ways and so it felt right to take a new DJ name as well. The inspiration for DJ Bender actually came from Puppet, which was awesome in a bring-things-full-circle kind of way.
Who are your influences/inspirations?
I am influenced and inspired by artists, chefs, musicians, writers, sexual outlaws and nature — anyone or anything who can deliver me from the limited ways in which I see and feel.
What parties/clubs do you currently DJ?
I played at Bent in November. In March, my friend Tammy Whynot from Mattachine Social and I are teaming up for a new queer night at Crush Bar called Trans-It! She’s the MC and I’m the DJ Every 3rd Thursday starting March 15th.
What genres of music do you like to play?
Electro, House & 90s Dance Pop. Also some hip hop where it crosses over w/the other three.
What are some of your current favorite tracks?
I Love-U – Phil Jay
All My Friends – Tommy Trash
Crazy- Blazing Funk
For Your Love – Party Squad
Barbara Streisand – Duck Sauce
Express Yourself – Madonna
Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry
Touch Me – 49ers
Outside – George Michael
Do You Know What It Takes? – Robyn
What do you wish would stop being played out right now?
What was your worst DJ experience?
My worst DJ experience was April 29th, 2009 at Hungry Tiger Too. The staff had no idea I was coming. The sound equipment was scattered about in the basement, accessible only by a narrow and rickety flight of stairs. I ended up politely excusing myself and walking out on that one.
What was your best DJ experience?
My best DJ experience is actually a toss up between two events. First is June 6, 2007 when I teamed up w/DJ Puppet and Mr Charming for Sluts & Squares: Queer Rebellion. Second is November 11, 2011 when I was invited to spin at Bent, which was my first gig as a female DJ.
What makes a DJ experience good for you?
I get excited and feel good about a gig when I can get a floor filled w/dancing people who dig what I’m spinning for them.
What are your main pieces of equipment and your favorite?
My main piece of equipment is a Numark D2 Director — it’s an external storage deck designed to play MP3′s off a thumb drive/hard drive. It’s portability and small ecological footprint are still a marvel to me.
What else do you want qPDX to know about you?
I want to thank the PDX queermunity for the warm welcome I recieved since coming out as a trans woman. There are times when I experience an amount of regret over not coming out sooner, but being in the company of such beautiful, vibrant people makes me feel I came out at just the right time <3