By Kat Bein
By Shea Serrano
By S. Pajot
By Terrence McCoy
By Falyn Freyman
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By Jacob Katel
By Michael E. Miller
Few DJs would scoff at accepting a residency, especially with the number of head spinners vying for a place at the turntables. But that's just what DJ Sevim Abaza does when she is offered such a spot. In fact, this chick is downright against the whole damn thing.
"I don't wanna play myself out," Abaza says. "And I don't want people to get bored by me either. There's too much of the same old DJs playing the same old clubs on the same old nights of each week, and I don't want to be a part of that. Don't get me wrong — there are a lot of DJs doing great things. But I'm anti-residency."
It's a position that has often put Abaza in an unfavorable light among club owners, who prefer a DJ to be a little more committed to their venue. But an anti-residency stance is not the only thing club owners have held against Abaza, or her Bandits party partner, Eddy Darko. "We've been thrown out of just about everywhere — LIV, White Room, Vagabond. I'm not proud of it. And I'm spinning in these places now," she says. "But there was a time, I guess, when we were just a little too counterculture for people."
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That's one of the reasons she and Darko decided to call their one-stop lifestyle brand Bandits in the first place. That and perhaps the notion Abaza always acts as if she's getting away with something.
But never let it be said the Amman, Jordan-born Abaza is up to no good. From the time the hip head spinner was christened the "metal disco" queenpin around the time she spun at a 786 party at Purdy Lounge, she's been in and on some of the best action in the MIA.
"New Times actually coined the term, and it stuck," Abaza says. "I find both disco and metal are highly emotional forms, and I'm a highly emotional DJ. But they're also opposing. And since I tend to get more and more aggressive as the night progresses, it's just perfect."
Some of that aggro came out at Stian Roenning's 1415 Studios for the art-based Au-Go-Go parties, which featured some of the maddest cats and kittens in town doing some of the raddest things imaginable, and usually didn't stop till the cops rolled up. One of those things was Abaza spinning on her pedal-powered turntables, for which she hopes to again employ April 1 at White Room during the Rub-Out. But Abaza isn't fooling. This is a bicycle-based invention she and design pal Thomas Fonseca are fine-tuning for widespread use.
Another highlight of the Au-Go-Go fetes was a set by the local electro-funkateers of Afrobeta, and Abaza will return the favor for the band's Do You Party? CD-release event this Friday night at 7th Circuit Studios. The members of Afrobeta are close pals of Abaza, as are 786 honchos Ray Milian and Joshy Josh. Plus Abaza and Darko will take over the back room at Purdy Lounge next Wednesday for 786's presenting of the Brooklyn-based postdisco acolyte Boy Crisis.
The DJ traces her knack of mingling with like-minded souls back to her home country of Jordan, where her Turkish-born father was a DJ and an engineer. In those days, the family home was always filled with music and musicians, and she has continued that tradition, working in various capacities alongside some of the Magic City's finest. One much-awaited collaboration on the horizon: a full-length LP with superproducer Guido D'Ambrosio that's "built on samples of car noises," she says.
But we're here to hear about Abaza's spinning, of which the term metal disco only begins to describe. Think the rush of blood to the head you get when love hits the ceiling. Or that surge in the pit of your stomach when crazy fools rush the dance floor. Or the wildness in the eyes of Lou Reed after he slept with Donna Summer to the tune of his Metal Machine Music. And then think again. Abaza's style is rash and brash and driven, wired and inspired and loaded with desire. It's what everyone wants when they get out on the town — to lose themselves completely. Make a point of making the scene whenever this chick happens to booth up. You won't regret it.
Sevim Abaza's current top six:
1. "Shelter (Death to the Throne remix)," the xx
2. "Not Alone (Niteshades Rave to the Jam Edit)," Calvin Harris
3. "Knights of Cydonia (the Integrals remix)," Muse
4. "L.A. Bass," RedLight
5. "Death to Digress (Nero Remix)," Boy Crisis
6. "Get Down the Funk (the Disco Villains Remix)," Future Flashes