For Los Angeles-based DJ Amber Giles, AKA Mija, the musical obsessions that make up her frenetic, mercurial sets come quickly, burn brightly, and fade fast.
"A year ago, it would've been trap, a year before that house," she says. "I go through so many phases, but right now, my favorite thing to drop has been drum 'n' bass. I've been super into drum 'n' bass, really fast footwork, breaks — I've even been exploring a lot with happy hardcore and nightcore."
Yes, nightcore. For those unaware, it's one of those internet-exclusive genres that some think of as a joke and others take much too seriously. Search the term on YouTube and you'll find hundreds of thousands of videos that are, for the most part, pictures of anime girls slapped onto sped-up house and trance tunes.
"It's been around forever. I remember on LimeWire back in the day, everyone thought nightcore was an actual DJ because there'd be all these rips of songs that said, in parentheses, 'nightcore remix,' but it wasn't actually a particular DJ; that's just what you called it when you set it to 160 and repitched it."
Nightcore isn't a particularly original idea. In fact, it might as well be considered formulaic after years festering in the internet wilds. But Giles is willing to scrutinize it, searching for ways to make it fit with more widely accepted forms of dance music.
"Essentially, nightcore is just happy hardcore, but it's just not original tracks. I don't know if you could really be a big nightcore DJ when nightcore is just speeding up and repitching other people's tracks, but it is very in the same realm as hardcore — UK hardcore, happy hardcore."
This isn't all you'll hear on the DJ's tour FK a Genre, which concludes at the Hangar this Friday. A SoundCloud mix composed for the tour spreads its tendrils in every direction: Lunice, Chromeo, Nosaj Thing, Joey Purp featuring Chance the Rapper, classic house and disco tracks, a Thievery Corporation remix of Tycho, her own remix of A-Trak and Tommy Trash's "Lose My Mind." There's something for everyone here, and that's entirely the point, because Giles wants to use this tour to unite fans and makers of all genres.
"We just want to bring people together that normally wouldn't play in the same party or hang out at the same festivals, you know? To bring those people together, to inspire each other, and get to know the different cultures. I feel like there's a lot of separation, a lot of cliques with the different labels and different crews. But at the end of the day, we're all doing the same thing — we're all making music because we love to create and make art, and it's really cool to bring people together and have them inspire each other."
So far, it's been met with success, and one show in particular sticks out.
"I think what was really, really fascinating that's happened so far on the tour is doing a Chicago show with Teklife, the OG Chicago crew, and having all of their fans come out and meet all of these new, more EDM fans and having them all dance together and make dance circles."
Giles hopes that putting disparate sounds and scenes in the same place will encourage producers and listeners to intermingle and learn from one another.
"Essentially, that's how new sounds are formed, right? You experiment with different tempos and different genres and different sounds that belong in different genres, and you put them together, and that's how we innovate new sounds that we're gonna see in the future or hear in the future."
Mija's FK a Genre Tour. 11 p.m. Friday, December 9, at the Hangar, 60 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-702-3257. Tickets cost $25 to $30 via ticketfly.com.
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