Lissa Monet Interview

Our coverage of the 2010 Stylus DJ Awards continues today with Female DJ of the Year, Lissa Monet. You can listen to this interview with the player at the bottom of this post, you can read the transcript, or you can download it for posterity.


Chase: “Alright everybody this is Chase March and I’m here with Female DJ of the Year, Lissa Monet.”

Lissa Monet: “Hey Hamilton! Everything is good. Everything is amazing! I won an award tonight.”
Chase: “That’s pretty awesome. We’re at the 2010 Stylus Awards and they have a girl category. Hip-hop almost is a male dominated culture and same with deejaying. I mean, there’s not a lot of female DJs. Why is that, you think?”
Lissa Monet: “It’s intimidating. If you want to get really technical about it, it’s expensive. Before Serato, I was spending close to $600 a month on vinyl alone. So, it’s intimidating at first because you have to buy all the equipment and you have to practise. And you don’t really see the returns right away because you have to spend a lot of time practising your craft before you can actually start going to the clubs and getting the exposure. So, it’s long process and I feel that some females are intimidated by that and that’s why they aren’t a lot of females doing it. But it’s so rewarding. If you love music, all that stuff doesn’t mean anything.”
Chase: “Definitely, and that is what is kind of cool about your name because some DJ names, you can’t tell who it is. I don’t know if it’s just me but every time I hear a new name in hip-hop that’s a female, I give that an extra ear, ya know? I mean, I got really mad when Tanya Morgan turned out to be three guys. I was like, ‘There’s a new girl MC, maybe this is gonna be the new-”
Lissa Monet: “I thought the exact same thing.”
Chase: “Yeah so I was mad about that for a while. But I kind of like them now because like the Barenaked Ladies, they’re not really barenaked-”
Lissa Monet: “Exactly, and they’re not really ladies.”
Chase: “But they’re amazing, right? So it’s all good. But it is definitely cool to see females in DJ culture and in hip-hop.”
Lissa Monet: “It’s unique.”
Chase: “It definitely is. So how did you get started in deejaying?”
Lissa Monet: “I got started like any other DJ. I started going to clubs and just really taking in the DJ aspect of the party. I wasn’t really into partying. I was more into standing behind the DJ booth and seeing the reaction from a crowd when a DJ would play a specific song. And that kind of took to me. So, one of my DJ friends, Kap’n Kirk from 4 Korners was like, ‘Why don’t you just start DJing. You know all the songs. Old school, new school. Why don’t you just start?’ And I was like, ‘Okay!’ and I used to go to his house and he’d teach me how to mix music and I’d mix on his turntables until I was confident enough to go out and buy my own turntables and practise at home. So that’s how I pretty much got started.”
Chase: “Very cool. Do you find that there is more of a competition or a camaraderie among DJs?”
Lissa Monet: “Definitely a camaraderie and it’s an amazing, amazing feeling to know that you can go to a club and DJ with anotehr DJ and it’s not all about competition. A lot of us are easy-going and we’ll get together at the beginning of the party to see who wants to play early or during the primetime set. It’s whoever feels to do whatever at the time. Nobody feels slighted because they don’t get to play, with some DJs it’s like that, not all the time. But it’s always good to have that feeling when you can come to a party with other DJs and play and not have to feel like you’re competing with each other.”
Chase: “It definitely is. So it must be a really cool thing to be here at the 2010 Stylus DJ Awards among DJs and producers and a lot of people that don’t normally get the shine because it’s put on the MC a lot of times-”
Lissa Monet: “Or the club promoter, or other aspects of night life. The DJ has always been behind the scenes because we show up early and we leave late and nobody really sees us, we’re behind the booth. But it’s coming to the point now where DJs are becoming personalities and they’re becoming branding machines and they’re becoming these conglomerates of big business. It’s amazing to know that it’s come to a point now where us DJs can get recognized for some of the things we do outside of just playing records.”
Chase: “Definitely. Do you think video games like DJ Hero and games like that have contributed to that and how do you feel about them?”
Lissa Monet: “I’m not a big fan. I actually suck at DJ Hero. I’m like, ‘This is nothing like the real thing. What am I doing? This is insane.’ But it’s for anyone who ever has a love for the art of deejaying and I would never take that away from that person. But for me, personally, I can’t play it. I’m horrible at it. I suck. And this is coming from the Female DJ of the Year.”
Chase: “It’s funny because I am a teacher and I brought a record into the class and the kids were like, ‘That’s a big CD,’ and then they start talking about DJ Hero and ‘that thing’ they are sliding back and forth. I was like, ‘That’s a crossfader and this is vinyl.’ So I was educating them on that a bit. But I guess games like this are kind of a stepping stone into that culture.”
Lissa Monet: “Right, it kind of peaks interest and helps them learn about it and that’s why I would never take it away from, anybody because anything that can peaks somebody’s interest into diving into a world of DJing is always amazing. It’s always a good thing.”
Chase: “It’s pretty amazing to think of how times have changed from when I was a kid until now. Like you said, you had to invest tons of money to start out in it. Nowadays you don’t have to do that at all, right?”
Lissa Monet: “I think you still do. It still costs a lot of money to buy turntables. It still costs a lot of money to buy mixers. The Serato box is $600. So it’s still a hefty investment and you really have to be passionate about it, in order to take it to another level.”
Chase: “So when you’re using Serato, you’re still using vinyl to control it and the needles and the turntable and the mixer.”
Lissa Monet: “And that’s the amazing thing about Serato, the technology allows you to use both vinyl and CD. So for the DJ who isn’t into CDs, they can still have the comfort of playing on turntables. They can still cut and scratch and do all the things they would’ve done if they brought 10 crates of vinyl.”
Chase: “Yeah, the technology is amazing these days, isn’t it? Do you have an online presence?”
Lissa Monet: “I am. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Twitter – DJLissaMonet and I have a blog which is and on there you can download all my mixtapes and read posts about stuff that I like and things that I’m doing. It’s pretty cool.”
Chase: “It is cool. I’m on Twitter and I’m a blogger too. I’m gonna have to look you up and start following you.”
Lissa Monet: “Let’s follow each other.”

Chase: “It’s been awesome linking up with you today and talking about music. Congratulations on your award and all the luck in the future.”

Lissa Monet: “Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.”