Saturday, March 30, 2013

DJ Exclusive: Interview with Lolotehe "LoLo" Menoptra

The Smiley-hat wearing DJ. Lolotehe "LoLo" Menoptra

If you happen to go to the Velvet and see Lolotehe's name on the stream board, and you look around and see the identifying text hovering over an oversized arachnid, you are not seeing things, you are seeing "LoLo" in her avatar she has been in since the get go! Verde and I have have been to hear LoLo spin and love the eclectic and unique songs she picks for her listeners. This past Friday night at the Velvet was no exception. I also loved that LoLo takes time to voice in between songs on occasion and fill the void with her great "On AIR" voice and timing. Lolo posts her playlists @ The Spider Spins  So check out the shower inspired lists anytime you want!

Here is What LoLo said:

Are you DJing currently and where? When did you start DJing? First Club? When can we hear you DJ usually?
I started at the Velvet, back in September of '07 and I've been there since. There are other little pick-ups I've done here and there (Applecross, various charities), but the Velvet is my home. My sets have always been Friday nights. In the past, I started at eight, but now it's nine to prevent schedule conflicts.
The rhyming notices started in 2008 and now that's my shtick. I take a shower in the evening (to wash work off) and they're usually written there. 

Most unusual thing you saw while DJing?
I remember someone had come to the club and was putting on a particle-heavy show, and everyone was asking her to stop because it was lagging them out. She got verbally abusive shortly after most of us had turned particles off and I had to eject her. She IMed me and said I was a plastic person who didn't understand “art”. I thought that was a strange thing to say to a giant spider in a pirate hat. Maybe she meant plastic in the classical sense?

Favorite music?
Even though lounge has a very dated and “kitsch” quality to it, I go back to it time and time again because it's familiar and comforting.
I always have a little track I play at the start, before I come on with the first bump, that I just call my “trash track”. It's there so if there are problems, it's OK. They have to be distinctive enough to let the club know the DJ has changed, but short enough as to not wear out their welcome. I used to start sets with a different version of “Popcorn” each night, until I ran out.

Growing up, a lot of what we listened to in the house was dictated by my parents. Thankfully, they had decent taste. We listed to the classical station most of the time, but there was a college station that would play jazz that Dad liked. He had a great jazz collection. Mom was more interested in world music, specifically belly-dance. When I could pick my own music, I was following that groove, so I'd pick up stuff like Art of Noise or Peter Gabriel.
Actually, I was watching some old “Sesame Street” shorts the other day and realized there's a lot of great music behind them. The flute in “A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter” is pure genius. “The Alligator King” is some great writing, as is “Martian Beauty”. I liked Schoolhouse Rock, but Henson really knew how to pick 'em.
What do you listen to at home?
I listen to a lot of 30s~40s era jazz when I'm surfing online or writing. It's pretty good for paying bills or doing taxes. If I'm cleaning the house, I like opera. 
For driving around, I play The Orb, Amon Tobin, Xploding Plastix, or Analogik. Anything with a good beat works.

Do you have a regular set you play, a “go to” set?
If you're on late enough at night, you might get to hear me and “random” duke it out. I feed the broadcasting software key words and odd things happen....
I can't just go to just one genre because I don't know who's going to be listening, but I'll duck behind jazz if cornered.
Playing a set is a sort of wrestling match between the DJ and the audience. You have things you like that you want to share and they have a rough idea of what they want to hear.. If they don't like what you're playing, they'll let you know: either verbally or by leaving. You have to pay attention to what's going on in the room and adjust accordingly. I know there's stuff I play that I don't particularly like, but the audience does and maybe I can slip something in there that I really enjoy.
A lot of what I like is just unlistenable. Sure, everyone loves the Flying Lizards' “Money”, but what about their other stuff? How much John Cage can I get away with? Before I was DJing, I requested the Residents' “(Here I Come) Constantinople”. The DJ who played it didn't let it finish and said she'd never play one of my requests again. I've actually played it a couple times, but only very late.
You have to know what people are going to put up with. This is part of why it's so important to talk to the folks you're playing to. Let them know something about the music, ask them what they like, listen to what they say about what they were listening to. The old model was “call radio station and request specific tune”, but not all the DJs have the same library. We try to get close.

Cream and sugar or black?
Tea? Black. Coffee? Non-dairy creamer. Iced coffee? Sweetened condensed milk. I even got one of those little Vietnamese drip-things for that. That's nice on the weekend.

Cat or Dog?
Two cats, both over the age of ten. They're animals perfectly suited to indoorsy-types. I was joking the other day that I have a naked ten-year-old living in my house who eats off the floor and can't read.
If you could take one thing from your inventory for real-life use, what would it be, and why pick it?
I'd have the inventory itself. That thing is brilliant! You can walk around naked and pull a condo out of nowhere. It sure beats pocket

Come out Friday Night to The Velvet and hear LoLo and her wonderful musical choices, and if you don't like spiders, just focus on the cute hat she is wearing!

Photography Piedmont Cartauld

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