EORA - SYDNEY
DJ, PRODUCER, PROMOTER/BOOKER, SOUND ENGINEER
BREAKBEAT, HOUSE, RAVE, DNB
How did you end up as a part of the music industry?
From wanting to be Britney Spears when I was 5, to learning guitar as a teen, I've always been interested in music and as a young adult, it was something I finally decided I wanted to pursue for real. My first real step into audio production was when I was around 16 and I really wanted to make post-punk music. I recorded bits of guitar onto Garageband but I didn't have a backing band at the time so I started using the software to make up for that. Soon after I found out about Ableton and have been using that since.
Tell us about your sound...
I started out producing and DJing as Microwave, inspired by the sounds of disco, lo-fi house and Italo. I had three releases under this name, two of which were released by Clipp.art.
Last year I changed my moniker to AHJU, since I felt like it represented my identity better. It's my actual middle name which is Korean and using it was a way for me to reclaim and be proud of being a person of colour as I actually used to be embarrassed by it when I was younger due to some internalised racism.
Under AHJU, I've released a single 'Cause I' through the label, GODDEZZ. I think the name change also reflects the broadening of my tastes, as I'm currently really into UK rave sounds including hardcore, dnb and garage. My recent mixes reflect this, and they can all be heard on my Soundcloud. One of my favourite mixes is the one I did for Merph's Apparent Motion which was broadcasted on Skylab Radio. It's jam-packed with ravey stabs and fast-paced DnB and UK hardcore energy.
With electronic music's roots in queer black communities, I think it's important for the landscape of dance music to be one that's diverse and more welcoming than its current state.
Do you have any new work coming out that you'd like to tell us about?
Rita Bass (who is also WIP alumni!) is releasing a remix EP of her single Apophenia / Shaped Curve (release date TBA), which features a remix by me. I'm currently working on a track with my friend Stullett that'll be out on his forthcoming label Kabayan Records, which is a label created to showcase Filipino producers.
Also, I have a monthly radio show on Area 3000 - the last episode aired on September 16 and features a guest mix by Esqueezy, and the next one will air on October 21st with BRIA jumping on in the second half.
How do you practice self-care?
I enjoy hanging out with my cat ^-^
What’s your favourite record at the moment?
I've been listening to Little Simz - Drop 6 a lot lately. I like listening to things that wouldn't necessarily fit with my DJing sometimes, and I think that EP captures the mood of lockdown really well.
What or who inspires you?
I really love seeing women of colour killing it! I've been super into Mixtress' mixes.
What are your predictions for the future of dance music and the industry? Any changes you would like to see?
Although I acknowledge this industry has deep-rooted problems which are a part of larger, global hierarchal norms, I hope we're able to be part of leading meaningful social change.
I'd love to be a part of an industry that's moving to build social changes in an intersectional way. I think in order to do this you have to get everyone on board, especially the people in positions of power, who may not necessarily be from "minority" backgrounds. More diverse lineups and quotas are one of the methods to achieve this. Holding people accountable for their actions and having sincere discussions with them is another step. Additionally, building supportive communities and encouraging people working in the industry who are from diverse backgrounds. Some of these people might not necessarily be at the level expected, and just need support or possibly even the confidence to really shine, however, others are really beyond that level and just need to be visible and heard, and for people to give them the recognition and opportunities they deserve. I'm definitely scratching the surface with the methods listed but I hope this provides a snapshot at least.
What's the best part about being in the music industry?
Music can be a super personal thing to me but I'm really glad that as I've gotten older I've had the chance to share the joy of it with so many people.
Check out Steph's WIP Profile Page for more!