A GoPride Interview

DJ Lydia Prim

DJ Lydia Prim interview with ChicagoPride.com

Fri. June 29, 2007  by ChicagoPride.com

DJ Lydia Prim
While men have traditionally held the envable role of club DJ, nightclub audiences are witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of women who mix records live. Among the most talented and determined of these femme fa tales is veteran DJ Lydia Prim whose southern charm and dogged enthusiasm are only eclipsed by her creative and technical finesse.

Prim returns to Chicago's Hydrate Nightclub on Friday, June 29th. (Event Details) Before arriving, she talked with ChicagoPride.com.

CP: You’re returning to Hydrate Chicago, again.

What is your take on Chicago’s nightlife?

LP: Chicago has always been one of the core cities in the nation for dance music. I think the locals see nightlife and dance as more of a rite or ritual than recreation if that make sense... it's in their blood.

CP: How does it compare to other cities like NYC or LA?

LP: As I said, Chicagoans seem to take dance a little more seriously... they don't need massive events or venues to generate an incredible experience. It's the birthplace of House music, and to me, that means there's a lot more genuine love for the music here... more soul, I guess. People come out because they want to dance, not because they want to be seen or photographed for some trendy magazine.

CP: Any favorites in the Windy City?

LP: I've had great experiences at Crobar as well as Excalibur, but Hydrate's my favorite... great room, great energy.

CP: Do you have a favorite event that you’ve played?

LP: Several Market Days over the years have really been memorable, but I really have fond memories of an after-hours I played at Roscoe's in the mid-nineties. But the first time I played Crobar for Market Days in 2001 would be the winner I think. It was so hot and steamy in there, so crowded that my manager and I literally had to physically force the door of the booth open so I could get out and slip and slide to the bathroom.

CP: Do you think that being a woman makes it more difficult to make it in this business, especially in the gay club scene?

LP: I know this sounds odd, but I rarely even think about the gender thing... but when the question does come up, I always have to tip my hat to Susan Morabito. I think she opened the door for the female DJ's in the gay world. I played an event in Dallas last year that was all female DJ's... myself, Susan, Allison Calagna, DJ Pride... but the crowd was 95% male. We all had a BLAST.

CP: Is there a big difference in the kind of music that you play for the Lesbian crowd and the kind of music you play for gay men?

LP: I usually avoid booking for Lesbian events, there is a great deal of difference in the music and it's just not my format.

CP: How would you characterize your style of mixing? Do you think that a DJ is more distinguishable by the type of music that he or she plays or more by a style?

LP: It's interesting that you ask that question. I think any good DJ has a recognizable "sound" as well as a style. But I've always believed technical ability has to be stressed as well as programming. Anybody can pull out the hits, but if you want to stay in this business in the long run, be a damn good mixer. My abilities on the turntables kept me reluctant to give up a vinyl-only format until a little over a year ago. But with more and more new music available on CD only, I really had to take a lot of time to make a smooth transition to the CD format. I'd been mixing records for 20+ years, and all of a sudden I was struggling to sound like a professional on a new format. Oddly enough that challenge was just what I needed... it took awhile, and I had to MAKE MYSELF practice more than I had in years... vinyl was second nature to me, but as I said, it was a good thing for me in the long run.

CP: When you’re playing at a club, how much of your mixing is affected by the crowd itself, and the energy and vibes that you get from them?

LP: It's almost 100%. You have to read a crowd and play the room that's what separates the club DJ from the bedroom DJ and I think in the long run is separating the real DJ's from the posers... I mean, any DJ who thinks they can bring a pre-recorded set into a club and just press play is either a mind-reader or an idiot. Your crowd can turn on a dime, you'd better be right with them.

CP: Where did you get started?

LP: I started in about as deep in the Deep South you can get... Alabama originally before moving to Atlanta, New Orleans and now Fort Lauderdale.

CP: Are there any DJs that were mentors for you?

LP: I have so many of my peers that I consider influences it would be hard to throw out a short list but two names stand out: the incomparable Buc, who taught me the most about a lot of things in this world. And Frankie Knuckles is someone who I will always admire... he's brilliant in the booth and such a gentleman.

CP: Where are you DJing now?

LP: I have monthly residencies at Coliseum and VooDoo in Fort Lauderdale. Discotekka in Miami.

CP: What events do you have coming up?

LP: I will be playing in Saugatuck at The Dunes July 5-6, San Diego Pride July 21st, and Southern Decadence in New Orleans for Labor Day.

CP: Any final comments before we wrap this up?

LP: So happy to be back in Chicago, love this city, COME ON OUT AND DANCE!

Interviewed by ChicagoPride.com