Join us tonight for a Tom Tom Magazine release party — issue 7 is hot off the presses, and DJ Amber Valentine is ushering in the new content with a good solid party in the lobby at Ace Hotel New York. We caught up with her today for a quick chat.
What’s it like DJing in New York?
I love DJing in New York. It can be stressful to live here and most people are under a lot of daily pressure. It feels good to be able to help them let loose! I love 1:30 am when people get sweaty and crazy on the dancefloor. Also, New York really is on the cutting edge of music and people do appreciate an artful set, but are not too cool to get wild to a guilty pleasure song. Playing someplace like Ace is also great because I can play Ethiopian jazz or slower soul music, stuff I wouldn’t play for a dance party. DJing is honestly the best job.
Do you dress for sets and does it inspire what you play?
I ALWAYS dress up to DJ. To me, it is one of the main perks of the job. I like to contribute a presence to the room that extends beyond the music and for me, that means a type of glamour. My outfits do inform my set a little. If I’m dripping with sequins, disco feels particularly appropriate. Black lipstick means there will be some Kate Bush and Siouxie & the Banshees worked in. Ruffles call for Sheila E. A Fly Girl look means old school hip hop and house, and ripped tights with Doc Martens mean we’ll hear at least one Nirvana song!
Tell us more about Tom Tom and what’s awesome about it.
Tom Tom is the ONLY magazine dedicated to female drummers and beatmakers, and that is amazing. It is inspiring to me see female drummers on stage doing something that is stereotypically considered to be reserved for males. I remember that thrill of receiving my mailorder Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill albums back in the day and feeling so excited that girls were the ones behind it all. I imagine a young girl today feeling the same thrill looking at Tom Tom. Even though I’m not a drummer, I feel a surge of pride when I read the interviews in the magazine, like “Yeah! SHE’S DOING IT!!”