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  Offworld Music
Record label catering to innovative music, artists and producers - from drum&bass to hip hop and electronic.

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  LADY LYRIC

DJ Dan
   

 

 

WEBLINKS
- DJladylyric.com
- Hallucination.com
- Listen to her 12"


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Strawberry blonde bangs swing to reveal crystal blue eyes above a sweet smile that warms you up like the "Electro-italodisco-robotic-80's-roller-rink-tech-house" music she's pouring off the decks into the dance floor. Meet DJ Lady Lyric, born Terryn Jennings Westbrook somewhere in Kansas about twenty-eight years ago and heating up underground club nights and speakers worldwide. Now living in the arty up-and-coming Echo Park district of Los Angeles, Lady Lyric stopped her wheels for more than just a few questions so that we could find out a little bit more about what makes her spin both inside and out!

Jennifer: How many years have you been DJing and making music?

Lady Lyric: Hmmm. Well I started studying electronic music at the University of South Florida in Tampa in in '94 so almost 10 years, then I only really started spinning records when I moved to L.A. five years ago.

Did you have any classic music training?

I played the trumpet when I was in like 6th or 7th grade, then started
singing in chorus in junior high but didn't really have a very strong voice. I was never the soloist or anything! Both experiences taught me how to read music and to establish some sort of musical discipline. I also took guitar lessons when I was 15, but I didn't stick with it for too long. Then in college (in addition to studying electronic music, theater, and dance) I studied piano, or "keyboard" as they called it because you learned and played on synthesizers, then a few years ago I started taking guitar lessons. I just started taking piano again recently. I am not a master at guitar or piano but I play enough of each to use them as basic songwriting tools. I started taking private voice lessons about 4 years ago because I was singing in a band and I was so nervous that I would suck, you know that I wouldn't know how to use my "instrument". I was afraid that voice lessons would change my style, that my uniqueness would be threatened or something, but it actually just accentuated and strengthened my singing because I learned more about the mechanics of the voice, how to breathe, warm up, that kind of thing.

What was the first song you ever learned to sing?

I distinctly remember singing "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders and "Betty Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes at a very early age, running around the house belting out "Gonna make you, make you, make you notice... gonna use my arms, gonna use my legs, gonna use my style... gonna use my sidestep..."

What is your earliest childhood memory involving music?

My dad and mom used to play Bob Dylan and Beatles songs on the guitar. As a matter of fact, my father wooed my mom by singing "the girl from north country" to my her on one of their first dates. My dad was always really into music and technology. Still is, as a matter of fact he just recently asked me if I'd ever heard of a band called Radiohead and proceeded to tell me how he's been listening to "Pablo Honey" a lot lately. He cracks me up, he's in his late 50's and he's so cool and fortunately for me, he's a bit of a packrat. In addition to collecting cars and guitars, he started collecting synthesizers and drum machines while we were living in Japan in the 80's and now I own what's left of it. Most got sold or traded but I still have a sweet Roland Jx-3p synth and an 808 that are both in beautiful condition. I still kick myself for letting my dad sell his 303 to Dave Christophere (Rabbit in the Moon) when I was in high school. Now Dave's got like 3 of them!!

I also remember my dad having a Mac classic, you know the one with the little slit for a floppy disk on the monitor? He bought a music program called "Studio Session" and I used to play with it and make little songs on it when I was 10 or 11. It was funny, an early midi program, the preset sounds were reminiscent of Gumby and Pokey music! I would always bug my dad to let me play with the 808, but it was kind of off limits most of the time, you know, his little treasure. In college when I stared making analog music, he let me "borrow" it. It was a really special moment when I moved to L.A. and he gave the gear to me. I think he finally understood that I really intended to do something with it. And since, he's been my biggest fan, always asking me when I'm going to send him some new music. He is so supportive. So is my mom. She has no idea what we are talking about when we "talk tech" but she really likes the music I do.

Was it all that made you want to be professional involved with music?

It just happened, I guess. When I was a teenager, I was listening to stuff like Depeche Mode, New Order, the Sugar Cubes, the Cure, Meat Beat Manifesto and a lot of industrial music like Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, Front 242. It was primarily electronic music that I was into, so naturally when the rave scene started surfacing in central Florida, my ears were intrigued. My high school boyfriend and I used to go to raves in Orlando and Gainesville and it just became our lifestyle. That's when I met the whole Hallucination posse and would go to a lot of their events around Florida. I knew I liked the music and the scene, but at that time I hadn't figured out that I wanted to be a part of it as an artist rather than a patron.

When was the first time you heard electronic music?

I suppose it was probably the Beatles, because my dad used to play the White Album and Revolver, which incorporated a lot early electronic experimentation, and he was also listening to Vangelis and Jean Michael Jarre when I was a tot. I do have a very fond memory of listening to Yaz's "Upstairs at Eric's" album when I was in Japan. I must've been 7 or 8 years old. My dad had bought several copies of the album on tape, because they were really cheap, he thought he'd use them to tape over, and I listened to it all the time. I remember listening to it on my walkman while I roller skated in the parking lot in front of our apartment in Yokota Air Force Base. "Can't stop now, don't you know, I'm never gonna let you go, DON'T GO" and that amazing synth line would come in!! I loved that album, still do. It
is hugely inspirational for me. It's in my regular DJ rotation for sure. I think I'll give Yaz and my dad all the credit for getting me hooked on synths.

What was the first rave or club that you went to and what was it like?

When I was a sophomore in high school my friends and I used to go to this underage, no alcohol nightclub called Off Limits. It's so funny to think about, because our mom's would drop us off and pick us up!! They played all this gothic industrial dance music!! Stuff like K.L.F. and early Moby. We would smoke cloves and do the gothic "pick up the penny" dance. If you've ever seen it, you know what I mean. I remember when the song "Dominator" was the big hit. One of the first rave type events was this "Mute over America" tour in Tampa in like '92 and it was Renegade Soundwave performing live and Derrick May DJing. It was the first time I'd ever watched/heard a DJ in that kind of setting, you know DJ= rockstar. It was Derrick May on stage tweaking the e.q.s and blending all these bleepity bleep sounds together. He had us by the balls. We were so enthralled, witnessing this "new" medium. Of course it had been going on for years but this was the first time I had truly experienced it. I also recall going to my first proper rave in Orlando called InfoNet or something like that and I believe it was Kimball Collins, John Digweed, and DJ Three. That was my first time "feelin' the love", if you know what I mean...

What made you decide to become a DJ?

Well for me it went from producing to DJing and now it's back to producing again. When I was younger, I was content to just be a listener, a participant, someone who went to events and danced. Then, as I started to discover that I had something to say as a poet, then as a singer, I felt the need to find a musical outlet, a platform to express these words that I wanted to say. So I started taking electronic music classes @ U.S.F. Of course I was the only woman in a class of 20 boys but rather that let that intimidate me, I let it fuel me to do better work. I often spent extra time in the studio at the university, not only using it to finish the various assignments we were given, but to finish pieces of music for a one-woman-show I was writing and developing. In school we were required to learn certain things with reel-to-reel tape like reversal, cutting and splicing, creating tapeloops holding the tape up with a pencil, real primitive analog experiments. We had to patch the modular synths to create specific sounds then we would record all of our assignments and be tested and expected to draw out the different patches we would use to create different sounds. I would bring my dad's 808 into the studio and use it along with the other gear they supplied, to do weird analog experiments, using the Emu Modular synth to trigger it. So I would take the outcome of the assignments/experiments and then do various mixes, then record spoken word over that. It was at that time that I began recording myself singing, quietly at first, putting lots of effects on my voice to cover all the flaws.

What was the hardest part for you about becoming an artist?

Even though being an artist is the most noble profession one can have, pronouncing that you're going to become an artist is a bit like coming out of the closet. Especially because when I was getting into the music scene, it was a boy's club. I was already acting and writing a little so I had a sense of my artist spirit, but DJing and producing music was and still is dominated bymen. Not to say it's an easy career to jump into for either gender but being a girl, and having boyfriends who made music or DJed, it made it hard to speak out that I wanted to learn. So it was intimidating on a lot of levels. Sometimes it still is.

Gradually I was able to admit to some friends who were producers that I wanted to have them engineer and produce songs I was writing. Omar Torres was the first. I drove down to Atlanta one weekend to work with him. I said, Hey I have this song I've been working on in the studio at school and I want to make it sound really good, I want you to help me. He's gone on to do some amazing stuff for Hallucination as well as Joe Clausel's label Natural Resource. We are still in touch, I just worked with him again last year on some tracks.

How did you learn to DJ?

Just from watching other people and getting tips along the way. In Tampa I was dating and living with a DJ so he showed me a couple of things to get me started. Then, years later, when I moved here to L.A., I was roommates for 3 years with Sean Patrick (Magu the Subtle Navigator) and he let me use his tables. He gave me some valuable pointers but he basically stayed out of my hair. Sean recognized that I preferred (and still do) to learn stuff on my own. He is in mad support of me now too. He gives me just enough encouragement to let me know he likes what I'm doing but never lets me rest on my laurels. Friends like that are what artists need!! Also making mix cds, hearing my mistakes, and learning from them. Wait! I'm
still learning!!

Do you have any of your music that people can hear online somewhere?

My website, DJladylyric.com. It's still under construction but you can hear some Photocall works-in- progress and songs from the Reverse Commuter 12" on it. You can check Hallucination.com or
http://www.eight-frozen-modules.com/reversemain.html
to hear the entire 12" and see reviews on the record.

What prompted you to move from Tampa to Los Angeles?

I outgrew Tampa. In college I started taking electronic music classes and dance classes along with theater (which was supposed to be my major) and I put together this one woman show called Cunning Linguist that incorporated all those elements. After the show was well received, and I performed it all around Florida, I decided that I was going to pursue acting for real, so I moved to Hollywood with the hopes of working in the film and television industry. It's been going great in the acting world, I've made a lot of money doing commercials, but I must admit my focus has been all music lately. I am being pulled in the direction of singer/songwriter/ DJ. I hope to be able to do it all though!! Maybe write and star in films while creating the music for them as well!

Where else have you lived?

Born in Wichita,Kansas then moved to the Philippines, then to Tampa, Florida, then to Yokota, Japan, then to Omaha, Nebraska, then to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, then back to Tampa for a decade, then I spent a semester in London, England, went back to Tampa, then moved here to L.A.

What's the best thing about living in Los Angeles?

It's a renaissance. For me it was about flying the coop and escaping the comforts of home. I was much more timid with my dreams when I was in Tampa. I was not able to admit fully to myself or anyone else that I had aspirations of becoming, not only an actress and performance artist, but a vocalist, DJ and music producer as well. I got to L.A. and started buying records and practicing DJing, taking chances, mentioning to producers that I was a singer and recording songs with them. Moving to L.A. was a rebirth for me. The energy here is manic and wonderful. Everything is here if you look
for it. You can go out every night if you want. There is always so much going on. Los Angeles is a city where you can have your dreams realized if you work at it.

What would you be doing right now if you never got involved with music?

I guess I'd be spending all my time on my acting career or designing clothes. Definitely something creative.


What are a few of your current and all-time favorite artists and records?

Bjork, Portishead, Kraftwerk, The Cure, Billie Holiday, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Beck, Yaz, Depeche Mode, Dee-lite, Prince, Meat Beat Manifesto, Olivia Newton-John, New Order, Zero 7, Goldfrapp, Boards of Canada, Massive Attack, the Roots, Tribe called Quest, De La Soul, Pretty Tony, Cybotron, R.I.T.M., Cerrone, Stereolab, Aphex Twin, Erlend Oye, The White Stripes, Missy Elliot.

Fave Records: Yaz- Upstairs at Eric's, XTC-Skylarking, Bjork- Vespertine, Human League-Dare , Xanadu soundtrack, Tears for Fears-The Hurting, Boards of Canada- Music has the right to children, Metro Area, N.E.R.D.

To someone who's never been able to see you DJ, how would you describe it?

Electro-italodisco-robotic-80's-roller-rink-tech-house, I suppose.

What is one of the wildest, craziest things that's ever happened to you while you've been DJing?

Well, I don't know if it's wild or crazy, just kind of funny: One night when I was spinning at the Plastic Factory, some guy came up and asked me if I was "doing all that myself", insinuating that there was a man behind the curtain or something. I told him with just enough sarcasm to be charming yet make a point that, "No, I have a CD playing and I've just miming the whole time." He got the point. Another night I was DJing some wrap party and a guy asked me if I " had picked out all of those records myself?" To which I replied in a baby voice, "I sure did, and I dressed myself this morning too!" C'mon people, wake the fuck up! Women are workin' it out.

Do you ever get hit on while your DJing? What do you do when it happens?

Of course. It happens all the time. I try to be kind and let them know
that I'm kinda busy at the moment. It's usually by some clueless dork who doesn't even have the courtesy to wait until I'm finished mixing to interrupt me. It's like me going up to drummer in a punk band while he's in the middle of a gig and sitting on his lap and trying to ask him what kind of drum-set he's using and how long he's been playing. Kind of tough for him to focus on the matter at hand! It's flattering but it can be really annoying if you're in the middle of a mix or something. I prefer to be hit on after I'm done with my set!! My favorite thing is when the line they use is something like, "Wow, I've never seen a girl playing records before!" That doesn't impress me. It simply lets me know you've been living under a rock for the past decade.

So is there a pick up line that might work on you?

Wait! Isn't this interview about music?

Ok! Ok! Tell us what you're working on right now.

I have my monthly DJ residency at the Plastic Factory downtown and a monthly gig at Vermont called Resolution. Also, I'll be doing a bi-monthly residency called "Pockit Rockit" @ Star Shoes in Hollywood. The other rotating resident DJs are some heavy hitters like D.J. Kimyon from NYC, Juan Atkins, Kenny Larkin, D.J. Collette, and Reid Speed. It'll happen every other Monday and we'll rotate based on our availability. I've got mad respect for all the folks involved so I'm really looking forward to this one!! Plus various fashion shows, wrap parties and other one-offs around town. I have a few music projects kicking around at the moment too. My primary focus right now is a project I am working on with Eli-173, called Photocall. It's really exciting for me because I am singing AND producing. It's something where I am involved on every level. We are working on a 3 song demo, and slowly but surely, a dance album. It's influenced by 80's, electro and italo- disco. It's undeniably ass-shakin'. I am also working on a solo album that is being produced by Brad Laner (Medicine, Electric Company). I love working with him because he is so genuine and his talent is so diverse. This album, which will be my first album as a vocalist, is going to be it's less dance oriented, more stripped down and organic.

Also, Reverse Commuter is a project by Ken Gibson(Eight Frozen Modules, Furry things, Premature Wig) that I do vocals for. Our first 12" just came out on Hallucination Limited. We are touring Florida next month to promote the record. The music is kind of dubbed out tech-house. It's a nice juxtaposition with my vocals which are much more pure and feminine. I'm really proud of the record. Ken is incredibly prolific. He's got so many different projects on so many different labels that it's hard to keep up with him!

And... I'm doing lots of guest vocals. I did vocals for a track called "Fantasy"on the new Seksu Roba album called "Pleasure Vibrations" out on Eenie Meenie Records. Also did some vocals for Omar Torres and Rabbit in the Moon on some tracks that will hopefully surface soon. And I'm always talking with new producers about collaborations for the future.

Wow. Well, what do you want to accomplish with ALL that you do?

I want to reach my highest potential as a creative force. I want to continue to put out records as a producer/ vocalist, continue doing guest vocals, cuz I learn so much everytime I work with someone new, DJ all over the world. Perform live. Maybe own a record label one day. I also want to continue acting in the film and television industry, finish writing and developing my screenplay. Have a family one day. Live happily ever after. I can see myself settling down living in a big house with a nice studio, a ring around my finger, some kids running around. Bliss...

We think its bliss to listen to Lady Lyric both on her turntables and ours. If you can catch her live, its not something you want to miss!

-- written by Jennifer Warner

 

 

 

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