Managing The Schedule
It was earlier this year that Disko Diva rolled into the Brisbane club scene like a perfect storm. Having made a name for herself on the other side of the Tasman with her blazing take on funky hardhouse, she's quickly built upon that success working the busy Fortitude Valley nightspots.
â€œTo be honest, it's crazy to think that six months have passed,â€ laughs Melissa, as her landlord knows her. â€œWhen I first came I based myself out at Cleveland, just having a bit of a holiday, but before you know it I'm trying to live as close to town as I can because I'm playing every weekend and honestly it's just been crazy. It's already December - what's the deal?!â€
You can understand the disbelief: Melissa is kept busy with her residencies at The Met and Planet, while she also plays regularly at both Birdee Num Nums and Limes Hotel. â€œAt the Met I'm resident in the main room, which has a fairly commercial focus, but then I also play sets down in Coco booths that focus more on the b-sides of the tunes - it's what's on the other side of the vinyl and a little bit different and a little bit underground. People are going down there more to appreciate a slight change in the music rather than just dance to stuff they know in the main room.
â€œWith my residency at Planet I can sort of mix both the styles - it's a bit more underground with the commercial stuff mixed in because they've really only got the one room.â€
Melissa's approach to mixing has changed over the years, becoming a lot more organic. Where she once tried to plan her sets, experience has given her the ability to work much more on the fly. â€œBack in the day I probably used to mentally plan my sets a lot more than I do now. I'd say to myself, 'I'm gonna start with this one', and then as soon as I got up there I'd be like, 'No, let's do this one!' You always just have to roll with what's happening because sometimes you think, 'Oh, the crowdâ€™s going to love this', and then you can see them standing there scratching their heads. But after that you might try a different angle and before you know it the dancefloor's full. You just have to roll with it tune by tune.â€
A big part of Melissa's professional life since moving to Brisbane has been the monthly 'Sex And The Valley' shows at Planet. Packing an all female DJ line-up and providing free entry for the fairer side of the species, the nights have proven a massive success. â€œYeah, they're are doing really well,â€ says Melissa. â€œI think it's awesome that Planet has set aside a monthly night to dedicate to the girls playing and the girls coming in. It's free entry all night for the ladies and then the guys come because there's going to be a bunch of girls there, you know what I mean?! On those nights many girls say to me, 'It's so awesome to see a girl DJ playing'. So I think that a lot of them come in and feeling all 'Go girl!' without actually saying it. They really are fantastic nights.â€
While Melissa may have built her reputation on house music, she's the first to admit her style has changed in tune with the diversifying tastes of her audience. â€œI think it probably has. It's just new styles and time progressing. I think back to when I was first DJing and I was just playing funky house and that was the main dance floor style. But now the tunes are a little more staccato and a little more jagged in their feel. You look at how people shuffle around on the floor - just the way people dance is very different.â€
And while Melissa may be busy, it doesn't look like things will be getting any quieter in 2010. â€œI'm going back to Auckland for New Years, and then looking at 2010 I'm doing another two weekend tour in New Zealand. After that I'm hoping to get down to Sydney and Melbourne before I head off to Thailand at the end of February, so it's all go!â€
Disko Diva is resident at Planet every Friday and The Met every Saturday.