[Editor’s note: In Tweets is Watching, Phillip Mlynar asks local artists questions based solely on the contents of their Twitter timeline.]
Bhangra ambassador DJ Rekha will be spinning at the next BRIC House shindig on December 14th. The night will cap a day of Brooklyn-based art tributes, including a performance from Afro-funksters mamarazzi, who will also be celebrating the release of their new album Michael Jordan (Get Your fuNck On) that evening. Ahead of the get down, we ran through Rekha’s timeline references to M.I.A., Frank Garcia’s Mainline Lighting record store, and an overreaching new local food spot.
Can you remember your first trip to the Mainline Lighting record store?
Yeah, it was in the early ’90s. It was one of the first DJ records shops I’d ever been to; it was in Flushing and I was a student at Queens College and I heard you could rent speakers there and buy DJ records. At that time you bought records at specialized DJ shops and they always sold gear. That was the first place I ever rented gear from.
What did you rent?
I rented a pair of speakers, a pair of big-ass speakers to do a gig. They were like $60 for the pair. Though I don’t remember where the gig was — it was probably someone’s birthday party in a basement somewhere.
What were your first impressions of Mainline Lighting?
It was awesome. There were a lot of DJs hanging out. There was actually an Indian DJ working there at the time and a guy called Tank who I just found out passed away — he eventually got a job at Tommy Boy records. It was a real hang-out vibe, you know? The owner, Frank Garcia, was always there and was very hands on. He was a DJ. A real cool place.
Do you miss the social part of going to a record store?
Yeah, I miss that part of it. And I haven’t been to Rough Trade yet so I cannot comment on that!
You posted up a pic from the Matangi party in Bushwick. I’m guessing you’re a fan of M.I.A.’s new album?
Yeah, I’m a fan of it. I’d heard some of the tracks before, I liked “Bad Girls” which had been out for a while and the other dancehall track was good. I thought it was pretty solid. She has a lot of different styles and beats and Switch is producing some of the tracks. I’m a fan of her music, you know?
How would you explain M.I.A.’s appeal to someone who’s perhaps not a fan of her?
I think it’s really interesting music. It’s got great bass sounds and if you dig deeper the lyrics are provoking but it really works on the dance floor. It’s hard to describe without being cliched but it’s a global mix! My favorite track on the album is “Double Bubble Trouble” and it starts with a dubby vibe then goes into trap then goes out there. It’s well done.
What direction would you like to see M.I.A. head in next?
Just keep it going. Make good beats. She’s her own being. I like all of her work more or less and I think if she just keeps with her sound it’ll stay unique.
What’s the story behind the food place you Instagrammed about in less than complimentary terms?
It’s a new spot in my neighborhood and it’s just trying to do too many things at one.
Why do some restaurants do that?
I don’t know, I really don’t. But it kinda has the vibe of a college cafeteria.
Is the food any good though?
I’ve not walked into that place.
Any plans to try it in the future?
In desperation I probably will ’cause it’s a 24-hour place, but not in any conscious state.
Finally, what can people expect from the BRIC House night?
You can expect my bag of tricks. I think it’s exciting to be part of BRIC and play in Brooklyn, where I don’t play nearly enough. I’m gonna be open format in terms of what I play: I’m able to branch out a bit here and I’ll be playing some classic hip-hop, some bhangra, maybe some M.I.A. This gig gives me a chance to diversify the palette.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in the crowd at one of your shows?
I don’t know. I think that sometimes people really actually try and have a conversation and talk to you and in the midst of a dance floor are giving you directions and directives in any sort of way. It can’t possibly make sense to them — how would they think that would be effective or that I would care?
How do you deal with that?
Smile, say not now, or ignore.