Eliza May is a Russian DJ best known for her unique mixing style and turntablism skills.
Her sets often are a mixture of R&B, Hip-Hop, and EDM. At her core of DJ?ing is her love for turntablism and often incorporates scratching, juggling, and body tricks into her sets.
Eliza May is a well decorated DJ placing as runner up in the Russian Delphic Games in 2013. In that same year she placed 3rd at the Delphic Games of CIS. A piano prodigy, Eliza May also received accolades in her early years as a teenager for her skills.
Eliza learned to scratch and beat juggle from some of the best DJs in the world; DJ Qbert and DJ I-Dee. This explains why her skills are at such a high level which far exceed even the most seasoned turntablist. Additionally, she the first Russian girl DJ, whose Russian mixes were broadcasted by Shaker radio-show on the Canary Islands.
Ipe Owner and Co-Founder Dr. G sat down with Eliza May to learn more about this up and coming Russian DJ.
Dr. G.-When did you start DJing?
EM-I started DJing about 6 years ago but got into turntablism about 2,5 years ago.
Dr. G.-How did your family react when you told them you wanted to make Djing a career?
EM-They were shocked. My parents didn’t even know what DJs do and that there is a job like that. They hoped that it’s just one of my hobbies and it will go away in a few months but it didn’t. Now they are more appreciative of what I do, listening to all my mixes and watching all the videos.
Dr. G.-I hear you also have two college degrees. What are they in and do they help you with DJing?
EM-Yes, I have two University degrees, one in management and another one in economics. Not sure if they help me a lot with DJing, I think my musical education helps more with that, but they definitely help me in life in general.
Dr. G.-How did you connect with DJ Qbert and Thud Rumble?
EM-I was a student at DJ Qbert’s Online Skratch University. And after graduating Tyumen Oil and Gas University I decided to go to the USA for a few months. I contacted DJ Qbert and asked if I can get skratch lessons from him in San Francisco since I was going to stay there. He said, of course! And that’s how I met him and all of the Thud Rumble crew. They took me under their wing when I was staying in Cali and I participated in lots of interesting events with them.
Dr. G.-Who are some of your musical inspirations?
EM-I am a turntablist so for me skills are very important. I admire lots of talented and skillful DJs as Qbert, I-Dee, A-Trak, Roc Raida (RIP), Vekked, Angelo, just to name a few.
Dr. G.-What kind of music do you listen to for yourself when not developing sets for gigs?
EM-Pretty much the same that I’m listening to when I’m developing gigs. I’m an open-format DJ so I play and listen to lots of different genres like Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, House, Deep House, Tech House, Electro House, Trap, Dubstep.
Dr. G.-Tell me about the most memorable DJ experience you’ve had so far in your career?
EM-Every gig is memorable. It always feels awesome to play for other people, to see them dancing, to feel their emotions. The connection with your crowd create unbelievable communication channel. It’s amazing the exchange of energy with people!
Dr. G.-If you could perform anywhere in the world what country would it be and why?
EM-I would really like to perform at Tomorrow land in Belgium and Brazil. I watched lots of videos from the festival and it looks amazing! Definitely the place where I want to play in the future.
Dr. G.-Who would you like to collaborate with either on production or a tour?
EM-On production I would like to collaborate with Diplo, DJ Snake, Yellow Claw, RL Grime or Bro Safari. On a tour, I don’t know, maybe with Rihanna. Actually lots of people are in my mind right now. Rihanna would be my top choice at the moment.
Dr. G.-When not DJing what are you usually doing? I hear you are passionate about food.
EM-Oh yes! I’m a huge foodie! Sometimes I feel like I can eat 24 hours a day. And I definitely?? a big sugar addict. Trying to get rid of that addiction though. So what else I like to do besides eating. I like to swim. In Russia I used to swim at least two days per week in a sport swimming pool near my house. I like walking a lot, going to cinemas or to entertainment parks. Here in LA I like to go to the beach and just sunbathing and walking there all day long.
Dr. G.-Do you play any instruments?
EM-Yes, I played the piano for 8 years. I haven?t touched it for about 7 years though. And turntables of course!
Dr. G.-What are your favorite genres of music to play when you are out doing a show?
EM Hip-hop and Trap.
Dr. G.-What genre will never make it into your playlist?
EM-I don’t know. I’m pretty much open to any genres.
Dr. G.-As one of the top female turntablists in a male dominated industry, have you experienced any challenges to earning respect in the community?
EM-Not many people are taking you seriously first, when your just starting out. And being a girl doesn’t really help because lots of DJs think that girls can’t mix and especially scratch or juggle. But when you show them that you actually can do all of that and you practice a lot to be better, they start to accept you.
Dr. G.-Do you feel that there is adequate support in the turntablism community for aspiring female DJs and what has your experience been like regarding this?
EM-Yes, especially here in the USA. And I was lucky since I had the support form DJ Qbert and Thud Rumble crew. Unfortunately turntablism is not big in Russia but here the turntablist community is very strong. Also I think it’s not about being a man or a woman but it’s all about personality, talent and passion. I am sure that it is equally possible for both men and women to be a good DJ.
Dr. G.-How do people react to you when you inform them that you’re a turntablist?
EM-I rarely inform anybody about it, I usually show. And they react pretty good.
Dr. G.-Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with aspiring DJs trying to make it in the industry?
EM-Just determine what you like and develop your skills in that sphere. If you really love what you do and work hard for it – you will get something back.