CLOSET WORSHIP: DJ ELLA HU$$LE
For the theme of ‘Boys Lie’, I knew I needed to speak with one of the most fly hunnies around, DJ Ella HU$$LE! Ella has been our prime DJ for our events and we wouldn’t want it any other way! Not only do her mixes embody the Bettys’ style to a T, she’s an extremely genuine girl whose outlook on life is to let the good in life come naturally and to stay true to herself all the way through.
Disclaimer: I knew that ‘Boys Lie’ was not an easy style theme in the same easy way Leopard was. So, to prepare Ella for the shoot I gave her a prompt to put her mind in the right direction when picking out her ‘Boys Lie’ outfit. I had to ask “Which outfit would you wear after a night of a boy’s awful lies? What outfit would you wear to boost your spirits back up and make that lying S.O.B. fall to his knees once he saw you on the ‘gram?” Her choice in which you’ll see below was an absolute smash. Enjoy!
Janine: Hey Ella! Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Ella: I moved from Las Vegas to NYC about 2 years ago. Each week I throw my own party called Sunday Service at the Delancey.
J: I’m always curious on how creatives get the initial taste for what’s now their craft. Where did the passion for music and DJing come from?
E: I’ve always been musically inclined. I get it from my father who has collected vinyls forever, and then moved on to CDs. He’s all about music and would always be playing it around the house from when I woke up to when I went to sleep, so I kind of took that with me. I think everything I do has to have a soundtrack because I hate silence; it’s just weird to me. I feel like my life is like a movie and everything needs to have a soundtrack, so that’s how I got into making mixes; I’m always thinking about music. I used to go to school for fashion design and I felt like I wasn’t passionate about it after awhile. I wouldn’t wake up and think about what I wanted to sew, I would think about what songs would go well together. So then I taught myself how to DJ. I bought some turntables and thought "Lets see what happens".
J: How long have you been doing it for?
E: For three years now. I started to play around with songs and slow them down, or do whatever. I’d make mixes for my co-workers too for fun. Then one day I had an epiphany, “Why am I still here? I hate Vegas, I could just sell my car and use that money to go to New York to see where will.” So that’s what I did. I made a list for myself, picked a random day and bought a ticket, and was out. A friend let me stay with her in Jersey until I moved to where I’m living now in Brooklyn.
J: I love that! It’s very bold to take on that kind of gamble with your life.
E: I feel like if you really want to do something and if you focus on it, everything will fall into place. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s really true. It’s working for me.
J: I’m interested in the equipment you use. Can you tell us what you started out with and where you’re at now?
E: I started out with a Vestax Typhoon. When I moved to Jersey, I met a guy who taught a DJ class and he recommended that because it’s portable and I’d be going from Jersey to New York, it’s something that’s easy to carry and easy to learn. I’ve held on to this until it literally did not work anymore (hahaha). The headphones don’t work, only plays out of one ear. It was just so terrible! Now I have the Pioneer DJ tables. When I got it I said Haaaalelujah! It’s so much better and it’s so much fun. I really geek out over this stuff now.
J: So far in your DJ career what has been the most exciting time for you?
E: I’ll say throwing the Sunday Service party because it’s been a very good learning experience in general. I threw parties before but never to this extent. Just the facts that it’s still going, you know? In March, it’ll be a year. At first, I didn’t know what I was doing at all. Nothing was planned out. It went from one week to the next, then one after that, and another after that, and again after that. I’m very excited for the party, and where we can take it. The fact that it’s still consistent blows my mind! We have people that show up every single Sunday and that dedication means so much to me. I meet new people from all over and new opportunities can and have come about because of Sunday Service. I think what I’m really excited for is how far Sunday Service can go and how far we can really take it.
J: So you’re always making mixes and you’re on such a roll with Sunday Service. Where do you want to take your career next? What’s a bigger goal?
E: I want to travel more with my DJing. I’d like to book gigs outside New York, because don’t get me wrong, I love it here. Just because I moved all the way to New York doesn’t mean I only want to live here or only DJ here for the rest of my life. It would be cool to go on a tour, or be a DJ for an artist I really like. I’m all about the underground, so to even be the DJ for an up and coming artist is something I’d really like to do.
J: Would you want to go back to Vegas to play?
E: Yeah! I’d love to DJ where I used to hang out. That would be amazing.
J: You roll with a little group of DJs right?
E: Yeah there’s DJ 9AM and Amrit. We did a house party together the other night. But it’s hard to always get together since everyone is doing their own thing. I like to do things myself anyway. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting help, or for advice, but I certainly like to do things on my own.
J: Aside from doing your own thing, would you ever consider DJing in a collective?
E: Oh yeah! That would be dope. I would love to have something going on like what Discowoman have going on. They are very cool and I love what they’re doing. I just don’t know where to start with that because I’m focusing on my own brand first. But once I get to where I’d like to be, it would be cool to bring on others. I’m all for putting other people on, especially women because I don’t see women getting the acknowledgment we should be. I feel that Sunday Service is sort of a collective already. We who are involved, all have a group chat and we talk every day, but we’re not all DJs. An all female DJ collective to go on tours with would be sooooooo dope.
J: What can you tell the readers about being a female DJ? The reception you receive from a new audience, if there's ever been adversity you've had to face, and your thoughts on how females in this profession are perceived in 2016.
E: Being a female DJ has it’s bad moments and it's good ones. I feel as a woman in a male-dominated industry, you have to know twice as much and work twice as hard. I'm always up for a challenge! And that's definitely one of the reasons why I became a DJ. I want to change the skewed view of ‘women don't know music!’ The reception is always the same too, "Oh that was you spinning?" Haha. I don't pay any mind to it now. I also feel that now it is easier to get booked as a woman, but I always feel someone looking over my shoulder to see what I'm doing, so they can add their two cents. I know I can say with confidence that I'm good, I know my shit. There's a lot of men who respect women in the music scene, but there's a lot that truly don't, and just pretend to, which is really sad. I've never faced any real adversity in this scene, I just always speak my mind and let people know how it is at all times, and I feel that's how I'm able to continue to grow and get better opportunities and new experiences.
J: Who inspires you?
E: Q-Tip is a god to me because he’s so in tune with everything. When he DJs, he’s just in the zone and doesn’t care about anything else. But when I DJ, I’m more of an observer to what people around me are doing. Q just plays anything he wants to, and people rock out to it! I admire how he plays and how he puts the music into a story. Venus X inspires me because she’s so intelligent, and her DJ skills, like Q’s, are similar. She will play whatever she wants and it works. A lot of people who do that cannot always get their set to translate to the audience, the way Q and Venus do. I really admire her for the way she throws her own parties too, and what she stands for. Jasmine Solano is another inspiration because I’ll always remember what she told me when she spoke at the Apple store. Her advice was “know your stuff”. So now, every time I get down I think of ‘Know your stuff girl. Do this and do that, yeah!’
J: Do you take on any other creative projects?
E: I have since I was a kid. I used to draw and would make coloring books. I went to school for fashion design because I’d tear apart clothing and sew it back together. I always loved doing that to see if I could make the clothing go back the way it was or just to see what happens and what I could come up with. I don’t do that so much more many more but I did rip up a favorite pair of jeans.
J: Are you working on any projects right now?
E: I’m working on a Neptunes mix, but I'm not rushing anything. I feel like I really want to perfect things, and show my growth. I want to put out a Valentine’s Day mix too but no dates on that yet. The Sunday Service one year party is coming up, so I’m working on that too.
J: How would you describe your personal style and how does it correlate to your craft?
E: I keep it very relaxed. I always want it to be like I ironed my clothes before I went to bed, slept with them on, got up in the morning, and gave myself enough time to still do my makeup all nice.
I like to play a lot of 80s/90s pop, so I dress with that as an influence. My style is 90s girl and there’s no way I can ever get around that. Baggy jeans and being a tomboy at heart is how it goes for me. Even if I don’t have that mindset while getting dressed, it just happens. I do love to dress up as well and be girly with my makeup and do my hair real nice time to time.
J: Whose closet do you worship?
E: Good question! I would like to raid 2003 Kelis’ closet. Her closet is probably still poppin’ but hers and Mariah Carey’s closet from that time must’ve been insane. When “Caught Out There” came out, oh yeah I’d raid her closet.
J: What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
E: This is my favorite piece because I know nobody has it and it looks like a Muppet.
J: Ella! This jacket is INCREDIBLE!! It looks cropped and is bright orange and fuzzy!!!
E: It’s a Betsy Johnson jacket that I don’t even wear that often. It’s not easy to!
J: What are you looking for next?
E: Some unique shoes; a latex booty with a pink heel. I’m also into denim on denim so denim booties would be great too. I like to have pieces that aren’t everywhere else.
J: When a boy makes you feel shitty, do you use style and fashion to lift your spirit back up?
E: I do that a lot. I’ll ask my roommate what she’s doing and we'll go out. We don’t necessarily go out dancing every time, but we’ll just get dressed up and go out to eat if we feel like it. Feeling cute will change your whole attitude. I definitely believe that looking good will make you feel good, even if it’s for a second. And you can’t tell me that wearing your favorite pair of shoes or new makeup you bought doesn’t make you feel good because then I’ll know you’re lying.
J: Hah! Heard that. This was a ton of fun babe thank you so much!
E: Yes it was and you’re welcome!