Up-and-coming Australian DJ, Rhyme, isn't slowing down any time soon. Over the past few years, she's been slaying the game as a model, signed as a DJ by uber cool girls-only management agency The Books, and is touring around the globe with intentions of rocking your face off. We caught up with the Aussie princess to chat about modeling vs DJing - they are very interrelated - her obsession with karaoke and anime, and finally, getting the recognition she's worked so hard to receive. Check out the interview below.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience from growing up as a kid in Sydney to traveling the world as DJ Rhyme? How has the journey been for you?
The journey has been so surreal. Growing up on the east coast between Sydney and Brisbane has influenced my love for city life, nature, and the ocean. I only left Australia for the first time in 2014 on a modeling contract to China, where a lot of my first steps as a DJ began. Traveling has opened my eyes and mind to knowledge and experiences I never thought possible. It is the most exciting feeling jumping on a plane internationally bound, especially now being able to perform what I'm passionate about.
Your father is actually also in the industry - rock legend Richard Lara of The Screaming Jets. What kind of influence did he have on your career growing up as well as today? Who are some of the other people/artists who continue to inspire you?
My father is one of my biggest inspirations. He's taught me patience and persistence as an artist and as a person. The genres I grew up on through him were mainly rock & roll, heavy metal, and thrash rap/hip-hop; so it has definitely shaped my taste for the music I vibe with today. I never saw music as a career initially, but rather as a passion and a natural path to follow. Since I was lucky enough growing up to have access to studios, production programs, and songwriting understanding to develop my own music, I now see something bigger in this industry that I'm working towards.
My top inspirations for songwriting are David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Moby, Soundgarden, Marilyn Manson, and Eminem.
Newer artists' sounds/lyrics that inspire me are FKA Twigs, Sevdaliza, M.I.A., and Gesaffelstein.
DJs include Erol Alkan, Brodinski, Alison Wonderland, and Louisahhh!!! These are super real influences.
We know that you've been super busy traveling and playing shows across the globe. What have been some of your favorite cities so far? Any crazy stories from a fun night abroad?
Ooooooo... I can't pick one. I'm crazy about LA, NYC, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Paris in all their own glory. Tokyo is definitely one place I could spend out till sunrise routinely; I have a sneaky obsession with karaoke and anime. Dress-ups get crazy.
What's a typical day like for you? Do you have any daily routines that are musts?
I like fresh air and sunshine in the morning, and coffee or tea at a local cafe. Yoga and meditation daily, and I enjoy bikram heat when I can find a studio. I never sleep with makeup on and try to keep my skin as bare as possible throughout the day. I opt to eat vegan as much as possible, but I just listen to what my body feels like and usually end up eating what I feel like... chocolate & liquorice #flexitarian.
We're sure that you have to tailor different DJ sets to the different crowds for whom you play. What are your favorite kinds of music/who are some of your favorite artists to play, and how do you decide what works for different audiences?
I'll do sets at lounge bars of jazzy hip-hop house to big dance floors of trappy hip-hop and party tunes. Kanye, Kendrick, and Ri Ri bangerz always go down. Every gig is different, even at the same venue. I focus on reading the energy and vibe of what I feel with the crowd. Late night sets of eclectic electronic beats are my fave style to play.
“Play what you really love and believe in. Really LOVE it, because the art will keep you awake for long long LONG hours."
We read that you like to "...throw curve balls to keep the crowd on their toes." Can you tell us about one of these moments, the song you played, and how the crowd reacted?
Peak hour; Rage Against The Machine; killing in a scratch back to a joint roar from everyone on the floor. These moments are motivating.
What came first - the music or the modeling? As a DJ musician and model, do you find that there are any similarities to performing in both capacities?
Music came first by age but modeling by trade. Performance is an art in itself and modeling taught me the confidence to pose and be natural in front of the camera. Music and modeling are so interrelated though; I'm very visual when I listen, play, or create music, so transforming not only mentally but physically into the character/story of the song is important to me.
We heard that you also play the saxophone! When did you get interested in the sax and how do you now incorporate it into your music?
Actually, I wanted to play sax because of Lisa Simpson, it kinda grew from there. Sometimes I play sax during my DJ sets, mainly at lounge bars and chill spots.
For any of our readers who are looking to make DJing their profession, is there a "best practice" when it comes to starting out in the biz? What kind of DJ equipment do you use/recommend?
Play what you really love and believe in. Really LOVE it, because the art will keep you awake for long long LONG hours. I started on the Serato program with the DDJ-SX model, I still don't own club decks cause they cost $$$$ but I'd ask venues to practice while they were closed or luckily friends let me come over and play on their set up. I recommend the new models that Pioneer is bringing out - there are some really swarve portable options. Good guys.
What are your top five favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
1. @mgm.i - Creative genius, quality visuals, grid is fresh and he's my boyfriend hehe <3.
2. @mr.babies - Just look at it. Just do it.
3. @sitabellan - Girl crush.
4. @bdspitz - NYC as it should be.
5. @last.daze - Captions are 5 ***** + photos to match.
What is the best piece or pieces of advice you've ever been given and from whom?
'Follow me' ~ My heart. There's also a poem called 'Desiderata' that was passed to me from a wise old man. Advice via acumen.
What's it like being part of an all-female DJ agency (The Books)?
It's so empowering to be a part of The Books Agency, there's nothing out there like it. Honestly, I was kind of shocked to be recognized by them and then fly over on tour for shows as a Books DJ. Sometimes I wonder as an artist if anyone listens to or sees what I'm doing, so the confidence that their recognition gave me pushed me to further my ability. Extremely grateful to be a part of it.
@thebks vibe has a certain noir sophistication about them, too. It's really about the music and the skills that us DJs pride ourselves on. No fake Sh!t, only organic.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
La Femme with a lot of influence, attitude, and homegrown style.
Photos by: Stanley Cheng