Ana Calderon…what can I say about her that hasn’t already been said? She’s among LA’s finest DJs, with enviable talent, gigs, collaborators, and friends. On top of it all, she’s genuine and true to her uncompromising taste for excellent music, no matter the genre, country of origin, or popularity. Endless kudos to Ana for doing it up right.
Cedar: You were working at Dim Mak before you started DJing full time right? Did working in music inspire you to DJ and throw parties?
Ana: Yes, I worked at Dim Mak for four years. Part of being the Label Manager and Director of Marketing at Dim Mak was overseeing all the events and booking DJs for those events. I never really intended to become a DJ, but in a strange way, everyone who works for Dim Mak at one point or another eventually becomes a DJ! There would be nights the DJ was running late, and I would hop up there and just play CDs or bring an iPod to cover until the DJ showed. From there, a friend who threw parties on the Eastside asked me to do a proper DJ set at the echo, and so I did. After that first set, it was non-stop from then on.
Cedar: You host both La Boum at Bardot and Nomerica at El Cid, right? What other parties are you affiliated with or like to go to in LA?
Ana: La Boum is actually on hiatus right now. We’re in our third year of the party and needed a little vacation. We’ll be back this summer. And yes I also host/DJ Nomerica at El Cid, and I host/dj at Hemingway’s in Hollywood on Saturdays. My other favorite parties/clubs are Harvard & Stone, Animal, Part Time Punks, Paul & Andre’s, Spare Room, Edendale, etc.
Cedar: I’ve seen you DJ a few times, once alongside Shepherd Fairey at the Cobrashop opening. What have been some of your favorite moments DJing throughout the years, especially alongside people that you really admire musically or otherwise?
Ana: I’ve gotten the chance to DJ alongside quite a few incredible people. I guess some of the most memorable have been DJing with Thom Yorke on a few occasions. One of those occasions being Radiohead’s Grammy party a couple years ago where me, Chris Holmes, Nigel Godrich, Thom, and ?uestlove from the Roots all shared the DJ decks. I got to meet Paul McCartney, and he unintentionally compared my hug to that of John Lennon’s. Other memorable sets are doing an accidental private DJ set for Prince, DJing at Gloria Estefan’s house for her son’s wedding, DJing Smiths songs for Morrissey, DJing in Egypt, Djing outside on the mountain in Mammoth, opening up for amazing bands like Beach House, Sleigh Bells, Edward Sharpe & Magnetic Zeros, etc., DJing with people like The Strokes, Devendra Banhart, Black Keys, Phoenix, LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, Klaxons, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, and Flight of The Conchords. Wow, I get to have lots of fun in this weird job, and I now feel like name dropper! Hahaha.
Cedar: How important is it to you to have a varied, eclectic set? I really like how you DJ quality music, despite the genre or type of event.
Ana: It’s extremely important for me to keep the music unconventional. I DJ because I love music. I NEVER play a song I wouldn’t listen to at home on headphones. The music I pick doesn’t have anything to do with “what’s popular” “what’s danceable” “what’s going to sell the most bottles” etc. It’s all music that feels right, and in the end music that I love. It might be songs that were stuck in my head all day or songs that I forgot about and just wanted to hear at that moment. Sometimes I’ll pick a song because I see a kid in the audience wearing a t-shirt with that band’s name on it, and I’m reminded how much I love that band. Does that make sense? It’s all about the music. I especially love turning people on to new stuff, whether it be a forgotten oldie or a song I found on some strange kid’s blog by a band that doesn’t really exist. Either way, sharing is caring.
Cedar: Who are any creatives that inspire you these days?
Ana: I’m super inspired by Nicole Disson and what she does with her artist SERIES Downtown. She co-hosts with me at Nomerica and is a such an awesome person. I’m also really inspired by people like BJ Panda Bear, who just lays it all out on the table via his blog. He’s such a magical human. I love him dearly. I’m also inspired by my friends making music – really digging the tunes coming from some of my favorite ladies like Soko, Tashaki Miyaki, Beth Jeans Houghton, Warpaint, Stone Darling, ASKA, Ariana Delawari, etc.
Cedar: Lastly, do you have any cool upcoming projects you can share? Anywhere special we can come see you spin?
Ana: I’ll be DJing the after parties for the Edward Sharpe and Mumford & Sons tour, then off to NYC for some gigs, and hopefully this summer a fun weekly pool party!