Misa - Music Is A Vibrational Language

For our 25th instalment of The Boog, Misa is joining the lineup with her collection of afro-disco, 80s funk and incredibly good taste. In the lead up to this Saturday’s club night dedicated to 80s boogie and good vibes, we got together to talk about the importance of getting more woman identifying people on lineups, Misa’s radio show Run With The Wolves and how a good night on the dance floor can be healing.

Photo by Emily Raferty

Photo by Emily Raferty

You have a great collection of afro-disco/funk records - what initially attracted you to that whole scene?

Friends! Haha I’m always being inspired by them when it comes to musical worlds, all my close friends I've met through music one way or another and I'm forever learning from them. I've only really grazed the surface of the music that came out of Africa during those eras. Discovering these records is never-ending and that's exciting to me, the talent was so prosperous and the energy! You can feel it through and through and my body can't deny that. It's pick you up, elevate your soul, or party till your heart’s content music. Pure vibes. That's why I love sharing it with people.

Where did your DJ name Misa come from?

That’s actually my family name from my Samoan side, my Grandad and Nana were in a band called the Starbrites so they were always playing music and jamming with friends & family. My Mum incessantly played music and danced around the house when I was young too, so I wanted to honour where my musical roots all came from.

Music transcends language. It’s a vibrational language and that’s what brings people together.

You have a radio show on Base FM called Run With The Wolves with Scarlett. Please tell me that great name is inspired by the book!

Yes, it is. The idea came from one of the first parties we curated last year as Lushelection with Laura Lush & Janiac, which was run by Women and had a full line up of cosmic Wāhines. The name reflects and is a reminder to all women to honour the powerful force that we have within us, yes we're passionate, creative, abundant but yet we're like an endangered species. Don't lose site or the connection you have with your natural instincts & intuition that invokes your mana to steer your true self in this world.

Photo: Base FM

Photo: Base FM

What kind of music do you and Scarlett play on the show?

Where to start!? We’ve both got a generous appreciation for all kinds of music, so it’s always a mix every week which makes it really interesting. We just have fun. Sometimes we'll be deep in the mix with electronic music and other times it's laid back playing dub and funk records. You can expect to hear anything from afro-disco to ambient to classic LP’s like Sade & Madonna. Whatever you hear it'll be good.

What do we need more of in Auckland's nightlife?

More people! This city would really benefit from that. I'd also love to see more parties alternated between different locations, throughout the seasons, like warehouse/commercial spaces, rooftops, gallery spaces, where decor and sound is key. Rolling in a heavyweight sound system, dressing up the venue with visual stimuli. I'm all for creating spaces that contribute to the overall human experience through sound and vision, making those nights memorable. Even within existing venues, just changing the decor and dressing it for night to change the dynamics, just small things. Scarlett from Friendly Potential pushes the boat out on that one for their gigs. It's always different and that sets a vibe in itself from the get go.


Are sounds that heal a big part of playing music for you?

A massive part! Music is a healer. Music transcends language. It’s a vibrational language and that’s what brings people together. A lot of people who would never normally be brought together in a room, get together and who knows what can be created from that, probably babies haha but you know what I mean. You come home and you’re having a shitty day and the first thing you do is put on music and instantly you’re elevated, you’re in a whole different head space and heart space.

Even in nightlife. You wouldn’t think of going to a club for healing but…

I guess people do go to the club as a form of release. People don’t really think of it like healing but it’s there.

I know there’s people who only go out once a month, just for The Boog cause they know they can rely on it being a good night out.

Does working with other women make it easier to actually get gigs? Does it make it easier to thrive out there in a still very male dominated industry?

Yes and no. You can be a fierce force when you work together as a crew and that can have great reaching power but then working as an individual woman you can be a force to be reckoned with and that will also get people’s attention.

Are all women line ups a thing we need more of?

Absolutely. We have so many bad ass producers, performers, DJs, musicians who should be celebrated more… the ratio of women being on lineups is tediously unbalanced so we should definitely be doing more of that, it is 2019!

Poster designed by Misa with collage by Ali Gulec

Poster designed by Misa with collage by Ali Gulec

It’s pick you up, elevate your soul, or party til your heart’s content music. Pure Vibes.

What can we as an industry/music scene do about the need to get more women on lineups?

Simple, book more women!

There’s a lot of promoters and venue managers that know someone or knows someone that knows someone. Or if you don't know anyone, I'd recommend just getting out there and doing your research. Easy.

Which leads me to my next question - what would your dream gig be?

Outdoor summer festival with dramatic landscapes as backdrops and an all women line up both local and international. Heavily focused on big sound systems, a lot of bass bins haha. That would be a vibe.

Bringing the kōrero back to Karangahape Rd, you used to have a record store here, right? 

Yeah I used to have a record store in La Gonda Arcade. Beats People Movement with Barry Dapht1. We started promoting gigs in 2005, mainly artists that were coming up and a little less known, both local and international, mostly music that we were picking up on from the UK & US that wasn't being pushed here in NZ. That led to a fortnightly club night at Rising Sun which was really successful for the bass scene at that time and the record store just felt like a natural evolution.

Gig poster designed by Misa with tarot illustration by Lisa Sterle

Gig poster designed by Misa with tarot illustration by Lisa Sterle

Are there any other creative projects you're working right now?

There's a few haha. I was just telling a friend today that I wanted to clone myself, perhaps invest in a Kat robot. I always have one or two projects running in the background. Besides DJing, I've actually been reconnecting with my graphic design roots. I've done all the designs for the gigs I've played recently and that's been fun and inspiring.

Rumour is Laura Lush from Lushelection is about to launch NinthWaveSound, her own sound system.

Yes! She’s doing it for her PHD. It’s all about the empowerment of women. It'll be run by women with women performers & artists. She’s designed it and built it herself, which she'll be launching soon.

Photo by Eliza Trubuhovich

Photo by Eliza Trubuhovich

And lastly, this is your first time DJing at The Boog but you’ve been representing on the Boog dance floor for a while now. What do you love about it?

The music! And the crowd. I find the people going to the boog are genuinely there to dance & have a good time.

I know there's people who only go out once a month, just for The Boog cause they know they can rely on it being a good night out.

Catch Misa playing tunes along with our other special guest Scott Towers and Boog resident DJs Lucky Lance, Frank Booker and Hudge, this Saturday from 10PM to 4AM. The Boog usually sells out so get your tickets now!

You can follow Misa on Instagram and listen to her radio show Run With The Wolves on Base FM.