There comes a time for many musicians when they choose to toss away full-time jobs and security to pursue their dreams. This usually involves eating cheap takeout to afford studio time, begging everyone they know to listen to their demo, and putting up fliers around town. Wait, sorry, this is 2010: It means building a studio in your closet and making an iPhone app.
At least that’s how DJ Neekola is doing it. After years of spinning house and progressive music part time along the K Street and Georgetown corridors, the Richmond native is recording her first original album. Tentatively titled a, the record is due out in October. The album, which she is recording in a retrofitted closet, will contain a wide mix of electro, she says, and will feature her vocals, as well—-for better or worse.
“I was kicked out of bands for not singing very well,” she says. “Those were the days before Auto-Tune. I’ve been doing karaoke forever, and I know I’m not amazing at it, but it’s just such a great form of expression. If it’s a real personal song to me, I’d like to have my voice on it.”
But with a ways to go until the album’s release, Neekola decided to get her moniker out there—-through an iPhone app, obviously. Created with help from her friend, local photog Tim Coburn, Neekola’s app is a hub for Twitter updates, blog posts, gig listings, and other social-app staples. “It’s already gotten more than 3,000 downloads,” she says. “It’s actually doing really well all over the world, but a lot of the downloads are coming from China for some reason.”
Neekola, who has never performed in the Middle Kingdom before, just landed stateside after spending more than a month across the pond playing a series of gigs and parties in Switzerland, Ibiza, and Madrid.
“DJing a big club in D.C. is definitely different than DJing in Europe,” she says. “If it’s a local night here, it’s never as full as a club would be over in Europe. And in Europe I can get more creative with the music…I don’t have to stick to just vocal house, and I never have to mix in top 40 or commercial stuff, but it’s like a necessity here in D.C. And almost always in Europe, the people jump, wave their hands and dance like crazy.”
Neekola DJs at local venues like L2, MOVA, Funxion, and Auld Shabeen in Fairfax. She spins at L2 on June 23.