Blu Detiger has more than an epic name. This rising DJ and bassist has more talent in her pinky finger than most musicians twice her age. Already a fixture at The House of Yes, Blu weaves disco house music and improvised live bass into a groovy tapestry during each one of her sets. Before road tripping to Gratitude Migration with Blu in July, CONVICTS caught up with her in her epic New York apartment. We got the young boss-lady’s word on musical improvisation, sexism in the music industry, and Tacombi’s corn in a cup.
To start can you tell us who you are and where you’re from?
My name is Blu Detiger and I’m from New York City.
How old are you?
Don’t worry about it.
No I was just going to ask a question about drinking, but maybe I shouldn’t…
You can ask it, but I don’t drink.
You don’t drink?
I don’t drink when I perform. I like to be professional. Stay focused and stay on it. Present and connected. That’s my philosophy, so I don’t drink on the job.
Mad respect. You’re about four hundred times more mature than we were at your age. Can you tell us a bit about your musical style?
I’m a bass player first and foremost. I also DJ, but when I DJ, I add a lot of bass at the same time.
Talk a bit about how your show is different from a standard house music or bass show.
So adding live bass is different, ‘cause anyone can learn how to DJ if they really want to, but you have to be really proficient at an instrument to be able to do what I do. Whenever I add my own thing no one else can replicate it, which is cool because anyone can play the same songs, but no one can add something on the spot that’s different every time. I feel special about that.
How did you get into music?
I started playing when I was seven years old. At the time my older brother was playing drums, so naturally I wanted to learn to play an instrument as well. I thought guitar was too mainstream and I wanted to be a little bit different, so I chose bass and everything just unfolded from there.
Were your folks encouraging of your musical career?
Yea. I was brought up to always follow my passion from my parents and everyone else around me, so I just kind of went with it. I’m happy about it.
Right on. So since you’re a native born New Yorker, what does it feel like leaving the city?
I like leaving, but as soon as I leave I feel like I need to come back. I get anxiety that I’m missing out. I need to be doing something.
What do you think is the most overrated thing in New York City?
What’s your favorite meal in the city then?
I usually get some tacos from La Esquina and go to my shows. That or Tacombi’s corn in a cup are my pre show meals. Tacos and easy stuff.
So at Convicts we are interested in troublemakers. Not troublemakers like shoplifting, but people who are mixing it up and advancing their fields. You’re young, you’re a female in a male dominated industry – do you see yourself stirring things up or rejecting the status quo with your career?
I feel like I am disrupting the normal thing in nightlife so that’s kind of a troublemaker thing. Anything that’s a little bit different qualifies you as a troublemaker, and I think I’m shaking it up in a good way.
Any new music coming out now?
I have original music coming out that I wrote with my brother. It’s pretty cool and different and very New York. The lyrics are very much about the New York experience. It’s really cool.
So you DJ a good bit at the House of Yes. Can you tell us what’s going on over there when you do?
When I play House of Yes it’s usually the disco night, which is my favorite type of music. I love 70s disco and funk so that’s when I really get to play what I like. It’s also the all-white party, and I love wearing all white in the summertime. My brother wears all-white everywhere. It’s totally our thing.
What is it about House of Yes that’s attractive?
It’s the only club right now that’s trying to replicate an old disco club like Paradise Garage, The Loft, stuff like that so I think that’s really, really cool. It’s also huge. So fun. You go in there and you just dance by yourself like no one will care. It’s no bullshit. Good music and a fun time.
Have you faced any sexism or ageism in the industry?
A lot of people are more aware of sexism now in the music industry so they make an effort to feature female artists and female DJs. They’ll have a female DJs night or an all-girls night, which is really great. But it also means that when I come into a place I kind of have to prove that I’m there not just because I’m a girl, that I’m there because I study my craft and know what I’m doing. There’s always disadvantages and advantages. But girls and guys should be judged the same.
What advice can you give to other young women that want to get into dance music?
I’d say just do it. If you like it then go out there and play as many shows as you can. Get your face shown. Try to find mentors that are older than you to bring you up. Just do your thing and follow your passion.
Where do you like to go out other than House of Yes?
It’s hard to say. I really like this new club, Et Al, that I actually play at a lot, but I just play bass there. It’s a cool, interactive performance thing where I play bass to the tracks that the DJs play. It’s really fun for me and then I get to put the bass down and dance a lot. I love dancing.
Who inspires you?
Definitely my mentors. I have a bunch of mentors for bass playing and DJing. Also my family, my brother, who I do a lot of music stuff with. Shout out to Rex. Just the people I surround myself with.
Speaking of family, what sort of music did your parents play when you were younger?
So my parents lived in Ibiza for a while, so I went to Ibiza every summer when I was growing up. A lot of house music on the beach during sunset.
How much do you think that’s influenced your path?
A lot, but it’s been like subconscious. Listening to like house music and disco, even rock growing up really helped. When I first started playing music, I played rock songs like ACDC, Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. The music I listened to when I was younger really influenced me.
Your pops is an artist – how did that influence your musical style?
A lot of my dad’s art includes music, and a lot of his pieces have music in it. That’s very inspiring. His art focuses on happiness and light and a lot of his paintings have pixie dust and really light colors, so it’s always nice to be surrounded by that good energy.
Good positive vibes. Lastly, do you have any hidden talents?
I love ping-pong. I now DJ at a ping-pong place and in between songs I go and rally a little bit. I went to ping-pong summer camp. That’s a little fun fact. It was so cool.
Sounds perfect. How did you get this ping-pong gig?
I was like ‘Yea I’ll play, but can I get a free table?’, the guy was like ‘Oh yea, drinks table, sure’ and I was like, ‘No. A ping pong table.’
Right on Blu, thanks.