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DJ QZen : The Kotori Interview

How to Cause a Scene Without Being a Scenester
By Susan Holland

If you have never listened to pirate radio or skulked through a mile of warehouse parking lots in San Francisco to arrive at a garage full of sexy, sweaty dancers you may not know Qzen. Don’t let those short bangs and wire-rimmed glasses fool you. Hip minus the ‘–ster’, this woman is crossing scene boundaries and making clubbin’ more than a thrift store chic fashion show.

Sitting in her San Francisco apartment of such epic, hardwood proportions that it would make a New Yorker cry, Qzen talks about her newest project, Moxie Musik. Though her roots are in drum n bass, these days you’ll find Qzen digging through electro and tech-house record bins and dropping vocals for producers John Tejada and Claude Von Stroke. All the while Moxie’s parties are steering San Francisco's nightlife away from Seven jeans, watered-down vodka tonics, and elitism, right back to what started it all: music.

Moxie Musik’s sounds are broad and spontaneous. Whether its Qzen or her partner Bryan James playing a new song on their radio show (http://westaddradio.com Sundays 9-11pm PST) or dropping a remix so hot it turns faux-hawks flat, Moxie is attempting to bring back the vibe from old rave days. Qzen remembers when “there were no lines between scenes. Everyone had their music but we all loved each other. She hopes that attitude can be resurrected in San Francisco, overcoming the dramatic, scenester element that is plaguing the city’s music.

Being a female DJ can come with its own drama. Along with her aversion to a “scene, Qzen steers clear of being the next American Idol. “I’m just not one of those girls.  I hate shopping for clothes. The only things I shop for regularly are groceries and records. She laughs recalling a local gig, “I was just in jeans and a sweater. I had my hair back and my glasses on. At the end of my set this woman comes up to me and says, ‘me and my boyfriend have been watching you spin all night. You look like a schoolteacher but you are fucking killing it!’

In San Francisco, a city so thick in scenes and genres people can’t even eat in a taqueria without being labeled, Moxie Musik is bringing back hope to the nightlife. “It’s about having fun, Qzen says. “Moxie attracts people from different scenes that are sick of the drama and just want to have a good time.


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