Bliss is one of the up-and-coming female breakbeat DJs in the
US, bringing in a sound which has predominantly taken off in
the UK, and to an extent, in Florida, but here's what she has
to say about the breakbeat scene in general, Jazz, and this
Miss Bliss is Cara Wolinsky, the 21 year old DJ
from New York City who plays at the Big Apple Breaks Night in New
York. She has also playing alongside DJs such as Satoshi Tomiie and
Hector Romero, and is one of the rising stars of the breakbeat
i:Vibes thanks Cara for spending a bit of time to do
this interview, and I'm sure that this will give a little insight to
the breaks scene which is slowly emerging as one of the bigger
genres in the US, especially in New York!
First of all, can you give us a bit of background on yourself,
influences, where you're from and your likes /
Miss Bliss: I was born and raised in New York,
and spent my teenage years listening to jungle. Dieselboy’s
“Drum’n’bass Selection USA” from SubBase and Omni Trio’s “Haunted
Science” were the first two albums I ever bought, a nd remain
favorites of mine to this day. Konkrete Jungle was the only
16+ event going on at the time, so I would go there every Monday
(after an inevitable argument with my parents about going out
on a school night), and from there, I really fell in love with
Upon graduation I moved out to Southern California
for college where I got my hands on a tape of Florida breaks and I
really liked the sound but I had never heard anyone spin it live
before. Since there was no one playing what I wanted to hear, I
figured I’d just better go ahead and do it myself! I started playing
Florida breaks, and played it for about 2 years, until I recently
started spinning nu skool.
Musically, I enjoy pretty much
anything as long as it’s got a broken beat. I like music that has
strong song structure; more abstract songs or songs where you’ve got
manic drums strewn all over the place don’t really do it for
i:Vibes: How would you describe the style of
your music in your own words?
Miss Bliss: I
play breaks, generally nu skool breaks, but it’s more melodic than a
lot of what I hear out. I like songs with vocals, strong basslines,
and heavy drums. I still get booked to play Florida breaks sets
though, and I have no problem playing that. The reason why I started
playing nu skool was really because no one in New York liked Florida
breaks — I think it’s too happy and carefree for New Yorkers. They
are a rather pretentious bunch (and I can say that ’cause I’m a New
Yorker!) and they want “cool” music rather than just
get-up-and-dance happy music. So I was like, ok I’ll check out this
nu skool breaks business, and I actually really liked it. I think
the sound has evolved a lot since I first heard it and wrote it off
as dark blips and bleeps, and it’s become quite musical and even
beautiful at times, and yet always very danceable. It’s the perfect
fusion of the heavy drums and basslines you get in
jungle/drum’n’bass with the slower (130-135 bpm) breakbeat of
i:Vibes: Big Apple Breaks is the
night you play in New York, how has the experience been for you? and
what do you hope for for 2002?
Big Apple Breaks has been just great. I had a weekly party a little
over a year ago, and people just didn’t get it. I played a lot of
Florida breaks and the party was on a Sunday.. I did meet a few
heads who were like, “Wow I love breaks, I can’t believe there’s a
weekly breaks party, thanks for putting this together!” But they
were few and far between. Now that breaks is catching on a bit more,
we have a little scene here in NYC. It’s small, I mean, I pretty
much know everyone by name, but it’s good. I’ve met a lot of breaks
DJs both local, national and international through having this
party, so it’s definitely been a great thing for me and for the NYC
scene as well. Plus the party is free, so we hope to be exposing new
ears to the sound in the upcoming months. As far as other hopes for
2002, we’d like to expand to a space with a better
i:Vibes: In the breakbeat scene, it
seems to be pretty different from that of the UK or the rest of the
world. What do you think of the likes of the UK Rennie Pilgrim,
Hybrid, Beber and others? How about the European scene in
Miss Bliss: I don’t know much
about the European breakbeat scene except what the UK has to offer.
I mean, I think that’s really the only place where it’s taken off
the way it has. Basically, for nu skool, the UK is where it’s at
right now. Top notch tunes for the most part.
Aside from breaks, do you ever tend to venture into other genres
of music in your sets? how about at home?
Bliss: When I play Florida breaks sets, sometimes I throw in
some old 4/4 tracks that are real rave classics but usually I just
stick to breaks. I have some atmospheric jungle tunes, Good Looking
style, that I play for myself at home, but other than that I’m
pretty much a strictly breaks girl. I do listen to lots of other
music though — I love old vocal jazz (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie
Holiday..), reggae, and indie rock.
top tunes at the moment?
Currently blowing my mind are (in no particular
Unseen Force “2 B Your 1”
Aquasky vs. Masterblaster
Elite Force - "Killer Elite"
Dan F. - "Double
Trigger - "Rollercoaster"
Stakker - "Humanoid (Krafty
Stir Fry - "Breakin' On The Streets"
Soul Of Man -
"Get It Girl”
Jaded - "Wake Me (Koma & Bones mix)"
Beats - Mercury (Club Mix)
ILS - "Are You Ready"
Kosheen - “Hungry (Decoder & Substance
i:Vibes: Female DJs have been an
increasing influence on the US scene, but outside the states, there
are only a very limited amount of female DJs who have made an
impact, and those are mainly in the trance and techno scenes. How do
you feel about that, being a female breakbeat
Miss Bliss: It’s not a big deal, there
are a lot of female breaks DJs, and a lot of female DJs in general
just as there are female CEOs, taxi drivers, lawyers, doctors,
police officers..... I think that girls in general have a different
approach to DJing. At least from a few conversations that I’ve had
with other female DJs, it seems like we view DJing as being more of
a “selector” -- picking tracks that will rock the house and mixing
them well. Whereas guys tend to focus more on tricks — cutting,
scratching and all that. I think women have a good musical
sensibility and in general better taste!
In terms of productions, you mentioned that you may venture into
that arena, any developments on that?
Bliss: Well, I’m working on teaching myself how to use Logic
Audio Platinum which is an excellent and highly respected sequencer.
I’ve got some VST (virtual studio technology) instruments as well
which I am trying to learn in conjunction with
i:Vibes: What else would you like to add to
Miss Bliss: To listen to
some of my mixes, please visit www.djmissbliss.com. Also anyone
interested in the NYC breakbeat scene should check out my other
website www.big-apple-breaks.com which has a comprehensive listing
of all the breakbeat events going on in NYC as well as a lively
Big Apple Breaks