Austin | September 08, 2021
Sunday Swim by Lizet aka DJ Mija
As we approach our final month of summer, we enjoy a vibrant yet groovy Spotify playlist from La Piscina’s resident DJ, Lizet Ortuno, who sets the perfect tone for our weekly Sunday Swim series at Austin Proper. Dressed by our local partners at ByGeorge, Lizet, aka DJ Mija, speaks below about her inspiration, favorite tunes, and the intersection of fashion and music.
Bask in the warm glow of this worldly playlist and come see us at Sunday Swim for the month of September. Event details can be found here.
What factors inspire your music selection when DJ’ing a space?
I like to visit the space beforehand if possible. If that isn’t possible, I will talk to the organizer and get a sense for the vibe they’re hoping to cultivate. Although I never take requests, I ask for a couple of songs that capture the feel of the environment, while still staying true to my personal style selections. The day of the week or if it’s a day time versus an evening event are all factors I take into consideration. A Friday night vibe will be very different from a Sunday afternoon. A DIY party environment will differ from a private event at a special venue. I also take the staff of the event into consideration. They’re with me from start to finish. As a server in the industry, I know first hand how very chaotic music if you’re slammed can cause more anxiety and ramp up the mood in a less than desirable way. If it’s a residency I’m doing, I never want to play the same thing weekend after weekend, because it gets tiring for the staff, and believe me, they notice. I want it to feel enjoyable for guests, the organizers, the staff, and even for myself. I want to put people in a good mood, add a little sunlight after a long week or an overdue vacation. I want people to forget where they are and just be present for a moment. I draw an immense amount of inspiration from my cousin who was a DJ from the late 80s thru the 90s. He always made the family functions so memorable for all of us. He could get the elders dancing with cumbias and get the younger generations grooving to some freestyle. Because of him, I’m never married to one genre.
How do you look for or discover new (or new to you) music?
I used to run a mixtape club, so that was my favorite way to do it. However, that has long since ended. There are a myriad of ways I do it. I follow artists on Bandcamp or SoundCloud and see what they like as well. There are also the tried and true ways that have never failed me. I read books about music/cultural movements, watch music documentaries, listen to scores of films and shows I enjoy. I think back on my childhood and remember what my family listened to at the function and rediscover old favorites.
A favorite current record of yours…
I’ve been revisiting old favorites lately. Because DJing is often about keeping the good vibes going or getting people to groove, sometimes I like to break from that sunny feeling completely. Feel the groove in a different way, with a different sound, and remind myself of all the different types of music I truly enjoy. Heavy on my rotation at the moment are two records from the same band with two completely different sounds: Les Rallizes Dénudés (Japanese experimental rock) — Heavier Than a Death in the Family and Mizutani.
Tell us a little about your custom playlist for the Austin Proper.
These selections give just a little taste of what I try to capture at Sundown Swim. First, they had to be songs I LOVE. No lukewarm feelings, just hitters. Next, I wanted to provide a range of genres. I never want to get stuck on one genre. The energy and the pace of any environment changes throughout the evening, so I feel that music should too. I think about the early songs as an introduction of myself. I want it to be pleasant, easy, and warm. As the evening progresses, I show a little more color, vibrance. Hopefully you’ll get more comfortable with me and start to groove, maybe dance. I rely on some bouncy rhythms, disco, songs you may have never heard mixed with classics. Then I bring out some funk or familiar grooves. When it’s time to start to wrap things up, I bring it back down with a chiller track.
How does fashion or personal style influence music for you?
Fashion and music cannot be untied from each other. I went through so many style phases thinking in confined terms. Conforming into thinking that if I’m into punk and play in a punk band, I have to dress a certain way and not listen to certain music. I have long since liberated myself from those modes of thinking, and while personal style has always been fun for me (even then), now I’m able to be more loose with it. I take inspiration from current styles, my literal mood, architecture, venues, and cultural movements. I feel comfortable to wear a strappy sandal high fem look one day, or my Jordans with some joggers the next. I love the look of Jamaica’s 80s and 90s dancehall era and Germany’s late 70s dark wave aesthetic. Just as I’m not married to any one genre, I’m not dedicated to one style/look.