Monique Rodrigues is a brilliant up and coming DJ, playing gigs all over New York City. The bombshell hails from Brazil and incorporates her culture into her music. Having worked with big names in the industry like DJ Cassidy and Q-Tip, she is surely a force to be reckoned with. We had a chance to catch up with the DJ and spoke to her about everything from her new Brazilian party series to her favorite spots to play in NYC.
You have both Brazilian and American influences in your music - how do you think that distinguishes you as a DJ?
I think because it's a whole different culture and it's so accepted - Brazilian is so in fashion and in style; anything in Brazilian culture; Brazilian music, food, etc. I think bringing a little bit of that and mixing it in with everything I live and breathe in New York City makes a big different.
I heard you are going to be launching a Brazilian party series in December. Can you tell us about that?
It's something that I did this past December at a coffee shop with some friends. I was doing a party at The Darby and then I moved to Coffee Shop, but now we are in talks about doing something else Brazilian at Hotel Chantelle. We are shopping around for different ideas, but hopefully by the Fall we will have something solid together. I want to do something more classic Brazilian, like Bosa Nova and some newer stuff.
You recently played the Brazilian Independence Day event at XVI. How was that?
Oh my god, it was so amazing. It's so refreshing to do something so Brazilian outside of Brazil, since we are patriotic as it is. Being outside of Brazil makes it that much warmer and the Brazilian Day Parade has been going on in New York for 29 years and this year I got to be a part of the after party, which was amazing. It was very Brazilian, very live, hot, sexy. It was awesome.
What are some of your favorite spots to play at in New York?
I love to play at The Darby Downstairs because we're all family there. I've played for a while at Lil' Charlie's and Southside. I really like those spots because the people are so fun and they come in to dance.
What has it been like working with some big names in music, such as DJ Cassidy and Q-Tip?
It's been amazing. They are both good friends of mine and they're so great at what they do. I've learned a lot from them. I have only great things to say. They are very inspiring and they are open about it - if I have a question about something or if I don't feel right about something I can always talk to them and they give me advice and keep an open mind, which I appreciate.
If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?
Wow, there are so many. I love so many artists...I love Azealia Banks, I think she has such spunk; she's amazing. I love MIA. She came out and did a lot of stuff with Diplo and she's very baile funk, which is our music, Brazilian music, so she always stood out to me. I love Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean, what's there not to love about them? There's so many different people, but that's who comes to mind right now.
Do you have anything else coming up that you can tell us about?
Right now I'm working on this Brazilian party. Hopefully I'll start that in the beginning of November. I'm putting the concept together. We do have some stuff going around the city that's Brazilian but not exactly the kind that I'm thinking about doing. It would be a monthly party. There is nothing else I am set to play; it's usually that I will get a gig here, a gig there, it's usually last minute. I also spoke to some people at Miss Lily's. I did a radio show with them. They are really interested in doing something Brazilian and I am just trying to refine the concept of what is Brazilian and how I want it to work and I will take it to them.
What advice do you have for aspiring DJs?
You really have to commit. It takes a lot of time and you really have to be serious about it. There are different people now, especially girls, trying to DJ, which is great. Women power! Be respectful of the other DJs, because it's a lot of work. Now there are so many different ways to DJ you have to be cautious how you approach it. There are a lot of DJs who have been doing this for a long time and they started from scratch with vinyls and now you can buy a controller or do it on an iPad. I think you really have to take the time and learn and be committed to it. That would be my advice.