JD Samson is a self-proclaimed people pleaser: “Life is just about bringing people up, making them go crazy and then bringing them down again.” She should know. A member of Le Tigre, a DJ called JD, a multi-media artist and a pin-up model, Samson is constantly in some mix. She spent the past year touring with Junior Senior and Peaches and has recently remixed tracks by VIP and Northern State.
Of late, she’s concentrated on DJing, which has offered an interesting alternative to and transition from Le Tigre. “There are things I love about DJing … and things I miss about being on stage,” she says. “It’s almost harder to DJ because you have a collection of a million songs that you can chose from, but when you play live, you have a setlist of 11 to 13 songs.”
For Samson, DJing is all about playing creating an atmosphere within an audience, “where people just dance and have fun and forget about all of the bad things in the world.” Samson attributes that attitude and desire to her touring time in Le Tigre and from her background in film. “Just like you tell a story in film, it’s the same as creating a track in music or a set as a DJ,” she says.
Samson spins a set mash-ups of mainstream hip hop tracks and music from queer artists. Hip-hop culture, she says, is rife with homophobia and misogyny, so she wanted to pit the two streams against one another. She hopes to release an album of that material soon, and she’ll spin some of those sketches this weekend for N.C. Pride.
“Pride has always been really important … because that was the only way I could experience queerness that wasn’t just me and my girlfriend,” she says. After traveling to different Pride events, her dad quipped that she was a “gay groupie.” “I think it would be the raddest thing ever to travel from Pride to Pride, and that’s what I did this year DJing at a whole bunch of different Prides. It’s great to live up to that ‘gay groupie’ status.”
JD Samson spins at Duke Coffeehouse on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9:30 p.m. Lismore and DJ Mary Wanna open the N.C. Pride After Party.