Cultural electronica drives activist and musician
Laying down mixes or raising funds for the Hoosier Environmental Council, the raw wit and compassion of techno DJ Shiva can make strangers feel instantly befriended.
“I put my heart and my gut into it every time, whether it’s 10 people or 1,000,” she says. “Anybody can put records together. I try to make it into something bigger than it is.”
A veteran DJ of a dozen years, Shiva honed her own craft on plastic turntables picked up at a garage sale. Her philosophy is, “If you can learn on crap, you can play on crap.”
Particularly influenced by local DJ John Larner, she hopes to achieve his globetrotting success someday, but she’s calm and cool about attracting new fans.
“I don’t want to hype myself to death,” she says. “I figure if I spin enough, people will eventually hear me, and then I’ll worm my way into their subconscious.”
As she throws down minimal funk and grinding machine music, she lives for that magical second when everything comes together.
“I love that moment when the crowd gets it, and when you’re on it,” she says. “Well, that and really loud bass.”
Shiva stays true to who she is. “I’m an activist and a musician. If I had to pick between them, I’d implode,” she says.
Voicing her political and musical opinions freely has landed her in opposition to Indianapolis officials in the past, but she refuses to back down from the challenge of convincing people that electronic music is cultural, albeit sometimes connected to drug stigma, like other artforms.
“Show me the ’60s without drugs, and I’ll show you a boring culture,” she says.
For Shiva, music doesn’t need words to hold meaning.
“I want people to think as well as dance and always leave a little bit changed, for better or worse.”
See Shiva spin:
Bi-monthly at the Melody Inn
Select parties at Therapy Nightclub and Lounge