04 Dec Meet MAJORCHI: The Female DJ Taking Kingston By Storm
If you’ve recently been to Stages on a Friday or are on the lookout for electronic talent, it’s likely you’ve heard of Chiara Manchia, also known as MAJORCHI. MUSE sat down with her to get the inside scoop on being a DJ on campus and how she taught herself the ropes only a year ago.
Tell the MUSE readers a bit about yourself!
My name is Chiara, I am 22 years old and I’m doing my Masters in Coastal Engineering. I would say I am a very outgoing and enthusiastic person. I am very passionate about creative outlets such as DJing and videography. I found from studying engineering you need a getaway from that technical side, so I was always drawn to something creative in my life, and when I enjoy a hobby, I will put a lot of time and energy into that hobby. DJing for instance caught my attention because I saw all of these incredible DJs I looked up to and thought…wait a minute: if they can DJ, I can DJ. So, I was determined to learn how to mix songs. I put a lot of work into it and made it into something.
When did you become interested in electronic music specifically?
I’ve always been into music my whole life. Growing up, my parents would always play rock and roll and 80s music around the house which I enjoyed, but electronic music really sparked my interested when I went to VELD Music Festival in 2014. I fell in love with that whole scene. I find it amazing how thousands of people are in a field together for the same reason, just to dance and have a good time. There is absolutely no negative energy. That’s also where my interest of DJing sparked. I thought it was astonishing how there’s one or two people controlling the music that can make thousands of people move. Since 2014 I have been going to music festivals every single year. Its crazy how much my music taste has changed (in a good way) from attending music festivals.
What’s your favourite thing about DJing?
Controlling the crowd. People don’t realize how much a DJ has to control your mind; you don’t even know its going on. But basically, how this works is at the beginning of the night, when people start coming in, the music is very slow; hip hop, R&B. As the night goes on, you realize the crowd is getting bigger and bigger and that’s when you start bringing up that BPM from about 100 to 120. The music will slowly get harder and faster. Then 12:30AM hits and that’s prime time. This is my favorite part about DJing. That prime time when the crowd is so into your music and I realize that I’m in complete control of what they’re feeling. It is such a cool moment I can’t even describe it!
How did you start playing at Stages?
I guess I didn’t really explain how I started DJing! I started in January, about a year ago. It was my fourth year in civil engineering, and it was getting really hectic. I had seven courses and I was going through certain personal things. I realized I needed a getaway, so I found a new hobby. I’d always been into electronic music, I thought: this is my time to learn how to DJ. My mindset was that there’s so many people who can DJ, so why can’t I. Another thing that drew my attention to DJing is being a woman in the industry.
Obviously at first there was a huge learning curve, but I definitely had the right energy and ear for it. DJing is not just mixing and pressing buttons. You have to know and understand the songs you are mixing. For example, what is the key and speed of the song? What songs would sound good mixed together? To do this, I started watching YouTube videos and soon enough taught myself everything.
In a couple of weeks, I got the hang of it and started to DJ pre parties and house parties. I didn’t charge anything, I just wanted to get my name out there and practice, practice and practice. Soon enough my friends mentioned that I was actually pretty good. Then my name got around to the point where every weekend I had something to DJ. Summer came around and I had a 9 to 5 office job, after work I would keep practicing my mixing and learning new DJing skills. I knew I was going back to Kingston to do my Masters and really wanted a job at Stages or Ale. I knew one of the security guards at Stages, so I asked for the manager’s email. I emailed him my Soundcloud mixes and told him about myself. He enjoyed my mixes and said I could audition when I come back in September.
I was in Croatia for two weeks before Kingston and I came back super jetlagged on a Friday. I messaged the manager saying, “Hey I’m in town, let me know like when you want me to come audition.” I thought the audition was just going to be the managers and me the following week or something. So, I get back after driving 4 hours and he’s texted me saying “Yeah, do you want to open Stages tonight from 10PM-12AM?”. I wasn’t that prepared, but I couldn’t say no! I showed up and I remember being so tired, nervous and excited. I played a pretty intense EDM set but the crowd was loving it. I ended up going through all of my songs and played until 2:30AM. Then I got hired right on the spot.
It’s awesome that you get to do Friday’s since it’s Ladies night!
That’s definitely another reason why I got the job, Stages has never had a female DJ. They didn’t realize it would get as much attention as it did.
Have you done collabs with anyone at Queen’s?
I haven’t collaborated with anyone specifically. But I am making great connections. For example, David who plays at Stages on Saturdays is very talented DJ/producer. I was actually DJing with him a couple Saturdays ago. He was teaching me how to mix on these huge CDJs. It’s nice having a mentor like that. I also played at Dripfest last year, I met a lot of DJs ther and connected with them right away. It is a great network to have, especially at Queen’s since it’s small and I’m new to this scene.
What’s the most memorable performance you’ve had at Queen’s?
I’d say Homecoming Friday night was the most memorable because all of my best friends from undergrad who live in Toronto came up to see me perform. It was funny because we would all go to Stages together every week and now, they saw me DJing. That Friday before Homecoming was also one of the busiest nights too, so the crowd was amazing.
And what’s the best performance you’ve seen from somebody else?
I went to Osheaga this year and saw Fisher. His energy is so amazing I had to see him at the after party.
I saw him too, were you at the after party?
Yeah! I saw him during the day and then at the after party. He’s a great performer because he only has around 4 songs but it’s his presence and his energy that makes everyone love him. That’s what I strive to be when I’m performing. There’s also this techno artist Charlotte DeWitte. She’s from Belgium and she’s this young 25-year-old girl controlling the whole techno scene right now which is insane. She’s definitely someone I look up to, since techno music is so male dominated.
What are your plans for music and life after your Masters?
I would love to do a week or something in Europe and get my name out there. They always look for upcoming DJs. But my Masters is definitely what I’m focusing on now over music because I put so much work into my education and I find coastal engineering fascinating. DJing right now is more of a side job but I’ll definitely stay connected with people and I’ll never stop doing it.
Aside from Friday at Stages, where can readers check out your stuff?
My SoundCloud is MAJORCHI and I have a lot of Spotify playlists where people can hear what sort of music I play. And on my Instagram I post videos and what’s going on with my DJing, so that’s fun.
Checkout her links below: