​The Mix 003: Miley Serious - Music - Mixmag

​The Mix 003: Miley Serious

Parisian and New York club heavyweight Miley Serious delivers a pacey mix and talks punk inspiration, her Rex Club residency, and playing back-to-back with her husband

  • Words: Gemma Ross
  • 6 March 2024

The Mix is our new weekly mix and interview series — find out more about it at the end of this feature. Next up: Miley Serious

The smile says it all when Miley Serious steps onto the stage at her latest Boiler Room show. Through flashes of nerves and heavy concentration, you get a clear demonstration of the unbridled energy that has sent her stratospheric in recent years. Her confidence visibly builds as the 6,000-strong crowd throws the energy right back. Rewind to her debut Boiler Room performance in 2019, you’ll see the growth first-hand. What a difference five years can make.

“I just feel better about myself,” says the French DJ who's currently based between Paris and New York. “In 2019, I was in a darker place mentally. Life took a big turn in a positive way and now I’m back to playing the sounds that make me happy in the club.”

From the French capital to the East Coast, Miley Serious oozes cool and confidence. She first earned her stripes in France’s hardcore scenes playing bass guitar in a band, informing the energy that nowadays feeds into the brash musical stylings she plays in the club. Sent on a path toward punk-flecked electronic sounds that fuse harder elements of breakbeats, bass, and club music, Miley Serious has won over the hearts of bass stalwarts including KETTAMA, Regal86, Yazzus and DJ Daddy Trance over the years - and rightly so.

Recently, Miley Serious’ interests have piqued in the DIY aspect of running a record label, and with a background as a vintage fashion and music archivist, she’s also turned her hand to creating merchandise and zines off the back of her imprint, 99CTS RECORDS. The punk attitude still reigns supreme in her label, which is home to productions from artists including X CLUB., DJ Ketaflush, and her newlywed husband, LU2K, a rising DJ and drummer based in Brooklyn.

Now holding down a residency at Berlin’s Killekill, curating her own club nights at Paris’ famous Rex Club, and running up a regular spot on Rinse France, Miley Serious is primed and ready for the next stride forward.

The DJ, label boss and archivist delivers a pacey club mix and speaks to Mixmag about her punk inspiration, bagging another Rex Club residency, and playing back-to-back with her newlywed husband. Check out The Mix and interview below.

Huge congrats on your marriage! How are you feeling?

It feels awesome to marry my best friend, I didn’t think I was going to get married in my life but everything makes sense and I’ve never been so sure and happy, it’s the best feeling ever. He's one of my favourite artists too, what can I say? 100% besties vibe every day from now on.

You play back-to-back with your husband occasionally - what’s the dynamic like behind the decks?

Not only because it’s him, but it’s actually something we love to do. We listen to so much music at home, or both separately, so it feels great to link it together behind a booth. We have different approaches and different tastes but there is something that absolutely clicks when we play. He brings the drums and I bring the melody.

You recently landed another residency at Rex Club, how has that been going so far? Is Rex a particularly sentimental space for you?

It’s the second year of my Rex residency already and I cherish this opportunity so much. I’m extremely proud because it’s such a legendary place, it built our culture for a lot of us in France. It’s our own Haçienda, in my eyes.

My very first experience in Paris - and my very first time in a club in Paris actually - was at Rex Club. It was in 2007 if I remember, I was just starting my DJ journey and I was dying to see my favourite DJ and producer at the time, Kazey. He showed me Chicago house, Ghettotech, and Baltimore [club], and I travelled all the way from my town in the south of France (eight hours by train) to see him that night and then go back home in the morning. I remember waiting on the other side of the street for the club to open, my friend and I were the first ones to enter. I was impressed by the venue and had the best time, it was big-time fidget house and all that.

Being able to be in this place as a resident and curator of parties is just my biggest pride! Every time I step into the club, I always picture the moment I walked in for the first time, the feeling is so strong. I just love being part of such a historic venue and being in the archives of it now is one of my best achievements. I love the club and I love the team a lot, it’s like working with my big brothers.

Read this next: The Mix 001: Danny Daze

How do you navigate working between Paris and New York? Do you divvy up your time between the two cities?

It’s never easy because it often feels like I'm on the go, and it’s definitely a lot of organisation because I split my time between the two almost 50/50. I usually move every two to three months in between. It’s always interesting because both cities bring a different energy and when you’re over with one, the other home isn’t too far. I'm lucky to work with a team that understands that and helps me tour, or work on projects on both sides of the world.

Is there a noticeable difference between the scenes in both cities and the reception from fans?

Yeah, it’s definitely different in my opinion. Being able to see both scenes and diving between them helps me to discover so much and see how things work on each side of the world. Every city or country has different scenes, but when you navigate between continents, it’s even more interesting. Some genres work more than others in Europe, but in the US, some cities have stronger musical roots and identities like Chicago, Detroit, New York City or Miami. Now, a few smaller cities are appearing on the map like Santa Barbara or San Diego, where the scenes are starting to grow. You don’t have the same reception in these places, because a lot of the time these clubs are trying to book electronic acts outside of EDM for the first time, or they went from being a more general club to booking more “underground” acts for their usual crowd, and that’s where the challenge is best for me. How do I bring the culture somewhere that might have never heard the music that I play? My job is always done when someone comes to me and says, “I don't know what you were playing but it was amazing”. I really admire these promoters and clubs trying to make a change for their city because it’s never easy.

In Europe, it just feels easier as it’s more ingrained in our culture to go clubbing every weekend, we have endless options and capitals to visit just to party. But then again, these cities don't always have a strong musical heritage like the US, so I can cross the bridges between the two with my residency, radio shows on Rinse, and my sets.

A lot of your sets have influence from punk and grittier dance music elements, is that something you grew up with?

I grew up with punk rock for sure, but my brother was listening to a LOT of electronic music as well, mainly drum ’n’ bass and trip hop. I didn't understand drum ‘n’ bass until I became more of a crate digger and began to obsess over archiving music history. At the time, it seemed natural for him to be in between the two scenes, playing in a band, going to shows, and then going to a free party on the weekend. I loved the energy that music was giving me at that age, I was just living for it. My obsessions were to follow my favourite bands, practice with my own band, spend my savings on a CD or music magazine and, hopefully, have some hours left to dive into music forums online.

When I decided to get my first turntables, I had to sell my bass amp. I thought I was done with guitar music and dance music became 70% of my life, but I learned my ethic and energy from the punk and hardcore scenes. I continued to help throw shows and then returned to my band for a little while before the touring DJ life took over. Now, I'm lucky to be married to the drummer of one of my favourite hardcore bands, Jesus Piece, so that world is never too far away!

I’ve noticed a bit of a sonic shift recently with more punk elements entering dance music. Do you think there’s a new sound starting to emerge from that?

I think we’re a generation that has a lot of things to talk about as the world is in shambles. Punk has always been an activist genre, it's a scene that has strong messages to share, but it’s even more of a lifestyle in my eyes. It's funny to think about because when I was a teenager, Le Tigre, Miss Kittin, and some electroclash artists were very punk to me. They gave me riot grrrl vibes, which was my dream at that age. We always take inspiration from somewhere in dance music.

You’ve worked and played alongside artists like KETTAMA, X CLUB. and even Laurent Garnier in the past. Is there anyone you’re dying to link up with at the moment?

Playing B2B with Laurent was one of the best moments of my life. I'll never forget the day I got the request and what happened that night. But to be honest, being able to curate my parties at Rex Club is helping me to reach my goals in life. I’ve invited artists such as Special Request, who is one of my biggest inspirations in my music career. Interplanetary Criminal who is putting UKG back on the map in a real way. Om Unit - I was so honoured to be able to welcome such an influential producer into Rex Club, and the upcoming ones are true legends too. At the end of March, I have DJ SWISHA and Equiss on the line-up which I'm very excited about because I want to have some representatives of the Jersey, Baltimore, and footwork scenes. Dr Dubplate will be here as well, an important figurehead in the UK with his label EC2A.

Two of my biggest inspirations are Miss Kittin & The Hacker, so I hope to have them play one day at Rex Club - it would make sense for the club too. I’d also love to invite Roni Size considering his impact on me from a young age. Armand van Helden is also a big dream of mine: his early releases and his influence gave me huge respect for his career, he’s at the top of the dream list and after that, nothing really matters! But, for real, the list is long. Danny Daze, 1morning, Mutant Joe, Omaar, Wrack, Farsight, Fadi Mohem, Physical Therapy, INVT, Jam City, Bok Bok

You recently spoke about the journey between your first Boiler Room set in 2019 to your second in December. Watching both, you can see how much you’ve grown in those five years. How was that experience for you?

I just feel better about myself. In 2019, I was in a darker place mentally, life took a big turn in a positive way and now I’m back to playing the sounds that make me happy in the club. As I started DJing around 2006, I started to realise that staying true to yourself is always the best way to be in the booth. Music and the scenes evolve constantly, it's a big flow of information. I just needed to recenter myself and feel the energy that always made me feel good while playing or going out.

Australia is, actually, a magic place for that, and I miss it all the time. It was my second tour there in one year, the first one was with my dear X CLUB., and the second on my own, starting with the recent Boiler Room. Crowds in Australia and New Zealand are so high energy, open-minded, and down for whatever you have to offer. This Boiler Room was very intimidating because there were 6,000 people there, and we did it two days in a row. I was extremely nervous, and you already know when entering the booth that you can't satisfy that ocean of people, but I had some very emotional moments. My favourite moment was when I was scrolling in my folder and in my head, I was like, ‘I don't know if they are going to get it but this Dizzee Rascal ‘Bonkers’ edit by Buckley is so fire, let’s go!’. I dropped it and, you can see the moment I lifted my head and was so surprised to hear 6,000 people singing the lyrics. ‘Bonkers’ was a major tune in Australia, just as big as it was in the UK. I think about it often and how it was real proof of what music can do, as corny as that sounds! The hour went so fast. I went back to my hotel to try to relax after the insane adrenaline, it just felt good.

Read this next: The Mix 002: LilC4

What’s your vision for your imprint, 99CTS RCRDS? Where do you see it going from here?

99CTS RCRDS is like my little store, the inside of my head. I’m obsessed with 99 cent stores and New York delis, there’s something amazing about them that I can’t explain. I’m just very reassured when I observe life at its simplest. I always say that I see stores like museums, every tag or sticker or shelf is like art. This is the inspiration for my imprint, and why I go with the flow with my discoveries and the music that I love. I don’t set boundaries with sound.

I’ve also started to release zines, which is one of my biggest passions. The fourth issue is currently on the way, out this month. All these zines are about the artists that work on the tape artworks. I think it's very important to honour the aesthetic of a music release because it's where you also create that little world and show the personality of the artist. I'm not putting any pressure on it, I just want my label to continue to be this link of mixed media through merch, zines, and pop-ups with the main purpose of sharing music.

What’s next for you in 2024?

I’m moving back to Europe by the end of the year which is a big step, but first, I’m playing some shows that I'm really looking forward to. I’ve got new releases on the label and new zines, and I’m excited to announce the next guests at my Rex residency - and most importantly, to celebrate my wedding!

Can you tell us about your mix?

When I wake up, I'm very picky about the music I want to listen to. I wanted to record a mix that would sound great for a morning coffee, but also to help me to start the day. It’s new and old club music, soft melodies for your morning, motivational rhythms, and heavy frequencies to end the journey. It's a day in my life, with the moods I go through, condensed into one hour.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Betty Hammerschlag - Focusedd
3.oh - TIMZ moose
An Avrin - Spelunkerer
Mercy System - Pinpoint
NATIV - Dizzy
Dean Lyon - ONLY YOU (DJ SWISHA Bootleg)
Daffy - Do it like that
Lu2k - Demo
Coffintexts - Touch
Dylane Dav; Cardozo - Drama (Club Edit)
Cottam - ID
Eloquin - LRL
SILVA BUMPA - Stand by me
Rumor Control - Levels
Avi Loud - Da Potion
DJ Cosworth - Hipnotico
1OO1O - Caribe Cooler
Cheetah & Slinki - Tekky
Mutant Joe - Molly Whopped (Forthcoming 99CTS RCRDS)
Hijinx, Cesco - Attention
Ashburner - Leakie leak
Skepta - That's not me (Buckley Refix)
Heist - 90% Rusk
Serum & Voltage - Sumting Special

About The Mix:

The Mix is our new online mix and interview series, dedicated to the spectrum of electronic music from around the globe, exploring sounds and stories from the early days of rave to the future.

Mixmag has a long history of publishing mixes, from our legendary cover CDs accompanying the print magazine to our worldwide video streams in The Lab. Last year we celebrated 40 years in the game and The Mix now arrives as a fresh outlet to document DJs and the musical movements they represent, showcasing their sound alongside an in-depth interview. The design pays homage to a previous Mixmag logo from the ealy ’90s, nodding to our heritage while using the square and rectangular building blocks to construct an aesthetic that works cohesively with contemporary design elements and digital motion systems.

We’ll still be bringing you the Cover Mix, The Lab and occasional sets in other formats, with The Mix is taking the place of our In Session and Impact features, intending to bring an updated look and vision to our flagship weekly DJ profile and sequencing them into one place, without separation. We hope you enjoy.

Patrick Hinton (Editor & Digital Director) & Keenen Sutherland (Senior Designer)

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