Before Tina Berger, also known as DJ Slave1, joined the SoCo team in 2009, she had nearly a decade of experience DJ-ing in the goth and industrial scenes, holding down residencies at Onyx, Snake Pit, The Wave, The Atrium, The Roxy and other venues as well as heading up Disintegration, her own goth/alternative night, for five years.
“My mentors were Mike Rich and Eric Putz, both of which had DJ-ed for SoCo for a number of years as well,” Tina says. “They both would bring me on as a guest DJ at The Church and Milk Bar/Shelter. When Eric moved to Florida, he passed over his residencies to me. Then Mike Rich retired from fulltime DJ-ing and passed his residencies to me as well.”
Tina has been a resident at SIN Sundays at The Church for close to ten years and she’s also at Milk Bar on Wednesdays and on Saturdays for “MIXTAPE” as well as third Fridays at the club. She says she likes to start her sets with slower music to warm up the crowd and allow a bit of conversation and mingle time.
“Starting with a banging song can sometimes intimidate people or cause too much energy too quick which is hard to keep up,” she says. “I transition to songs that encourage the dancefloor, then as you feel the people really getting into it, bring up the beats. I like going up and down, speeding it up then slowing it a bit. Dropping it for a slower set to let people mingle again or get their classic goth on. I also don’t like to beat genres to death, usually three to five songs in a particular genre then easing into something else.”
Tina says part of being a great a DJ is knowing how to work a flow as well being able to plan and read a floor, which she thinks is more important than key and beat matching.
“Knowing when to keep the energy up, but also slow it down for a breather or change of pace,” she says. “Requests can be fine, but your job as a DJ is to introduce new music too, we’re not jukeboxes. I love when I hear people cheering, or running up to the booth to find out what song it is or who the artist is. Knowing how to follow up a new song with a hit so you don’t scare them off the dancefloor. Reading the crowd is essential.
“While you are the performer and they’re there to see you do your craft, you have to make them happy, so see what they’re digging and what is putting them off. ADAPT! I also hate pre-programmed or planned sets for that very reason. I have so much more respect for DJs who DJ entirely live, which includes basing your song selections on how the crowd is responding.”
While Tina says she’s been a massive fan of music since her first memories of walking the earth, Cyndi Lauper was the first artist she became obsessed with, and the first album she bought was the singer’s 1983 debut, She’s So Unusual.
“Her creativity and quirkiness fit my personality perfectly,” Tina says. “I celebrated her birthday every year, even made her cakes and put streamers all over my bedroom. After that, Pet Shop Boys, INXS, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure, Erasure, Siouxsie & the Banshees and Bauhaus. It all kind of turned into an avalanche after that and my life was consumed with music.
“In my late high school and college days I immersed myself in more deathrock/industrial/EBM. Bands like Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Sisters of Mercy, Sex Gang Children, Joy Division, Christian Death, PIL, Tones on Tail, Peter Murphy, etcetera. Music was my life. It was my therapy, and it went hand in hand with dancing. It is where I could truly be myself and live in a world that made sense to me.”
When she’s not DJ-ing, Tina loves to travel, play video games, design clothes, watch movies and TV, cook, read and be around animals. And the best advice she’s every received as far as DJ-ing goes: “Play what you want to play Tina. You have great taste and know what the crowd loves. They get your passion and feel your love sent through the music. Just do YOU!!!!”
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