Beneath the glowing constellations the tide pushes and pulls. Bubbles in the seafoam pop and a combat boot digs into the sand leaving an imprint. Neptunian Influence podcast founder Miranda Calzada, who DJs under the moniker Whipnotiq, is in love with electro.
Based in Long Beach, Calif. she is enthralled by the esoteric dreaminess yet gritty toughness evoked by the genre. Her obsession for music and track selection goes back to middle and high school, when she was given the responsibility of making song request lists for school dances. “Growing up, I also used to buy remix EPs (on CD) of pop singers who I really liked. I wasn’t mixing them, but I was choreographing dances to them! I’d say I was destined to DJ!” As a lifelong music lover she didn’t start attending festivals and raves until she was 18. Friends became her biggest music influence and while attending University of California Los Angeles she would visit a nearby friend for Serato lessons.
“After college, I moved to Flagstaff, Ariz. to live with my then boyfriend (now husband). He was throwing a really cool monthly out there called MELT, which featured live art and DJs. When AJ, my husband, would be preparing for a set, I would always give him my two cents suggesting he should play this track or that track. I found that I really enjoyed searching for tracks and deciding what would sound good together,” she says. “Anyway, AJ then taught me how to use Ableton and the APC40 to DJ, and I played my first gig at MELT in August 2010. I’ve been DJing ever since! I began to practice DJing with vinyl in 2013 but only began playing vinyl at gigs just over a year ago. It has not been easy but I am passionate about playing vinyl! I also started playing on CDJs recently too. I still have a lot to learn and I treat this art form like I did growing up playing classical violin.”
Although experienced playing through various formats you will see Calzada often posting quick clips of herself mixing records and highlighting her vinyl collection. During college she was being gifted records by an avid collector and also was inspired to start building crates after going digging with her husband. “I began collecting records myself in 2013 and I’ve been slowly developing my collection (paycheck by paycheck) ever since. Together, AJ and I have about 1,500 records. We have everything from classical to hip-hop. My personal collection consists of mostly house, techno and electro. I am always seeking out unique sounds, vinyl-only releases and first releases from new record labels,” she says. “Off the top of my head, my most prized gems are an original version of David Bowie’s Low and Gesloten Cirkel’s Hole on [record label] Berceuse Heroique, which I heard Steffi open with on Beats in Space a few years ago; that track really fueled my love for electro. I consider all of my records gems though. ‘They’re all my babies!’ I like to say in the voice of Linda from Bob’s Burgers.”
“Electro music is timeless – and orgasmic! It gives me a natural body high; it stimulates my mind and makes my brain dance. I love that it unites the sea and sky. Electro music is for daydreaming. It’s also great for dancing your ass off to with a Club Mate in hand after a full night’s sleep, which was my experience seeing DJ Stingray at El Club in Detroit on Memorial Day this year. Best morning workout I’ve ever had!” – WHIPNOTIQ
Her Neptunian Influence podcasts series, established February of this year, is on a mission to showcase an electro presence in Los Angeles. She says, “I’ve become very passionate about electro music and realized that while there are electro-focused podcasts around the world, there were not really any based in Los Angeles. I want electro to have more of a presence in LA and I want the world to know that LA loves quality electro too!”
As Drexciya has built a prominently influential presence in the electro world based around aquatic Afrofuturism, Calzada has transferred that inspiration in the galaxies and brings her electro realm to space. Neptune, otherwise known as Poseidon, is the god of sea. “I came across this astrology website that talked about how Neptune can affect us based on our astrology signs. I’ve never really been into horoscopes, but when I read how Neptune can influence Libras, it really spoke to my current feelings, strengths, weaknesses and dreams. I felt like Neptune’s influence was powerful within me, and I loved how everyone could be affected by the icy blue planet in unique ways. Neptune and electro have had a relationship for a long time though, e.g. Drexciya. The first electro record that AJ bought me was Drexciya’s Neptune’s Lair.”
The podcast which incites “bright companion clouds and dark vortices” has featured artists such as Sassmouth, Moon in Gemini, Jonra, AA/K/AA/R/A, and Subversive. During Movement weekend in Detroit this year partygoers were invited to join the Neptunian Influence Meet Up & Brunch at McShane’s. Electro was served along with an Irish breakfast to the sounds of DJs Sassmouth, Andrew Charles, Mesmé, Calzada and her husband.
On her journey as a DJ, selector and curator, she strives to inspire more female identifying artists to grow as artists, to start a record collection, or create a music passion project. To the women out there, she says, “Be yourself; play what you want to play; find a mentor(s); make researching artists, labels and tracks part of your daily routine; learn to beatmatch on vinyl (I wish I had a lot sooner); don’t let promoters take advantage of you; don’t let anyone hold you back; focus on the music (not appearances or what people think); and be forward about getting paid when you know you deserve to be paid!”
In addition to buying new turntables and eventually starting an electro-focused record label, Calzada has plenty coming up on the horizon. “The podcast will continue to feature some of my favorite DJs local and abroad. This fall, my current favorite producer with releases on Analogical Force will be making a mix for Neptunian Influence. Looking to start a local Neptunian Influence party (in LA, or hometown Long Beach), and definitely looking forward to another NI party in Detroit next year.”
1. ITPDWIP – “Outernet” [Lobster Theremin]
2. Mystica Tribe – “Lament” [Mystica Tribe Records]
3. Saverio Celestri – “Chromoscope” [Club Vision Records]
4. Schelf – “Bellatrix” [Pure]
5. Electric Indigo – “Sept (Hagen Richter remix)” [Het]
6. Stanislav Tolkachev – “Don’t Shit on Your Own Doorstep” [M_REC LTD]
7. Isabella – “Dipped, Dripped and Ripped” [Börft Records]
8. UR*- “Electronic Warfare (Re-Edit)” [Underground Resistance]
9. Shinra – “Propeller” [Analogical Force]
10. Morphology – “Incipient Instability” [Emotions Electric]
11. Orbital – “Are We Here? (Laconic Dub)” [Full Frequency Range Recordings]
12. Future / Past – “Nebula Variation” [Tresor]
13. Unknot – “Strain” [Unknot]