band crush: mija
introducing edm's next superstar
Photo by Myles Pettengill
In the male-dominated world of EDM, Mija comes as a breath of fresh air. The 23-year-old built a name for herself playing shows and promoting parties in her native Phoenix, which eventually led to an invite to play an early-morning after party at Bonnaroo. It was there that Mija—born Amber Giles—was discovered by Skrillex, who showed up to the party and, recognizing a kindred spirit, asked the then-22-year-old if he could play a back-to-back set. That set went viral, and Mija was suddenly riding career momentum that is about to culminate in a huge tour alongside Skrilex, where she'll be joining the EDM superstar on his upcoming tour of Asia and his first-ever tour of India. Your first official look at the dates are below.
And while most of Mija's peers are obsessed with pulverizing, frenzied beats, Mija is versatile enough to create more nuanced and melodic tracks. Case in point is her remix of Major Lazer's "b2gether," which we're premiering right here.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
FK A GENRE: Don't categorize me. I create, dress, and act however I feel in a single moment. As humans, we are constantly learning and changing and evolving, and I think that is so beautiful.
How did your career get started?
I started as a rave promoter when I was 17 years old, then I started DJing at 19. I played a lot of shitty gigs, like malls and weddings, so I could pay rent. When I turned 21, I started playing cooler venues in Downtown Phoenix and started throwing my own weekly parties. On my 22nd birthday, while I was DJing, I was invited to play at Bonnaroo (which was happening the very next weekend). So I went to Bonnaroo and at 6 a.m, I was supposed to play and Skrillex found me on stage and we did a b2b set. The entire thing was recorded and that was when I was first noticed by the EDM world. So I hit the ground running. I started producing music and worked really hard to get on as many festivals and gigs as I could to show the world who Mija is.
Where do you hope to be professionally in five years?
I'm pretty young, so I hope that in five years I will still be traveling and playing my music live. Maybe start my own record label when the time is right.
What’s your next project?
Finish the tracks I'm currently working on, put out my first EP, and continue to develop my Limited clothing line.
What are you most proud of so far in terms of your career?
I am really proud of where me and Ghastly's track "Crank It" ended up. It was our first music video and big label release. It was such a dope experience working with OWSLA on that record.
What famous person dead or living do most wish you could have as a roommate?
David Bowie, pre-Labyrinth.
What is your favorite driving music?
Sub Focus, "Timewarp."
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?
I would live in the '60s for sure. I'm such a hippie at heart, and the music that came out of that era is next level.
What activities do most enjoy doing alone?
I like digging for new music alone. I like playing vinyl alone. Listening to classical music alone. I also enjoy going to restaurants alone, which I guess is kind of weird.
How do you wind down before bed?
Oh, I'm the worst. I just sit on my phone until I fall asleep which is never.
When are you most relaxed?
When I'm with my friends, just hanging out.
What kind of person were you in high school?
High school sucked. I was really smart yet classified as a "bad kid" and got kicked out for a while. I was nominated "most likely to end up on the streets" my senior year, too, which is so wack because by the time I graduated, I already had my own production company and was killing it. Def not going to any high-school reunions.
Can you tell me a quality about yourself that you are genuinely proud of?
I am the most honest person you will meet.
Do you have any phobias?
Creepy, crawly bugs :(
What’s a serious side of you that people are unlikely to know about?
I listen to classical music probably just as much as anything else. It keeps me calm and focused and clear headed.
What are some new hobbies you would like to take on?
I just started skating this year and I think it is so fun. I want to get better at it.
How do you hope to grow as a creative person?
I want to become an even better producer and create an album that changes the world.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life, what might it be?
"I always tell the girls to never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt, and if you never get hurt you're always having fun. And if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends." — Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous