Pregaming With DJ Miss Parker

Pregaming With DJ Miss Parker

Story by Tobias Hess / Photography by Noah Gonzalez
Dec 04, 2023

DJ Miss Parker thinks LA is actually kind of cute. “I didn't really know what was happening there,” the DJ, producer and venerable NYC nightlife figure tells PAPER. “[But I played there in 2021] and it was nasty. It was so much fun.”

Slowly, but surely, the LA scene has been bubbling up, with collectives like Serenity Link, and acts like Bapari, Severine and Xen Model, staking out their own terrain and sound. It’s a sound that evokes the grime of the downtown backways the LA scene calls home. That grime, though, is always offset by the hyperreal fluorescence of an LA evening. LA’s edge always has a certain buzzy levity.

“There’s not as much happening compared to New York,” DJ Miss Parker reflects, “but I love that the LA kids are not afraid to get into their eccentricity.”

DJ Miss Parker was in town to play a party organized by Extasy Overnight, a fashion and music collective curating events that expand the possibilities of LA nightlife. “There were glovers. There were candy ravers. It was like all types of kids just raging. They dance really hard in LA,” DJ Miss Parker remembers. “I come from a similar space in Chicago, where the DIY culture is where it’s at.”

This was all a nice change of pace for the New York-based DJ. In New York, you can find a different party every night, but the scene’s notoriety has brought a subsequent corporatization. And the allure of New York night life’s perennial well of social capital has marginalized the centrality of music itself.

“[It shouldn’t be] about being the face of something,” DJ Miss Parker shares. “In New York, there’s not a lot of access to spaces. It costs a shit ton of money to throw a rave out here. With COVID and this new way of navigating nightlife through the internet, I don’t see there being the same sense of community as in the past.” The night with Extasy Overnight was a reminder then, of a different, more bootstrappy time in DJ Miss Parker’s career. “After I played, we went to Elysian fields. We had to hike down this crazy mountain. I was like, this is crazy. It’s a lot more loose in LA. Everyone was super sweet.”

DJ Miss Parker’s time in California was also a moment to enjoy what they call “cali-girl shit.”

“It’s about getting my mind right. Getting some space. I went hiking and it was gorgeous. I was like, I can’t believe y’all live like this? New York is a very capitalist city. I just want to get away from that for a second and hang out with people that don’t have to be doing something all the time.”

It made me smile, as an Angeleno with a certain chip on my shoulder about the way my city is cast aside as basic and culture-less. Sure, there’s the influencer culture, the pink wall of it all, but there’s a vibrancy there. I was happy that DJ Miss Parker felt that too.

After their LA trip, it was back to home base for DJ Miss Parker, who, in addition to DJing, is busy working as an artist and producer. “I love dance music so much,” they tell me. “I eat, breathe, sleep, rave. It’s something I need to survive, to get through the days. I try to build a world around that.”

They just released their second full length album, DANCE WITH ME, featuring standout track CAN’T STOP (LOVIN’ YOU), a dreamy pop ode with guest vocals by NYC artist Silas. The song is accompanied by a video that DJ Miss Parker directed: a montage of hazy images that fades between shots of Silas dancing, the concrete city, dreamy lovers playing in the grass, and DJ Miss Parker floating in and out like a soft touch. It feels like an episode of Twin Peaks as seen from a Windows 98 home screen.

“It’s hard for people to see that you can do more than one thing,” DJ Miss Parker says of moving between DJing and other mediums. “But we can do every style. We can do everything. And I love the challenge.”

Good for us. We love watching it.

Photography: Noah Gonzalez
Make-up: Jesse Clark