L.A. Zwicky, a DJ with a booming sound and a hairstylist with an arsenal of imaginative creations, has been a regular pop-up in the Denver queer community for nearly eight years. Much like her two professions, she stands out in a crowd.
L.A. Zwicky’s focus on lesser known artists flood the dance floor with an eminent rhythm perfectly selected for any event she DJs. Her pallet of songs braids in emerging artists with hits and classics to create a unique soundscape. As a DJ who has never learned to play an instrument, her personal symphony comes from her knowledge and passion for music in general.
“I play more unique international stuff, anything with a good bassline that’ll make your body dance,” she said. Her rejuvenating, crazy, colorful sound greets the audience with a blast of adrenaline, keeping them twirling on the dance floor.
Not only is L.A. Zwicky a local DJ, she is also a hairstylist—predominantly catering to the LGBTQ community. L.A. Zwicky manages to pull out a pallet of colors and styles to fit the needs of her clients. Being a big fan of self-expression, she uses her platform to promote the idea of self-love. Non-gender-specific looks and vibrant colors are the majority of styles L.A. Zwicky bestows on whomever sits in her chair.
“It’s another medium for me to create beauty in the world,” she said. “I feel the most powerful when I get to share my joy, my self-expression, with other people.”
L.A. Zwicky had the dream, now a reality, of being a DJ after attending an EDM show at Red Rocks. She has been spinning in Denver for seven years now. Her specialized playlist focuses on highlighting as many queer-identified artists as possible. L.A. Zwicky enjoys bringing awareness of self-expression to the table, both on the dancefloor and within your follicles.
OUT FRONT sat down with L.A. Zwicky to talk about her music and spreading beauty around Denver. Peep it!
When did you start DJing? Did this develop organically from just playing music for yourself and your friends?
I’ve never been a musician, but I always knew I wanted to be a DJ when I grew up. I saw Fatboy Slim at Red Rocks and thought, “that’s what I wanted to do.” I went to school in Boulder and didn’t start playing until then. Then I started DJing in 2010 in Denver. I got in with the DIY art music scene like Rhinoceropolis, Glob, all the warehouses that were throwing parties.
How would you describe your sound when it comes to what you play?
What I play is pretty unique. I try to focus a lot more on lesser known artists and queer-identified artists because there are a lot out there, and they don’t make it onto the radio or in the Top 40. I’ll throw in some fun, classic dance tracks that are just well-known dance floor songs, but I like to focus on the more unique international stuff, anything with a good bassline that’ll make your body dance.
What’s a track that you can’t stop playing right now?
“Shamir.” I play it at almost every gig and I mix it in with Missy Elliot’s new track. He’s a little gender-queer cutie, rapper, singer.
How inclusive do you think Denver is of the queer community? What about our music scene?
They are pretty intermingled. For me, my access to the community has been through the music scene. It has amazing potential and there is already a lot of inclusivity, but we definitely have a way to go as far as creating inclusivity across the community and not just focusing on specific aspects of it. I feel like there’s a lot going on underground. I’ve been here in Denver for seven years, and I’m just now seeing people step up and start to be a little more out, proud, loud, and trying to work really hard to build community across the board.
You seem to consciously try to curate queer events and play in queer spaces. Why is this important for you?
Kind of related to what I was just saying, I think it’s a community that could use more cohesion. I think the easiest way to bring people together through all different backgrounds is through dance parties. It’s a great way for self-expression to happen. When I started [the dance party] Damn Girl I wanted people to be able to come together and be whoever the heck they want to be. It’s one place they can come, and they know at the end of their week they can show up looking absolutely fabulous.
What are your plans for 2018 and the rest of this year? Any cool shows or sets in the works?
For the rest of this year I’m kind of taking gigs and stuff as they come. I’m just kind of having this influx of a million gigs. I’ve gotten involved with Meow Wolf and I have a couple of random weird parties coming up. I’m also getting involved with another party, Hype Her Hour [at Blush & Blu]. I just kind of take things as they come.
You’re also a hairdresser and you have a very distinct look. How does your look help you express yourself?
That’s pretty much why I got into hairdressing. Because I have my degree in psychology, I talk to people every day as if I were a therapist, but I get to talk to people in the fashion industry, as well. It’s another medium for me to create beauty in the world, so whether it’s making people feel good about themselves on the dance floor or in the chair, you can have whatever hair color you want, and you can dress however you want.
You put yourself out there as a non-gender specific hairstylist. Why do you think it’s important to make this distinction clear when working with clients?
I had a wonderful mentor at the beginning of my career who kind of instigated this foray into non-gender-specific hairstyling, and that was so in line with my idea about the beauty industry. It’s 2017: there are so many different types of gender expression, and that doesn’t always conform to a woman’s haircut or a man’s haircut, and if I can do my small part by not having to adhere to those two genders when people come into my space, I want to do that.
What does power mean to you, and how can we show our power in this current political climate?
Power to me is definitely self-expression and confidence. I feel the most powerful when I get to share my joy, my self-expression, with other people. I think a big part of power, especially in this political climate, is creating a really strong community, really strong bonds with the people we care about the most. As cheesy as it might sound, I think love is the most powerful tool we have right now. I think love can overcome the hate. When I feel the most powerful is when I feel connected to people through love.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m really proud of the queer community in Denver and people coming out of the woodwork and finding their feet as far as how they want to express themselves and create their community.