28 Apr The Undercover DJs: School teacher Myra Hasson talks balancing work and music, and shares exclusive mix
Each week, we bring to you some of our favourite undercover producers/DJs. These are the people who are well-known to create work in one field but who should, in fact, be known equally for the music they mix. From a multimedia artist in Cape Town to a teacher in Los Angeles, check out our ongoing series of undercover selectors.
Myra Hasson is a Los Angeles-based educator, model and on-the-side DJ. When not at school her other superpower is making great music mixes, which she plays at producer Earrie Hall’s underground parties in downtown Los Angeles.
Listen to her ‘SexyEclecticSoul’ mix for 10and5 and read our interview with Myra below.
Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Myra Hasson. I’m 29 years old and I am from Inglewood, California. I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. I currently wear a few hats professionally because I am transitioning from my old life. I gave up being a nationally ranked track and field athlete that attended the University of Southern California for my undergrad in psychology. I was training for the 2012 Olympics but a huge part of me knew that I wasn’t doing what I truly loved. I gave it all up and decided to start my life all over.
What’s your profession?
I’m currently teaching at an elementary school in South Central Los Angeles called Juanita Tate Academy. I work with kids from kindergarten up until sixth grade. I am also signed with a modeling agency, so I am involved in modeling and commercial work as well. I studied graphic design while teaching, so I’m doing graphic design now and I also attend Scratch Academy for disc jockeying.
How do you balance work and DJing?
Teach during the day, party animal at night. I have no idea how to balance them. I’ve just learned how to be a superwoman. A lot of days I would be running off of three hours of sleep because I would go to bed at 3am and get up for work at 6am to get ready to teach at the school. As a creative, my endeavors require diligent practice so I am a night owl that practices her craft while also working a job during the day at the school. I just make it work.
How did you start DJing?
Like every DJ, I’ve always loved music. I was raised around the golden era of hip hop in South Central Los Angeles, so I was exposed to a lot of timeless sounds that still live with me to this day. I’ve always gone up to the DJ’s at parties to see what they were doing (although I had no idea what I was looking at). Around February 2015 I really got started. I would watch a friend (who is now my partner, Earry Hall) DJ at the events he would throw in the downtown Los Angeles area.
Around that time I made a friend who was a female DJ that would spin her music with Earry. Her name was Dionne. Some friends and I threw a get together at Dionne’s house, she had a DJ set up (turntables and a mixer) and I had a brand new lap top so I could learn how to DJ. She helped me install the software and Earry showed me the ropes during our get together at her house. I DJ’d for my first time for four hours straight at Dionne’s in front of the homies and I got lost in the music. I was never the same.
What kind of music do you play?
I dig and play music that feeds the soul. I’m a lover of the earth and I’m a very eclectic individual so my sound has to embody who I am. My sound is very soulful and worldly. I love playing songs that have versatile sounds. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to DJ at residencies with Earry and even do corporate events. As I progress in DJ school (Scratch Academy) I’ve been sharpening my tools as a DJ to eventually progress to an international level. I’ve only been at it for about a year and a half now. I feel super excited about where I’m heading.
What equipment/apps/tools do you use to create/mix/make/DJ music?
I use Serato software on my Mac computer to play my music. I love using turntables and mixers. The feel of vinyls illuminates the authenticity of DJing. I use my controller or mixers to make my mixes. I know how to use turntables with vinyl, CDJs and different controllers. I made a remix to a song not too long ago using the Ableton software to create it.
What are the tracks you’re loving at the moment, and playing at gigs?
Right now I’m into listening to some new tracks produced by a few indie artists: Abjo, J.Robb, Tom Misch and plenty more. I’m an open format DJ, so depending on the gig, I will play what feels right for the moment.
Can you tell us about the mix you’ve created?
My mix is an embodiment of my mind and where it likes to go. I have a ton of energy, I love dancing and I can definitely turn up when necessary but overall I’m a very chill individual so I like to listen to feel good music with a soulful vibe and a sexy twist. You might even hear something old school in there. My lineage is West African so I love things with bass. The sounds in my mix are extremely vibey. Hopefully I can make you groove in some type of way.
Listen to more of Myra‘s beats.