Department 2018: Radar interviews Miss Dilemma

After nearly two decades behind the decks, Miss Dilemma is one of Sweden’s most booked DJs. Radar has had the pleasure to both interview and release a Radar Mix with her in collaboration with Department music and arts festival. Miss Dilemma has earned a number of awards and recognitions for her mixing skills and style over the years, both on vinyl and digital. When she plays, her technical level, energetic and creative mixes are a pure joy to listen and dance to. Add her unique playfulness and infectious smile in the DJ booth and you have Miss Dilemma’s very own signet.

Hi Miss Dilemma!  We are really excited to see you play at Department this year! Should we look forward to seeing a digital or vinyl set? Which do you prefer?
–The last couple of years I have preferred digital for the creative possibilities, but anyone who follows me on social media has seen my Technics 1210s rigged again. I celebrate my 20th anniversary as a DJ this year so I’m thinking of doing another 3 deck vinyl set, with only old-school techno just like I preferred it back in the days. So as a personal challenge to see if I still got it! (I’m terrified!!) Just sorting the vinyls is weeks of work, but can’t say no to a good challenge! I share the project on Instagram and it’s so fun just to share the love for this handcraft with other people out there, so it’s a win no matter how the gig will end up.

Tell us about what got you into DJ:ing.
–I’ve been a tech nerd as long as I can remember and I never liked music with lyrics, then as a teenager, I stumbled across a compilation CD from Sasha and Digweed (Northern Lights) and got all over the place enthusiastic! I ran down to Pitch, our DJ record store where it was bought, and saw the walls covered in vinyl. Short version; I bought my first 12″ without even owning any turntables. On the way home I walked down the street and realized “I m going to be a DJ”. I changed my whole life after that moment, and most of my life has been about records and technology ever since. Today I know that feeling is quite common for a person with ADD or ADHD where I belong on the spectrum, but I had no self-insight at that moment. Grateful I didn’t!

Have you ever considered producing your own music? 
–Absolutely, however, I see myself first and foremost as a DJ. You’re not automatically a good DJ just because you are a great producer and vice versa. I would wish to see those skills to be separated more often which are not really the case today.
Do you feel the need to create something of your own, or does mixing fulfill that need for you?
–I’m working on my first EP right now, first track will most likely be played at Department. It’s been a struggle to find my way as a producer. Working as an IT-consultant during the days with long days in front of a screen, to sit down in front of another one when I got home, and also be creative, just didn’t work. Also, I express my self with knobs and buttons. I need to pull, twist and drag so creating by clicking on some mouse buttons killed all my joy to create. The solution was working with hardware. So now I take my Electribe 2 (a small music production station from Korg) leave the house and find a nice place to sit (or stand), outdoors, cafés, bars. Whatever I feel for. Then I create my ideas on it, focusing on the raw feeling in the track instead of getting stuck on some hi hat-frequency detail or similar like I always did in the studio. From there it’s quite easy to finish the tracks, and it’s fun that I have built most of the sounds from scratch instead of using samples.
How do your sets usually sound?   
–I love rhythms and beats, even if both vocals and melodies are added, the groove is always center. I call it techno but I move between styles and tempos, both up and down. Lately, it’s been more to the tech house direction because I find more elements there to play around with when I mix, but I don’t want to leave the rough, empowering attitude that comes with techno. I always try to experiment and kill my darlings to constantly improve. Last week I tried out a new concept where I did a Live stream on Facebook where I mixed tracks my followers on Instagram had added on an open Spotify playlist. I wanted to explore what my identity is as a DJ when I’m not even playing my own selection. Can I still keep my personal sound? It was really fun and developing and the response on the stream was far over my expectations, so will soon open the playlist for part 02!
What do you enjoy the most when you’re standing behind the DJ booth?   
–When I play on stage I need variety, playfulness and action so I much rather take risks and follow my impulses than to mix safe and plane. To put me on the edge gives me that extra adrenaline, presence and focus which is the prerequisite for my biggest high and happiness up there. Especially when I surprise myself and create some combination I couldn’t even imagine back home. Then it’s the communication and symbiosis from the audience. You can never have a great party with the best DJ and a lousy audience, but with a great audience and a lousy DJ it will still be awesome. The best gigs are the ones when I feel  that we do it together!
What is the best part of being a techno/tech house DJ? 
–Apart from playing my favorite music another aspect of the techno scene is how it’s versatile. There are not too many norms for how a DJ should be, sound or act if you compare with the pop industry as an example. They come in all shapes and colors, literarily. You can also see this in the dance clubs. As long as you are there for the music you are welcome. I rarely, if ever, hear anything about racism, sexism or violence at our nights and that’s also a strong reason why I love to be a part of the techno community.