Moods 06: Emily McGill

Published on 2018-06-12

Hi hi hi -- new Moods mix has us swinging right back into the groove of things. A gentle reminder that Merch is still available with discounts for subscribers (here!), and a gentle reminder that summer has fully arrived in most of America. For June's mix, we're offering up both a bit of fun in the sun and rest in the shade with Melbourne-based illustrator, singer, and DJ Emily McGill. More below, as always <3




Emily and I go years back. Since the wee ol days of college, I knew Emily through a DJ collective I once ran with Lavici. Wiser than any of us combined, but with a spirit of a vegan punk skater, we immediately bonded over our love for dancing hard, hosting, and the art of the rave scene people watch (à la this). Her musical upbringing in house-heavy Chicago led to a DJ style that ran from progressive to house to trance, which echos her dips into the world of illustration, singing, and i-D. Now, based in Melbourne since 2016, the world of psytrance, DJing at New Years Eve bush festivals, and helping build female-inclusive, community-driven experiences have become her backbone. She shared a bit how this all gets filtered into her mix.

"Growing up, my dad instilled in me a pretty serious reverence for classic rock bands like Zeppelin, Floyd, Queen, Steely Dan, and Boston," McGill notes. We hear that here with a star-studded mix of Jimi Hendrix to "Your Love."  Early on, she joined a small music school in Chicago where she played guitar, sang, and learned in local bars and basement gigs. So, while many techno heads limit Chicago to just a house scene, McGill's experience proves the city's people are more expansive than that: "I still to this day can't forget the lyrics to songs like 'Bamboozled' by Love by Zappa and 'When the Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin."

To contrast, Melbourne's influence has led McGill to a more communal bush-party exploration of psytrace and electronic sounds, which are all over in her mix from the opener "Wandering Sadhu" to the hyperdrive dominator "Colors" by Vini Vici & Tristan & Avalon. "The Melbourne scene (at least the part of it that I'm familiar with) has a bigger focus on outdoor parties, festivals, and electronic music in nature which may have to do with their close proximity to wilderness which we don't really have in Chicago. In the summer, the rural area surrounding Melbourne is home to some of the loosest, most turbo music festivals around: Rainbow Serpent, Strawberry Fields, Golden Plains, Pitch Music and Arts, to name a few."

The best part, which should be called attention to: "the music played at these festivals ranges from techno to progressive to psytrance -- they're so not afraid of getting super silly and throwing exclusivity and pretentiousness out the window. It's also music that has such a powerful affect when played outdoors (preferably surrounded by gum trees) and often would be totally inappropriate in a club.

"Both scenes are super fun in their different ways, but you probably won't catch me wearing an apron, oven mitts, and 90s raver fat pants in a Chicago club."


Wandering Sadhu- Desert Dwellers

My Love is Waiting- Marvin Gaye

P.E.L.F.- Hardfloor

Past Life- Tame Impala

Bold As Love- Jimi Hendrix

Airlock (Nicolas Rada Remix)- Simon Tagias

Reminder- The Weeknd

No (feat. Butta Verses)- De La Soul

My Friend- Groove Armada

Your Love- The Outfield

On & On- Erykah Badu

Manila (Ewan Pearson Remix)- Seelenluft

Colors- Vini Vici & Tristan & Avalon

Hearts on Fire- Cut Copy


I've paired Emily's mix with the work of Aviva Rahmani. Blued Trees Symphony is a radical work of eco-art through strategically painted trees that, if seen from a bird's eye, create a score for a symphonic overture. The work is also strategically in the way of the proposed Mountain Valley oil pipeline as a way to put art literally on the front lines of protecting our environment. Aviva's work echos Emily's set: both are a complex collection of voices rising.

To learn more about Aviva and support her work, head here.

To keep up to date with Emily, head here.