Pioneer Pro DJ is a world-wide renowned brand. Ever since CDs surpassed vinyl in the 1990s the brand has been a world leader in CDJ players amongst other DJ equipment.
Apart from being industry leaders, Pioneer sponsors young talent through their Pioneer DJ competitions.
We spoke to Pioneers’ glitzy addition to the team, Monica Cook (aka DJ Playmate), about her career as a Pioneer DJ. She has been a Pioneer DJ since 2009 and is one to watch out for with addictive beats and mixes of dirty, funky and rocking house that will knock your socks off.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
It inspired by a Wheels & Doll Baby shirt I found while rummaging through my wardrobe one day. People remember it; it’s a playful name with a bit of sexiness about it. That’s how I like to portray myself, not just as an artist but my personality as well.
How long have you been a Pioneer DJ for?
I’m into my second year now as an ambassador for the brand.
How did you become a Pioneer DJ?
Initially it was through winning the Pioneer DJ Search Competition in 2009, where as part of the competition winnings I become an Ambassador for twelve months. However after the twelve months ended I was invited to continue as an ambassador on my on merits of success as a DJ.
Was it competitive?
Competitive indeed! It was a tough competition but it was also exhilarating. From what I recall there were over three hundred DJs nationally that entered into the search. The competition is run in two stages: the first was through peer voting to determine the top ten mixes, then the second stage was judged by a number of other respected industry heads including Grant Smilie and Mark James.
What do you have to do as a Pioneer DJ?
The great thing about being a Pioneer DJ is that all you have to do is be your own artistic self, which is different from your average career.
What are your duties as Pioneer DJ?
My main duty is to focus on your passion, which is the music, and inspire others by your drive and talent. My main goal whenever I’m playing a gig is to get people moving and dancing regardless of whether they’re straight or drunk.
What are some of the perks of the job?
The opportunity to use some of the best DJ technology in the world. I see it as an honour and a perk that Pioneer value me as an artist and that I am included as part of the Pioneer Dj family.
What is the first Pioneer product you had to use?
I was fortunate enough to be one of the first in Australia to let loose on the CDJ 2000s when they were released, which was awesome.
Had you been using Pioneer products before becoming a Pioneer DJ? Which?
Most definitely. As a professional DJ you use Pioneer equipment on a regular basis, being that it is the professional standard in clubs and venues. I also have Pioneer gear in my home studio for practice and house jamming purposes.
How long are you planning on staying with Pioneer? Are there other projects coming up for you?
Well my master plan is to stay with Pioneer for a LONG time. I think when that day does come to an end and I depart it will be due to my loss of the passion. So pretty much until my death bed.
Have you been limited in any way by tying yourself to Pioneer products only?
Not at all. Pioneer understand that their technology alone doesn’t make a DJ. As a brand Pioneer creates products that work together with other leading DJ technology to maximise the potential of combining various DJ tools within a performance, so limitations to “Pioneer only” have never been an issue.
Do you enjoy the job?
I LOVE MY JOB!! Music was my sea change from the corporate world of advertising and I tell no lie when I say to follow your dream, because you will never look back or feel like you are working another day in your life.
Do you find the industry male dominated? Does this impact your career as a female DJ?
Regardless of the industry as a female your success at times is judged purely by your looks and sex appeal, which can be frustrating. Although I take pride in my appearance and how I present myself, however this is not the motivation for making music. I just love the effect a great set can have on an audience, music is a powerful tool when combined in the right way and that is my focus for my audience, but like in any career you are not only judged by your skill but also how you present yourself and I take pride in both.
What advice would you give to ‘up and coming’ female DJs?
Make the most of your skill, and work hard to achieve what you love to create. When you pursue your passion, success will follow.
What are your career plans for the near future?
I’m now taking the steps of moving into the production side of music and getting creative in the studio. I’m excited about moving forward into this domain, with the hope and confidence of my audience hearing some rocking tracks from DJ Playmate in 2011.
Thank you Monica!
Interview by Sasha (www.lightsounds.com.au/)