Eyes on the Prize


POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009

Don't be surprised to see DJ Irene with her nose in a book during any downtime away from the decks.





        Featuring DJ Irene, plus local DJs G-Spot, Daniel J and others

On Stage: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday at Cellar 744 in Lahaina, Maui (21 and over); 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday at Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St. (18 and over)


Tickets: $20.50, available at www.groovetickets.com


Call: 591-3500 or visit www.oospot.com




One of the more visible personalities on the international dance club scene for close to 20 years, Irene (no last name, please) is getting ready to make her move from the Los Angeles Community College district to California State University, Northridge, in the fall, all in her pursuit of a bachelor of music in communications and media composition—specifically, film scoring.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles on Monday, the congenial Irene was excited about her prospects in education, while still enjoying the rewards of the “;night job”; that's made her the beloved Superstar Diva DJ, as well as paid for her schooling for three years.

Irene has been a regular visitor to the islands, and she'll be spinning on Maui and Oahu this weekend during spring break.

“;I like music with energy,”; she said, “;and I like to maintain the flow during my sets with a minimal techno beat.

“;I've been playing clubs ever since the years of disco and when house music broke out. I know nowadays that I should try to be different and change up what I play to reflect what's hot now. But I pretty much play everything, and if I program it right, my set should play like a roller coaster, filled with drama!”; she said, punctuating her remark with loud and infectious laughter.

Irene has always valued college studies, “;but back in '96, my career took off, and I decided to pursue that instead of going to school on a full-time basis.”; Now, as she juggles school and disc jockeying, she admits she's become a great micro-manager.

“;Right now, I'm working on a speech for a class assignment on what has been your most memorable moment in your life. For me, it was many years ago, when I was on my way to my previous photo job and was hit by a car. I couldn't walk for three months after that. When I recovered, I just decided to quit my job and become a DJ.”;

She admits she's been through some rough periods. The survivor of a tough home life in East LA, Irene spent time homeless with a nasty drug addiction while she was gaining a following in the City of Angels with her “;hard house”; mixing skills.

But having to support her son's college education got her to clean up her life, and she's done well to get back on her feet, what with her steady schedule of club dates around the world and the regular release of her popular mix CDs, her latest being last year's “;Rockstar Royalty.”;

Irene, however, keeps her “;eyes on the prize.”;

“;Education is a big part of my character. It opens your eyes and enhances your life. I enjoy learning—it's like food to me. My touring revolves around my college schedule, the midterms and finals. But I still love to play in every way.”;

During her music studies, she's come to love everything from classical to jazz, to the film music work of John Barry, John Williams and Hans Zimmer, and even atonal work.

“;I'm like No. 5, the robot in the movie 'Short Circuit'—'More input!' 'More input!',”; Irene said with a laugh.