By: Rachel Bubis
Jane Dupree is at the top of her game.
Born in Jackson, TN, she moved to Middle Tennessee at age 17 to go to MTSU, and got her start working for the college radio station. Now, she headlines her own shows and has played events with God-Dess & She, Martha Wash, Morgan Page, Questlove, Richard Vission, Bad Boy Bill, Junior Vasquez, The Crystal Method, DJ Funk, Figure, Dieselboy, Star Eyes, BT, DJ Rap, Stacy Kidd, Athens Boys Choir, Superstar DJ Keoki, American Idol Ashton Jones, DJ Trashy, Charles Feelgood, and Vanessa Carlton, to name a few.
You started doing music playing guitar at your church. How did you go from playing guitar at church to getting into electronic music?
I started playing guitar when I was 14. It’s cheesy, but it was after the first time I heard Nirvana. I asked for a guitar for Christmas and took lessons. My mom suggested I play this instrument in church, so I started playing on Sundays. I traveled around to different churches playing with the choir. When I got to college, I was in a Christian rock band signed to Ricky B, the gospel rapper's record label. That was freshman year, and I didn't pay much attention to turn tables. One of the guys I met through Ricky B was DJ Silence. Growing up, I listened to Crystal Waters and the Euro stuff on MTV as well as Liquid Groove electronic music. I always liked stuff like that.
Fast forward to summer after freshman year, I wound up going to the gay bar Connections. I just fell in love with what the DJ was selling and the music. I started buying records from Tower Records. When school started back, DJ Silence showed me the basics of how to use a mixer. I was also in a bowling class with Pimpdaddy Supreme who told me about college radio. At the end of fall semester. l submitted to be involved with the college radio station. In the winter semester I began my short intern period. After interning, I submitted a show proposal and was approved to launch the show House Nation. I started the show barely knowing how to use turntables. From day one of my show I used the radio station’s turn tables to practice every week.
What attracts you to the genre of house, circuit, electro?
I like the way it makes me feel. The experience. It’s about love, happiness, peace, unity. There’s nothing negative about dance music. That’s what I like about it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Smashing Pumpkins, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, DJ Pierre, Joey Deltron, Junior Vasquez.
How do you find out about new music/stay up-to-date on new tracks?
I follow several blogs on Hype Machine and am on several promo lists. I give feedback on those platforms. I also use SoundCloud. I search the top three record stores for dance music. I’m also in a record club called Club Killers, based in Las Vegas, and they supply a lot of bootlegs and remixes.
What’s your process like and what technology do you use?
I start on vinyl which is my preferred method. In the clubs I use a Numark controller and Serato DJ. At a bigger festival I use Pioneer CDJ 2000s.
Nashville’s moniker is “music city,” but electronic music isn’t the first thing to come to mind for people. Is it challenging to do this genre of music here? What’s the scene in Nashville like compared with other cities?
Nashville’s scene is growing a lot. It’s always been an underground scene, but in comparison to other cities, it’s still relatively small. But any weekend you can go out and find electronic music. Back in the day there was way less, but you can even catch a show on a Tuesday or Wednesday here now. We don’t have any dedicated electronic clubs, but access to friendly venues like the Back Corner. Canvas and Traxx are my resident clubs.
I imagine the DJ profession/culture is pretty male dominated. Do you experience any discrimination professionally?
Oh yeah, where do I start! I’ll keep it short. For one, I walk into clubs and people instantly assume I’m going to play hip hop. Then, because I’m a woman, they assume I don’t know what I’m doing or know how to hook the equipment up. Also, some frat boy types try to bully their way into my time slot sometimes. That kind of deal. And mainly just assuming I don’t know what’s going on with the music or not as good as the other guys.
How do you cope?
I just mix. I mix and do what I do and there’s no questions after that.
What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
You can’t please everybody. And have no expectations.
What else are you into besides Djing?
It’s corny but I play Candy Crush haha. I like to drive a lot. Hang out outside. Walk around and go to local bars. Hang out with my friends and to make music.
How do we follow your music/keep up to date with future shows?