DJ Narky Stares (aka Lauren Zwicky) is a non-traditionalist when it comes to the tastemaking side of deejaying. Dropping tracks from Dave Nada to Egyptrixx, her proudly weird taste is as diverse as her upbringing: Zwicky's childhood took her from Utah to Mexico to Costa Rica and eventually to her current home state of Colorado. The recent Naropa University graduate wandered her way from Boulder to Denver less than a year ago, where the aspiring doula and midwife began a career as one half of the DJ duo Screensavers. Along with partner Isaac Linder, Zwicky utilizes digital deejaying software to give the Miley Cyrus crowd a taste of deep house, with a little drum-and-bass in between. The two are currently spinning at Real Is a Feeling every other weekend at the Meadowlark.
Westword: When did you start deejaying?
Lauren Zwicky: The whole DJ thing is pretty new to me. I have had the desire to deejay since I was thirteen, but never committed myself to getting the equipment and getting myself out there. School was always my primary focus, so after graduating, I thought it would be a good time to pursue it. Things just sort of fell into place after I moved to Denver and started working with Isaac Linder as Screensavers. It also had a lot to do with meeting Travis [Egedy, of Pictureplane]. He asked Isaac and I to start deejaying Real Is a Feeling. I feel like I've always been on the periphery of this culture, this underground art and music scene. When I was younger, I was into hip-hop dancing and breakdancing, and that planted a seed for me.
DJ Narky Stares
Screensavers featuring DJ Narky Stares, at Real Is a Feeling, hosted by Pictureplane, every other Sunday, Meadowlark, 2701 Larimer Street, $3, 303-293-0251.
What put the deejaying gears in motion for you?
I was twelve or thirteen when my parents took me to Red Rocks to see Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers, and I remember thinking, I want to do this! Deejaying live is amazing. I was coming into an age of self-discovery of my own taste, exploring different things like Moby and those major electronic DJs of the late '90s and early '00s. Also as a dancer, I felt a deep desire to share the music I loved with other people. I think that's the primary force behind deejaying: loving a track so much you want other people to hear it.
What kind of preparation goes into a set?
Since Real Is a Feeling is a bi-weekly event, Isaac and I spend the week before gathering new music, listening deeply to what we've recently come across and figuring out what blends together. We try to build momentum within a set and play to whatever crowd we might be playing to, while fulfilling our own taste.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.