She DJs at Melbourne’s biggest girl parties, regularly fills dancefloors along the east coast and has played at Mardi Gras and Australia’s answer to the Dinah Shore weekend, GirlFest.
However, far from spinning club anthems, Brisbane-based ‘mixtress’ DJ Ish admits her first memories of music were listening to her parent’s opera.
“My parents loved Puccini so the house was always filled with beautiful arias,” Ish told the Star Observer.
“The family wasn’t at all musical which was a blessing because I wasn’t one of those poor little Italian kids who had to learn the piano accordion.
“I was such a tomboy growing up, like every good lesbian. I didn’t have time to learn a musical instrument because I was too busy playing cowboys and Indians in the backyard.”
Ish said over the years her musical tastes have evolved, but her classical roots are never too far away.
“I can’t imagine listening to the same music I did as a teen — as much as I did love Black Box and C+C Music Factory,” she said.
“I still adore my house music and I haven’t strayed from my Italian roots.
“Having worked for two Australian state orchestras as well, my interest in modern contemporary composers has flourished, so you could say my music collection is quite eclectic.”
One who features heavily in her current favorites list is UK club queen Luciana, Ish cheekily admits, to the point of obsession.
“I’ve been known to say Luciana is ‘sex on legs’, but that doesn’t mean I’m obsessed with her — does it?” she said.
“I’ve seen Luciana perform live a few times and, yes, I almost touched her.
“She has an infectious energy on stage with such charisma and of course sharing the same Italian heritage why wouldn’t I be obsessed — I mean a fan.”
When mixing new tracks, Ish says song lyrics are key.
“I love my vocals tracks. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to remix a track with mindless lyrics. Anything with reference to licking lollipops wouldn’t go down well with my girlie fans.”
After a decade in the industry, Ish has certainly not lost her passion for ensuring eager punters have a top night out.
“You can’t put a price on making people feel good,” she said.
“I love watching my dancefloor fill with familiar faces, hands in the air ready for a fun night.
“It’s a great feeling knowing people appreciate what I do.”
As for playing at lesbian parties, in her words, “What’s not to enjoy about a room full of lesbians?”
“The great thing about playing for girls is they party hard and have a great time doing it.
“You occasionally see a few bitch slaps — but hey, what’s a lesbian party without any drama?
“It is different playing to a non-queer crowd because they don’t request Tegan and Sara.”
info: DJ Ish plays at all-girl party Lick in Melbourne on Thursday April 21.
Photo: Russell Fleming