Gina Star is without a doubt one of House music’s brightest shining transatlantic stars. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, her love and desire to chase a life as a DJ drove her to LA, where she made an impact as a big room uplifting House specialist.
She has been championed by the likes of Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren, Fedde Le Grand, Judge Jules, D.O.N.S., Nicky Romero, David Guetta and maybe most importantly, Mark Knight, Toolroom Records’ head honcho, who snapped her up for the world leading label. Her ‘This Is Hollywood’ smash, stormed the Beatport charts, hitting the overall top ten and taking down the number one spot in the Progressive House listings.
A spell living in the UK introduced a new chapter to her story. Word spread around the country that Gina had arrived and she took no time at all taking over main rooms countrywide. Toolroom Records made her a firm favourite for compilations, her highly rated ‘Best of 2011’ and ‘Miami 2011’ CDs were highly praised and globally received, as we all have come to expect from mighty label.
Now back in the states and with her latest track making the 2012 Miami buzz chart, we spoke to Gina about life back home and what’s next!
Gina, you’re back in the USA! But you will back over to England this month for ‘Bitch’ in Manchester. How is life back home, do you miss the UK?
Oh yes, I desperately miss all the clouds and rain… haha it’s lovely to be back in LA, there’s really no other better place to live in my opinion. I do miss the people in England, I made a lot of great friends while I was here. I also miss Radio 1 because they actually incorporate new music from new artists, unlike the radio in the states.
Have you taken back any British culture with you?
I love a proper Sunday roast dinner, I drink PG tips tea every morning (I bring boxes of it back with me), I really like soccer (football) especially Chelsea, and I think roundabouts are actually quite useful (stop signs are everywhere in LA).
How was WMC for you, any stand out moments?WMC was a great time, but always goes by in a blur. The Toolroom party was insane and the pool party on top of the Viceroy was packed.
Your track ‘Midnight’ made the Miami Buzz chart, any future plans for the track?
We’ll see if we can get all the rights cleared up and explore the possibility of releasing it this summer.
What else do you have lined up for the rest of 2012?
I’ve actually got about 7 tracks in the cue to be released this year, so I’ve been in the studio a lot lately. The tracks feature some great vocalists like Chris Willis, Marcella Detroit, Jonathan Mendelsohn, and Jussie Smollett.
How was it last time you played for Bitch?
My last visit to Bitch was such a blast, everyone was really up for it, and the place was rammed!
How did you get into making music and have you had any formal music education or training?
While getting my business degree from the University of Texas in Dallas, I also got a minor in Music. I took lots of music theory, basic production, and piano. I’m still learning more everyday, as there are an endless amount of programs and synths to master.
What’s your current production setup at home?
I have a very modest home studio – a big flat screen, Rokit monitors, a mic, and a 61 key M-Audio midi keyboard. I work with 4 different engineers at the moment, 2 of them use Cubase, and 2 use Logic, they have very similar interfaces. I like to work in Protools or Abelton to create ideas.
What is your favourite synth/plug-in?
I like Omnisphere for rich sounding synths, Sylenth is good too but you have to be careful to alter the presets significantly because a lot of people use it and you don’t want your stuff sounding the same.
Do you like to attend mastering sessions or do you leave the pros to it?
A specialist does the actual “mastering” process. Normally, you just send in the file and they handle it. I am of course always there for all the mixing and production.
Very few people know that Gina Star is really good at….
Making burgers. I make really great gourmet style hamburgers on the grill. I use special seasoning on the meat and then while the patties are cooking, I caramelize mushrooms and onions, butter and toast the buns, and prepare the secret sauce.
Gina Star has never…
Been skydiving, and I’m not sure that I ever will… I’ve been up in a 3-seater plane before which was pretty dicey, and done some zip lining, but that’s about as dangerous as I get.
The memory test
First gig you ever played?
I bought 7 records and I taught myself how to play… I did my first gig at an open turntable night in Houston, Texas and played for half an hour with those 7 records.
How about a track you played that night? / The first record you ever purchased?
Bel Amour “Bel Amour” released on KLR Records in France. An absolutely perfect disco house track
What was your first real nightclub experience?
Well I was always trying to figure out a way to get into clubs way before I was old enough to go, my favorite was the Lizard Lounge in Dallas, which was and still is the best electronic music club in the city. I was also crazy about going to raves – I think everyone was at the time. The first one I can remember going to featured Richard ‘Humpty’ Vission and Bad Boy Bill. I absolutely fell in love with their style of house music and how much energy they put into their sets. I mean being able to play 50 tracks in an hour – on vinyl… now that is exciting to listen and watch.
Your first ever release?
My first real release was called “Rock With Me” on Dave Aude’s label Audacious.
And finally, a parting word for the crowds at Bitch who can’t wait to see you again….
I’m going to be playing a lot of my new productions, so you are guaranteed a unique set. I think its going to be a really fantastic night
Gina Star @ Bitch – Venus, Manchester on Saturday April 28th with D.O.D, Lempo and more. Tickets on Skiddle…