By MIA JACOBS

On Wednesday nights, Joyce Tang, a junior in Media Culture and Communications, steps into the basement of Weinstein Residence Hall, past the cafeteria and the dirty bathrooms. She punches a multi-digit code into a keypad on a door plastered with stickers, locking herself in a dark, airless room. Soon the rooms begins to vibrate with electronic music as flashy lights of a turntable begin to spin. Tang is in her pre-show warmup routine at WNYU, New York University’s radio station headquarters. At 11p.m. when her show begins, most radio staff have packed up, leaving Tang alone. She puts on her headphones, talks eloquently and softly into the microphone, and begins mixing music at a turntable.

What’s the style of your show?

It’s called Smart Moves for the Stiff Mind, and it started out being a show about intelligent dance music, like ambient, or experimental or techno. I started that show about two years ago during my freshman year, and now it’s evolved into more “EBM,” which is electronic body music.

How did you develop your music style?

When I first got my show at WNYU, I decided to focus on Intelligent Dance Music, is this a formal name which is something I knew about and enjoyed, but I didn’t know the background of it, or how in-depth the genre went. I did a lot of digging, which evolved into finding these new sounds.

How do you find the music you play on your show?

Lots of the music I play and choose to DJ is found on Bandcamp and Spotify, listening to other people’s mixes, keeping up with new releases from my favorite labels, or stopping by some record shops and using their listening station. The sound of music I choose to DJ has definitely changed a lot over the past two years, which I’m happy about. I’ll know a good song for me to play right when I hear it. My favorite songs are ones that make me want to dance alone with my eyes closed and arms over my head.

You like to include guests on your show?

Yes! I bring on a lot of people I meet to do a live set or DJ set. My last interview was with Thundercat, who’s the bassist for Suicidal Tendencies. He’s also worked with Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, so that was really awesome.

Besides WNYU, do you pursue anything else music-related?

I’ve been organizing a lot of my own DJ sets alongside other artists at venues in Brooklyn like Trans Picos, which is a place that really allows up and coming artists to use their space for free. It’s been really fun playing actual shows, and when I organize the events, I make sure to be inclusive of people of color, femme-identifying, and non-binary people.

What is it like being a female artist of color in the DJ world?

To be honest, I don’t really call myself an “artist” or “DJ”. I’ll tell people I DJ here and there, but I don’t say I’m a DJ. You know how there’s a difference between someone saying they’re/she’s/he’s a writer versus someone saying that they write?

But from my standpoint, I’ve seen that there are definitely lots of difficulties and obstacles for female artists and DJs of color to be given the same opportunities and as equal of platforms as male and/or white artists.

What would you like to see for the future of music?

Of course I’d love to see more female/femme/gender non-conforming musicians, musicians of color, musicians of the LGBTQ+ community, musicians with disabilities being featured and booked! We definitely need more artists, DJs, performers, and creators of underserved groups to be heard because their often ignored experiences are what lead them to create such interesting and defining music! Music by the same white boys can get boring, you know?

What are your career goals?

I really don’t know! I didn’t know I wanted to do anything music related until a year ago. I thought I wanted a cookie-cutter office job before that. It’s tough for a lot of people who want to pursue something in the creative industry. This type of work is really underappreciated. I think people know what they’re getting into, and more power to them. I think I’ll join.

Lastly, I hear you like to “treat yourself.” What’s that all about?

I always tell people to treat themselves because living and being and surviving can get tough! Everyone’s going through their own battles so you really just have to treat yourself and do what you gotta do to keep yourself sane. If what you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone around you, treat yourself– even if it’s just for a short moment. You’ll know where to draw the line, though. We deserve it!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.