In the era of “everyone’s a DJ”, Faren Strnad is a breath of fresh air behind the decks. Not only is she incredibly witty, fun, and passionate, but she can get down like none other, spitting such fire techno and house at you, that you might be transported back to the days when DJing was just as much about skills as it was track selection. Prepare to get to know your newest favorite female DJ.
Faren, thank you so much for sitting down with Fresh Music Freaks! You have had quite the incredible year and fans and friends alike have been so excited to watch you rise. You have had tremendous underground support, along with some incredible booking opportunities like Dirty Bird and Holy Ship!
FMF: How does it feel to have your skills and music recognized in this way after only three short years of Djing?
Faren: Absolutely breathtaking to say the least! This all is such an immense and encouraging affirmation in what I’ve been so earnestly investing my energy and heart into. You really can do whatever you dream if you put forth the genuine and sincere effort.
What are your goals moving towards the future?
Production, as well as continuing to explore the oh-so-many captivating cities and spaces along the way. I’m jonesing to evince the eccentric sounds I have inside my head!
What was the catalyst to make you shift from listener to DJ and influencer?
Music is a powerful means of communication. As an introvert, I’m profoundly introspective and reflective. Through life, learning and growth I’ve come to know a lot of emotions, many of which I can only convey through music. That being said, I also do talk a LOT which is no surprise to anyone that knows me well. Hah, I suppose I just have a lot to share, I get very excited and passionate about the things I love.
As a female DJ in this industry, how have you navigated the pitfalls and upward momentum of success?
I’m uniquely and confidently me. I don’t need any certain thing and I don’t aspire to be better than everyone or anyone…If anything I want for myself and everyone around me to be the best! In general, I find there to be 3 categories of character. (1) There are the ‘good’ people that tell you everything you want to hear but take advantage of you. (2) There are the ‘bad’ people that openly oppose you but actually strengthen you… and then there are those other outlaws, my friends. The ones that tell you the good AND the bad… and that I ‘killed it’ or that I “suck”. They fight for me to succeed and even when I suck the support me. In sum, celebrate and support others the way you wish for yourself.
Do you have any suggestions for other DJ’s who wish to become as successful as quickly as you have?
Love what you do and make it an enjoyable daily regimen. Celebrate yourself and your work every day. Visualize your long-term goals and invest in the small and seemingly minuscule moments, those often are of the greatest value.
We hear not only are you saving lives nightly on the dance floor but that you also do so in your day job. How difficult has it been coupling a DJ career along with a nursing career?
After a weekend of “partying” the combination certainly brings forth a humbling balance. I am thankful to have such contrast, it’s a riveting reminder of how very delicate and precious life really is.
Tell me a little about NV’D recordings. How did this all start for you?
NV’D Records has grown and inspired me in more meaningful ways than I can even fully convey. I resonate so deeply with the mission, vision, drive, creativity, community and support.
In short, I met Kory through my love and pursuit of music. I moved back to Grand Rapids and was commuting to Detroit nearly every weekend for music and shows. I met several friends, one of which invited me to Envy’d Lounge in Charlotte, NC. These events are private and composed of primarily ‘Shipfam’. I wasn’t Shipfam, but Billy Kenny, a friend of mine was playing so I was invited out. Due to circumstances out of his control, Billy could not make it. He messaged Kory and said I was a sick DJ and that he should let me play his timeslot. Kory said yes. After the 12 hour drive, I was beat. I took a “nap” for four hours and woke up at 4 A.M. I headed back to the party and that was when I met Kory. He patted me on the shoulder, asked if I was ready to play and said that I was up next. I went on to play a seven hour set, was adopted by the family, and the rest is history.
What set or set stands out to you the most? What makes a set more memorable to you as an artist?
What I value the most in an artist is the ability to evoke emotion and enlightenment. My sets are a narrative of sorts through my current emotional state, I’m essentially taking you through an entire Kubler-Ross Change Curve, haha. It’s quite the dynamic and invigorating experience!
What has been your most memorable moment as a DJ/ artist?
My Ship Fam Island set in Croatia this past May.
That set is a true reflection of my sound and style. Beyond that, it’s a powerful testament to what I’ve set out to accomplish and how far I’ve come. Top it off with being surrounded by so many of the friends that have supported me along the way… Definitely one of the best experiences to date by far.
What has been your favorite memory or show, strictly as a fan?
Detroit Movement 2015, specifically the Dirtybird 10 party at The Fillmore. Prior to that event, I didn’t even know what house music was. At the time I was transitioning through a challenging personal life debacle. I decided to go to the Fillmore on a whim and was delighted to find myself surrounded by the most magnificent sounds, amidst the most superb souls. I’ll never forget the energy, enthusiasm and ALL of the feathers that night!
What is your favorite festival?
Movement and Electric Forest are neck-and-neck but in their own special and unique ways. Both have that powerful and passionate energy and each festival channels it into their own creative expression. I’ll be at both!
What festival or event would you love to play next?
What is the one accomplishment (of which we know are many) that you are most proud of and why?
The development of a strong and steadfast self-respect… standing up for myself, believing in my worth, refusing to allow others to take advantage of me and my good will. Knowing I have value and that I also ADD value to the world.
What is your preparation process like for each set, and how do you choose the new and interesting ID’s to play that has become your MO and always keeps your fans wanting more?
I take in the venue, event and local “scene” followed by finding relatable and relevant tracks that the crowd can connect with. More importantly than that, I gather tracks that the listeners would not typically have the opportunity to hear and proceed to play them with the most excitement in my heart!
Who is your favorite DJ to tag team/ play with?
I recently had the most excellent experience tagging with Aylen! He’s supremely talented DJ/Producer and beautiful person all around. We played all the things, all the stuff and all the styles!
Anything special we should look out for/forward to from you?
I have several shows coming up! Looking forward to catching you at one of them!