DJ Orange Calderon hits us with a fall “HeatWave”
Orange Calderon is a DJ with a deep side and serious artistic ambitions.
A true artist at heart, Orange has a disposition to match her sunny first name. In honor of her new mix “HeatWave,” we got to know everything that makes her tick. Rest assured, you’re gonna be seeing more from this creative.
So why DJ Orange?
With a name like Orange you don’t have to get too creative with a “DJ” name, lol.
You’re a DJ, record producer, artist, and radio host of your own radio show — how do you stay sane?
Sane, What’s that? Hahah, I’m definitely not. But, sanity is boring. I was sane when I worked a corporate job. I never want to be sane again.
In all seriousness, I love what I do. When I do sleep, I wake jolted and excited to jump back into it, but most nights I stare at the ceiling waiting for daylight because my brain won’t stop storming or dreaming up more work to draw me further from “sanity.” It’s lovely.
What first inspired you to start a career in music?
I grew up in a musical home. My father is a gifted musician, we’ve always had sound systems, vinyl, drums, flutes, guitars and pianos in the house. I was pushing boxes and mountable toys to the piano bench to climb up and poke at keys before I could speak. Music has played a different role at different stages in my life, but it’s always been there. I don’t think I ever chose it, or had a determining moment, it’s just in my blood.
What struggles have you faced not only being a woman in a male dominated industry, but a woman of color in a male dominated industry?
There are the obvious sexist hurdles you have to deal with stepping into a world men dominate. The assumption that you won’t be any good simply because you don’t have a penis. The uncomfortable advances from ones that would abuse their power or position to try & manipulate you or the situation to their own benefit. It’s the same sad story, nothing groundbreaking or shocking, just unfortunate. But I believe this craft calls on a certain kind of woman, and that woman can handle a little challenge or discomfort without too much distress. She wouldn’t have been drawn to a boys game otherwise.
Not to say any of us should have to deal with it, but its still early and things don’t start to shift until a few people have come through and boss-hogged the lane. Hopefully those of us taking it on the chin right now are clearing the path for the women who come behind us, to not have to deal with the same trivialities.
How does your personality influence the way you DJ?
The lack of sanity plays a part for sure, haha. I’m very meticulous and detail oriented. That has everything to do with the way I DJ, from the format of my blends, to the pace and flow of my sets. With the background in production my ear is keen to the elements of a record. I hear the drums and the way the kick sits, I hear the snare choice, the swings, the shuffles, the bells, the key of the sample or artist. So when I’m spinning and I drop Cassie’s “Kiss Me,” an alarm in my brain immediately goes off like “You Know All These Elements From Another Song!” I’ll usually be able to hum the melody before figuring out what it is, but when I cue up “T-Shirt” by Destiny’s Child in the headphones, and it’s the same BPM, and fits perfectly, that’s where that weird tick in my over-analytical personality lends itself to this craft.
Ideal crowd vibe is…
A place I’m trusted. A place I can start with Anderson Paak. or Kaytranada, take it through Earth Wind and Fire, to Kanye and Drake, then bridge in to some dancehall and afro beats, circle back for some Puff and Mase, and end up in gritty third coast music. I just like to have a good time when I’m spinning and know that my audience is cultured and open to different genres.
There’s so much good music out there that being pigeon-holed to the “bottle service club” format can be dispiriting.
You’re also big into design, and went to Parsons and FIDM. Tell us about that and what we can expect from you in the future.
I did, I love that you know that. In the future I hope to grow a couple more arms to be able to take on more projects, namely in that field, lol. As mentioned before I’m always dreaming up new projects, new aspirations, and they tend to get more and more lofty. Becoming a more efficient juggler is the challenge right now, and I don’t want to give away too much before I’m moving towards the completion of some of these projects.
But, I will say part of what’s to come will definitely be exercising that education in a grander way than mixtape covers, and basic merch. 🙂
Tell us about the passport/sneaker photo theme that you always post.
Ah, “On The Way.” The ‘OTW’ posts are me pre-branding a series that’s to come. I haven’t made any mention of it yet, but getting people used to seeing that over and over, familiarizing them with the name, and associating it with me traveling will make more sense soon. And it’s a fun way to nod my sneaker loving followers, and show love to the brands I have relationships with. Three birds, one stone.
What brings you back to your center when you’re feeling lost?
My M’s — meditation, mixing, mom and dad. I should meditate every day, it makes me a better person, but we all find ways to avoid doing what’s best for ourselves. When I’m really getting crazy, stressed, angry, frustrated, meditation clears all that poison out. I just gotta sit down, close my eyes and face the issue head on. (Easier said than done most times).
Mixing, on the contrary, is my escape. I can sit on the decks for hours and hours, never getting up to pee, or eat, I don’t check my phone, it’s like the earth melts away and I’m just downtherabbithole of my right brain. That’s a good one after meditation but can also lend itself to me avoiding issues I don’t wanna face.
Lastly, mom and dad are my best friends. I’m a super loner, and 95% of the time that’s what I prefer, but when i need a little light, a battery recharge, a therapist to vent to, I FaceTime my folks.
Who or what motivates you the most?
Right now, success. I’m very competitive, winning has always been particularly important to me. I’ve not ever had much of a draw to normal things like relationships, marriage or starting a family, It’s always been legacy and lifestyle freedom for me. I want to build something that outlives me, and solidify myself as a key player during my time here. Everything else comes after that.
Of course you want someone to share it with after you’ve built it, someone to pass it down to when you die, but until construction is further along my interest is a bit preoccupied.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Wes Anderson. Sean Combs. Tanya & Zhenya Posternak. Jonathan Ive. Jonas Lindström. Mario Testino. David LaChapelle. Anthony Bourdain. Kanye West. Pharrell Williams. Beyonce. Calvin Harris. Miroslava Duma. Mark Cuban. Phillippe Starck. Dieter Rams. Mike Carson. Virgil Abloh. The Little Homies. Kaytranada. Fucci Farren. Law Roach. Chrissy Teigen. Chiara Ferragni. Ninteen85. Ryan Michael Kelly.
I could go on and on, there are so many genius level talents and business tycoons I would leap at the chance to work with and learn from.
Main Stage Coachella.
What’s your favorite performance look you’ve ever worn?
Mmm.. Maybe my ‘second DJ b-day b-day” moment. It wasn’t that deep but I wore a blue ombre bobbed wig, and these big round wild fox glasses. I looked like what I imagine “Tragic Kingdom” Gwen Stefani and Kurt Cobain circa 1993’s “Love Child” would look like.
I had a lot of fun that day, that’s what makes the look memorable.
Headphones of choice?
Bose QC35 noise-canceling headphones for the plane. Sony MDR-7506 studio headphones for recording and editing at home. Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones for the gym. Apple ear pods for the back seat Uber conference calls. And the rose gold Monster over-ear headphones for the live performance look.
Favorite summer song (past or present)?
Let’s go with “Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald.
LA or NYC?
LA, all day.
You’re definitely a sneakerhead. Favorite pair of sneakers?
There’s definitely more of a top five that a single pair, but the Bo Jackson “Auburn” Air Trainers are up there.