Ariel Zetina: The ‘Ransom Note’ Mix


It’s Friday again! Just in case you’ve lost track of the days like us…

While we’re cooped up at home for the foreseeable, we need a little something something to let us know that the weekend has arrived. Luckily Ariel Zetina is here to serve you that reminder this week.

As a DJ – and resident at the legendary Smartbar in her home of Chicago – she’s built a name for herself through her unique and unpredictable cocktail of sounds and styles, moving with real style and fluidity between vocal Chicago house, Belizean punta, techno, heavy synth excursions and so much more.

She channels these inspirations into her productions too, which have taken her to labels like Femme Culture, Majía, Head Charge and Boukan Records, as well as providing remixes for several artists, most recently Copenhagen’s Ave Doors.

So, if you need your spirits raising today, follow Ariel’s words – get your make up on and set a date to dance with yourself tonight, because this really is the only soundtrack you need!

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you

I’m Ariel Zetina – dj, producer, and writer based in Chicago! she/her. I’m a resident deejay at Smartbar in Chicago and on Discwoman’s roster.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

If she went to the club that’s what my sound would sound like.

Where was the mix recorded?

This was recorded in my home studio in Chicago in very early 2021.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

I think you should probably start my putting on makeup and then having a date dancing with yourself.

What should we be wearing?

Anything to be comfortable. Since it’s winter my choice is a hoodie, a beanie, a crop top, leggings, a skort, socks, and slippers.

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

Belizean rainforest but in a way that would be ecologically safe. 4 CDJs!

Which track in the mix is your current favourite?

OMG that’s so hard but I think I have to choose the last track by Doll Face (fka Dorothy Parker)- we have been in touch for years and I really love this new music project.

What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

Wow what a great question!! Honestly that is so hard to say- she is my dear friend so I can’t believe we haven’t done this but Jasmine Infiniti. Jeff Mills at the original Tresor would also be gaggy but I think I would be too much of a fangirl to do that.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

OMG this is so embarrassing but it is basically the same is it was when I started. I am really lucky because ever since I have started deejaying I have had regular gigs at clubs with CDJs so most of my practice has actually been in the club, mostly on nights where I would be playing all night so I would basically practice from like 10-12 before people got to the club. 

I started Deejaying on some random free software Mixxx and now mostly use VirtualDJ to practice and record. In an ideal world I usually record on CDJs at Smartbar but during the pandemic I have gotten really used to working on home with just Virtual DJ on my laptop, and a $10 USB audio interface so that I can headphone cue. My roommate also has vinyl set up at our home, which I’m also really grateful for. Manifesting that I own CDJs and also fix my controller that has been broken for four years. But here to say anyone should be able to mix on anything. Lots of people like to come for me for not owning a set up, but frankly it is classist.

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

The track you end with I think. But I think they’re equally important! I usually always choose the song I’m going to start with in a mix but not usually the last thought. But when I select it in my mix, I usually get the feeling that it is the last track.

What were the first and last records you bought?

The first record I bought: honestly I could not tell you the first one I bought, probably some random disco house $2 bin gramophone record – the first record I owned though is Laurie Anderson’s Big Science which my friend gave me as a present when I was 20!

The last record I bought was Jasmine Infiniti’s ‘Bitch Slap’! And also my roommate gave me Ana Roxanne’s ‘~’ EP.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

Gin champagne cocktail.

If it was an animal what would it be?

Oh I guess I already answered > that Lisa Frank Unicorn at the club

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

This record that I love but I have literally never played out – Polka Electronic Death Country

Upcoming in the world of …

I have a mixtape being released with Local Action in January!

Lyra Pramuk – Gossip
Akiko Haruna – Ripheus Alley
Marcela Mangabeira – Poker Face (Lounge Mix)
Jasmine Infiniti – Flight to O’Hare
Club Drippy – Made of Silk
Teakup – Lose My Mind
Jayda G – Are U Down
Chrissy & Hawley – Photobooth
Nitzer Ebb – Getting Closer (Black Strobe Moderne Remix)
Lula & Peter Rauhofer – The Dj’s List
Duke Dumont – Slow Dance
Basement Jaxx – Good Luck ft. Lisa Kekaula (Butch Drum Tool)
Cazwell – Ice Cream Truck (a capella)
Letres2K – Hardbody Signatures VIP
Him Hum – Strut (Sequence 1)
Placebo – Blue September
DJ Tray – Nobody’s Perfect
CHICKS ON SPEED – Glamour Girl
Animal Collective – Brother Sport
e91 – Malacis
Cherie Lily – Drip Drop (@Albyy_Nj WDMG Remix)
Lena Raine – Trance State (Anastasia Kristensen Remix)
Doll Face ft. Cousin – Bel Air

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