Stacy Miller, Director of EntryPointDC, recently sat down with Michal Bilick aka DJ M Dot, the founder of Community Mixtape, to discuss how she got started teaching others about musical storytelling and her upcoming DJ workshop at the Edlavitch DCJCC. Mark your calendars for Sunday, October 1 for Sip & Spin in the Sukkah, a DIY (do it yourself) afternoon where you can spin your own track, collaborate on a mixtape, craft harvest cocktails, and enjoy chill beats. Limited spots are available and early bird tickets are open for GatherDC readers!
Stacy: What is Community Mixtape and why did you start this program?
Michal: Community Mixtape (CM) is an opportunity to build community through music. As human beings, we draw a lot of lines of separation – but what about all the things that connect us? Music can illustrate the universality of experiences or emotions. My goal in developing CM was to bring sharing music with people to a new level, to create a way that people can come together across differences, and take part in a shared, empathic moment.
Stacy: How is your DJ workshop for Sip & Spin in the Sukkah related to Sukkot?
Michal: For each CM session, a theme is chosen. Each participant contributes one song related to that theme. I chose the theme of “home” for this Sukkot edition of CM because Sukkot is a holiday that celebrates shelter while acknowledging the impermanence of the structures we create and call home.
In DC, we know this theme well. I’ve been in the District for twelve years and have seen many friends come and go, neighborhoods undergo dramatic changes, and apartments come to the end of their lease. This doesn’t make DC any less home to me. Home is the love and care you take in your physical space and the people that inhabit it, the rituals you build in your home and the guests you invite in. I recently DJ’d a wedding where the couple chose, as their first dance, “To Build a Home” by the Cinematic Orchestra; this was their way of inspiring hope in the home they dream about building together. There are tons of songs about home, or songs that have nothing to do with the concept of a home but make you feel at home. I encourage you to get creative with this theme!
Stacy: How did you come up with your DJ name?
Michal: I was named M Dot by a fellow DJ. One of the first public sets I ever DJ’d was at an open mic in New Jersey, and they were calling me up and could not pronounce my name – so gave me that as a nickname and it just stuck.
Stacy: What is your favorite song to remix or spin?
Michal: I really like Gospel house/R&B. One of my favorite songs to play is Candi Stanton, You Got the Love. That song reminds me that there’s something bigger than myself and that struggle is a part of life.
Stacy: Any advice for new DJs?
Michal: Dig deep! I think about music as moving backwards. While you definitely need to stay current, there is so much to learn from the past. It’s a never-ending quest!
Michal Bilik is the founder of Community Mixtape, an opportunity for collaboration, friendship-building, and creativity through music and the art of DJing. Learn more about DJ M Dot.