Andrea Silkey is obsessed with the quality of her music mixes.
Every week, the 31-year-old DJ (who's also know as Sonique des Fleurs) spends several hours in front of her computer hunting through digital music sites like beatport, djdownload, and trackitdown, sampling more than 500 MP3s of techno, house, and trance, in a "constant quest for the jam tracks."
She'll snatch up the best songs to blast out of her computer's speakers, or burn mixes to play in her car or at her office job ("I'm one of the few DJs who doesn't carry an iPod"). Her growing CD wallet contains more than 150 discs with a track count "easily into the thousands."
Silkey's been developing her DJ skills since stepping behind the mixers in 1999. She was a regular at danceterias like The Works in Scottsdale in the mid- to late '90s, but after getting some schooling from DJ friends Substation and Shane Silkey (her future husband), Andrea decided to work things on the other side of the decks.
"They showed me the ropes," Silkey says. "They took me on a trip to Swell Records, and that was it. I was hooked. They created a monster."
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A hardcore gourmandizer of electronic dance music, Silkey goes online to find the "hottest, freshest tracks that people haven't already heard and gotten tired of." Ultimately, the myriad MP3s serve as ingredients in creating sumptuous sonic stews of beats and bumps for airplay during her weekly Friday night gig, "A Midnight Affair," on Energy Radio 92.7/101.1-FM, or during spin sessions at local nightclubs and raves around the Valley. (For more information, visit www.myspace.com/djsonique.)
Silkey's commitment to quality and boffo beat-mixing ability has made her one of the premier she-jays in town. She's worked bygone Tempe DJ haven Club Freedom, as well as joints like Myst, Sky Lounge, and Club DWNTWN. Silkey has also provided support for such marquee-level turntablism talent as DJ BK and L.A.'s Nemesis. Raves and dance parties like Acid Reign VII, Unity 2006, and Philter have seen her put on clinics on how to engage and energize an audience, broadcasting the harder flavors of techno and house, and getting partygoers to do their dance floor thing. Her skills at finding the right song to fit the mood have been key over the years.
"As a DJ you want to keep the energy going," Silkey says. "You drop a choice track and the crowd goes nuts, and it feeds you, and builds from there."