Watching Soothslayer do a circle headbang is a sight to behold. She looks like she’s possessed, whipping around and pogoing, with sparks shooting out of her electric blue hair. It has taken a while for the drum ’n’ bass DJ and up-and-coming producer, who when she’s not on a flyer goes by Caroline Miller, to be able to let loose like this. Until not too long ago, much of her time behind the decks was with her head down, avoiding eye contact.
“Now interacting with the crowd is my favorite part,” she says, sitting in her cozy Studio City home + studio apartment, her darkly rimmed eyes sparkling. She re-enacts her recent DJ gig at EDC China on the Basspod Stage, hosted by Bassrush, Insomniac’s bass brand, for which she is a resident. She pumps her fist and points at the crowd she sees in her mind’s eye, making her scariest bass face.
“In China I was really getting into it. Just being wacky got them involved,” she continues. “Getting them excited is what makes me excited. DJ Nightstalker taught me how to do that.”
“Girl power is strong with her,” says Nightstalker, her fellow Bassrush resident DJ with whom she went back-to-back at this year’s EDC Las Vegas. “When we walk around festivals, young women especially are drawn to her. There is a connection there. They feel there is someone like them up there. And there is love from both sides. Soothslayer is down to hang out. She’s a head-banging witch.”
Soothslayer’s ties with Insomniac are strong. Her two singles, the warm dance-floor liquid number “Elixer,” with Dino, and the harder-edged banger “Nova,” with Follow the Sun, are both released on Insomniac Records. She spends a lot of daylight hours in the Insomniac offices editing video. But she doesn’t take any of her opportunities for the last 10 years in Los Angeles for granted.
“If you’re going to get the bigger gigs, you can’t suck,” the North Carolina native says. “It’s got to be because you’re doing something right. It’s really hard to get a gig. You always have to prove yourself. I’ve been doing this for years. I go to shows all the time. It doesn’t mean anything. I started in the smaller clubs. I always left a gig with five more in the bag. But, in my head, nothing I ever do is good enough. When I get my mind set on something I want to do, I obsess over it and won’t stop until it is at the level of what I want it to be.”
Like most drum ’n’ bass artists, Soothslayer name-checks the king of the genre, Andy C., citing both his DJ skills and his selections as her aspirations. She goes beyond drum ’n’ bass, giving Trent Reznor as an example of how she would like her production to be crafted. To get there, she spends months on a tune, even going so far as replacing all the drums after it has already been mastered.
“Noisia, Shimon, Benny L, Serum, you can always tell their tunes because they have their one element, but it’s used in a different way in each song,” she rattles off some top drum ’n’ bass producers.
“I’m trying to get there,” she says. “To the point where, when you hear a song I produced, you know it’s mine.”