Los Angeles’ Sonya Broner, aka Level Up, began life as a DJ after graduating high school and saving up to purchase all of the required equipment, practicing for hours in her bedroom.
“When I moved to New York City for college, I started training as a hip-hop DJ with turntablist Rob Swift four days a week,” she says. “He taught me all the fundamentals of turntablism and its history, from perfecting scratching, beat juggling, and everything in between. I started playing hip-hop clubs to strengthen my battle techniques while also balancing a full course load at school. Eventually, I tried my hand playing EDM shows. The skills I learned through turntablism helped me as an electronic music DJ, and I paved a road for myself in the city’s dubstep scene. I fell in love with producing not long after and spent hours self-teaching daily, absorbing everything I could. Being able to play and share my own music with the world has been beyond gratifying.”
Broner tells us that her sound has evolved from deep dubstep to something a lot heavier. She’s been involved in the L.A. electronic scene for six years now and certainly feels at home here.
“It’s fascinating to watch it grow and evolve,” she says. “Something I admire so much about the L.A. crowd is that there could be an event in someone’s basement with 30 people or a major festival with thousands of attendees and you’ll have the same level of passion put into both. The energy at any L.A. show is without a doubt through the roof. It’s also inspiring to watch the progression of artists who played small rooms now headlining huge venues and festivals. The scene just does a great job bringing all genres to the area, giving artists a platform to share their music, and continues to inspire future talent.”
July 3 saw the the release of her bass-heavy track “Bedtime Stories” — she’s been using the lockdown to work on and release new music.
“I’ve also spent most of my time taking care of my puppy, Ellie, which has been a tiresome but rewarding experience to say the least,” she says. “She is also what gets me out of bed every morning. Lockdown has taught me balance and how to work on my goals while also taking each day at a time with the people I love. It’s been interesting to see the community adapt to such a big change with online streaming and finding new ways to share art with the world.”
With a new EP, Scared of the Dark, forthcoming, these are both scary and exciting times for Level Up.