Viva Chile: Thursday, September 30th at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

DJ Keili: Not your typical 17 year old

August 9, 2010 Posted by Viva Chile
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At 17, DJ Keili is the youngest DJ at WFMU. If that doesn’t impress you then get off your high horse. She’s interviewed the likes of Katheen Hana and AdRock and will be the DJ at Viva Chile. This half Chilean half Irish budding talent promises to surprise you with her eclectic array of music and may leave you saying WTF – in a good way.

So, you've been a DJ at WFMU for how long now?
I've been a DJ at WFMU for two years now - since I was 15 years old. I am the youngest DJ in the history of the station, which has been around for fifty years.

READ MORE Woah, 15! How did you decide at that age that you wanted to be a DJ?
Well, I never set out to be a DJ. I was raised on WFMU. I grew up to be a big fan of Greasy Kid Stuff when I was 7,8,9 to now. I was even interviewed by Belinda and Hova when I was 8 or 9. Then I started going to all ages shows when I was about 14 years old. I was so excited about this community of artists I had found, who were sharing and supporting one another that I wanted the world to know. WFMU used to have an hour every Saturday morning when a listener could share music. I sent the program director at WFMU an email, asking to do a listener hour and I got one. I did the listener hour, then I did an audition tape, then I got a show! It was just luck. It was never a plan.

My parents always said to me that if you show up for life and you are willing to work, things will happen. So it's not as if I set out with a goal. It's just that when the opportunity presented itself, I was ready and available to work hard. That's just a good rule for anything in life.

Sounds like you have pretty cool parents. Did they have any influence on the kind of music you listen to now?

Yeah, totally! I mean,we are a family of artists. My mom is a glass smith and metal smith. My dad is a writer. My sister is a singer and comedic actor. My little brother is crazy (laughs). So this is how the process goes when I make my playlist for my shows:
our computer is in the center of the house - the room where everyone hangs out. So I'll be listening to a song, both for FCC content and to see how it flows with everything else I want to play. One of my parents will hear the song and go, "What is that? It sounds exactly like (insert name of band here)." Then they will find the song or band they were referring to, play it for me and give me a history lesson. It's like my family's version of the parent lecture. So I'm constantly in this place of finding new stuff and then being schooled by my parents on why it's not really new. And then along came 8bit music. mwahahhaa!

Plus also, my mom was a total Riot Grrl post punk killer mom. And my dad has thousands of records and a music library that spans from the 1920s until today. So I was exposed to so many different types of awesome music.

Riot Grrl?! Your mom must have been thrilled when Kathleen Hanna came onto your show…
Yeah, she was. But not as thrilled as I WAS! I think my mom was more thrilled about Adam Horovitz. But they are so down to earth, polite and normal. It was really like sitting there talking to friends. The minute we hugged and sat down to talk, it was like I completely forgot I was sitting there with royalty. My mom felt the same way. They're just chill and normal. I didn't even ask for autographs or pictures with them. I felt like it was such a great experience and so chill that to turn it into a photo op would just ruin the moment. It's similar to the way it is with my husband, Thom Yorke. It's just so natural to sit on the couch together and watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey - because that's what married couples do, ya know? (laughs)

Excuse me, but that boy is mine

That's a really inappropriate thing to say about my husband, miss thang!

For real though, I'm honored to have you play and be a part of something that is near and dear to both of us. It's gonna get crazy!! What can people expect to hear from you when they come to Viva Chile in September?
I can't wait either. I was emotionally devastated after the earthquake. We couldn't get through to family that live in Valparaiso - all the lines were down or clogged with calls. My Tio Pablo was visiting in Santiago (he lives in Sweden) at the time and I was so worried about whether he was OK. And all I wanted to do was help. I'm so honored to have the opportunity to put the thing I love to do into action to help Viva Chile Project. Viva Chile!

They can expect the unexpected and the expected. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true. One minute they'll be like, "I knew it." and the next they'll be like, "WHAT? She segued Miley Cyrus into Etta James into Lightening Bolt??? And it worked?! That chick is craaazy!"

Well, I'm curious and excited to see how that goes...can't wait to have you DJ at VIva Chile!

Check out her latest Beastin' the Airwaves show.

Photos provided by Patrick Ferguson

Interview edited by Natalia Moena