DJing is a special skill that can often go overlooked.
A sonic awareness is needed to figure out which songs have a good transition between one another, and a good taste in music is also key.
Since 2014, Providence resident Abby Duren has been honing this skill while gaining a reputation as one of the top DJs in New England. She’s done gigs all over the region at some major venues, clubs and casinos.
For the past couple of months, Duren has been kicking out the jams at Revival Brewing Co. on 505 Atwood Ave. in Cranston on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
We recently had a talk about what made her want to pursue her chosen craft, music preferences, being versatile, digital versus vinyl and the other places where she performs.
ROB DUGUAY: What was the moment that made you want to pursue a DJ career?
ABBY DUREN: I used to live in New York City and I was a promoter for a few nightclubs there. I had played music before in high school and whatnot. I wanted to make music at first, so I went to college for music production and sound design. Then people were telling me that I could make a good living as a DJ because there aren’t that many female DJs out there, so I became interested in it from working in nightclubs and I decided to pursue it.
RD: Do you have a specific kind of music that you prefer to spin?
AD: I do a lot of throwback hip-hop nights, so I’m pretty used to spinning that kind of stuff. If I’m at a larger venue, then I’ll play some EDM and that’s also a good time. I really can’t say, it usually depends on the room I’m in.
RD: It’s good to be versatile to cater to your audience.
RD: Are there any major differences in what you do on Friday nights at Revival versus what you do there during brunch on Sunday?
AD: Not really. Sundays are pretty busy there and the crowd is usually similar between the two, so I spin a mix of old school hip-hop and Top 40, dancey kind of stuff.
RD: The art of DJing has become fairly complex over the years, where you have a lot of people using digital equipment while you also have these traditionalists that set up two turntables and start spinning vinyl. What are your thoughts on this dichotomy?
AD: I feel like digital is the way of the future. I can access a lot more music digitally than I could while carrying crates of records around. I also feel that digital caters more to how it sounds for the listener and it’s a lot easier to beatmatch with digital music. I have nothing against analog, I just know that I couldn’t carry those crates and one turntable weighs a lot, to be honest. Some companies have been merging the two worlds, too, so even if you’re buying a turntable today, 99 percent of the time you’re not playing analog vinyl. It’s a midi time code sending a signal to a laptop which is creating the sounds.
RD: Other than the gigs you have going on at Revival, where are some other spots people can catch you DJing these days?
AD: This weekend, I’m going to be at Royale in Boston on Saturday. I also spin at the Colosseum in Providence, Parlor Bar & Kitchen in Newport and at Shrine at Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut. I’m going to start DJing at Nara on Federal Hill in Providence on the 26th and I’m also going to be at Dockside and the Gas Lamp Grille in Newport soon. I’m at a lot of different places.
To learn more, visit djabbyduren.com.