Don’t talk to Edgeslayer about boundaries.
Admittedly, she takes her name from follicular edges and the metaphorical act of blowing folks away. But her nom de deck could just as easily refer to the way that the visual artist, producer and DJ terminates the lines between the worlds she works in, using all of her skills to create something interesting and new.
The Alexandria native moved to New Orleans on the advice of her sister nearly five years ago, who said that people would understand her in the city.
“My family had kind of always wanted me to move here,” she said. “One of my sister’s dying wishes was that I move to New Orleans. She was like ‘Everybody will get you and you’re going to love it.’ I just didn’t believe it until I got here.”
Edge came to town with the intention of recording an EP and then heading out to the other L.A. She had been living in St. Louis with her family for nearly a decade when a series of unfortunate events sent her on the path toward her current home.
“St. Louis had a very small arts scene where everyone was supportive of you and what you wanted to do,” Edge said. “Then Mike Brown happened and everything kind of turned on itself. People you never knew were racist were all of the sudden saying this crazy racist stuff like ‘this child deserved to die’… I no longer felt comfortable in my home.”
Edge said that the events of Ferguson hung over the city like a pall an she eventually grew weary.
“Everything you talked about was racism and I just got tired of it,” she said. “I was tired of educating white people about racism who then never changed.”
She set her sights on Los Angeles with a layover in the Crescent City. But when she stopped here, she realized that her sister was right about the vibe of New Orleans.
“There’s more black people who have access to artistic lives,” she said. “The community is a little more established and black art is more respected than it is in St. Louis or throughout the Midwest.”
Luckily for Edgeslayer and the fans of her unique blend of anime tropes, bounce beats and overpowering noise elements, the DJ and artist found a group of like-minded individuals as agnostic about the idea of what a DJ should be as she is. Edge has enough facets to her art and her music that you’re as likely to catch her closing out a punk show at Banks St. Bar as you are to find her DJing a warehouse rave in the upper 9th Ward. And through it all, whether she’s playing a word-of-mouth-fueled party or an Ace Hotel-sponsored bash, Edgeslayer is using her platform to blur lines and explore contradictions.
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When the venue can accommodate it, Edge brings in aspects of her visual art into the space, regularly exploring unseen sides of black trans femininity or the contradictory ways that rituals typecast as feminine can also be tough and hard.
“All of [my art] centers around femininity, black femininity, powerful images while also exploring vulnerability. That’s an image of black women that’s not regularly seen,” she said. “We’re either seen as very strong or like dark. While those are tropes of black women, I am also a person who gets sad and I am broken and there are things that I have lost.”
That boundary-pushing aspect also applies to the sets that Edgeslayer plays when she’s booked to DJ.
“I’m kind of an open platform. It can be a bit of a mix. It depends,” she said. “I really love early 2000s bops and mixing them with more modern vogue and bounce beats. I always play bounce. I always play like the hard, crashy vogue beats and I mix live a lot, too.”
Ultimately, you go to an Edgeslayer show because you trust her taste. And you’re often rewarded with something you won’t hear anywhere else.
“Sometimes I play metal that I’ve mixed with bounce. Other times I play straight-up techno or New Jersey club,” she said. “I have such a distinct sound. You are booking me for what I bring to the table.”
Catch Edgeslayer’s unique mix during her annual Decadence party at the Ace Hotel. If you want to follow Edge down the rabbit hole, take a listen to her original music where she inhibits the form of a demon from Sailor Moon‘s Negaverse as a metaphor for coping with mental illness (It’s as mind-blowing as it sounds). For more of our DJ series, head here.