Just before 2:30 a.m. on May 26, Maya Jane Coles rolled out of a car in front of SRB’s in Brooklyn, N.Y. She must have come straight from her set at the Beekman Beach Club in Manhattan, ready to play b2b DJ sets with herself—within 15 minutes she had assumed control of SRB’s booth. That’s the life of a globetrotting U.K. DJ: club-hopping behind decks across cities around the world, the picture of neon-hair pixie cool with fingers on the faders.
Deep house was the rule of the night, the kind that doesn’t sound so much like a selection of individual tunes as much as a breathless stream of undulating and shifting noises. The set was more like one long song or sustained thought compressed through different moods: grubby synth croaks followed by a beat drop and a rap lyric, or perhaps a less perceptible shift between basslines.
Maya Jane DJs with a little smile and a dance that mostly involves shaking a leg to the beat and raising an arm to respond to peaks in the crowd’s response to her DJ tricks. If she builds a little ramp of vacuum-like synth and drops the bass, the crowd follows her. One minute they all have their arms up, hoisting girls onto outstretched hands like beach balls at a Matt And Kim show, and the next they are all down low, dancing to the ground.
She’s got good reason to smirk a little at her crowd. Maya Jane is a natural at directing her audience, and they love her for it. They chant her name, they crush beer cans on the dance floor and climb up onstage to feel themselves and the air patterns stirred up by the huge kicks until security drags them back down, still thrusting and wriggling.