DJ Anit spinning at Crazybox, where she is the resident DJ Thursday through Saturday. Photo by Miya Yamaoka.
It would be difficult to picture DJ Anit, also known by her given name Tina Viernes, in any other occupation than a DJ. Naturally filled with a contagious energy, it’s hard not to smile upon meeting her. That’s the kind of energy that one person needs to keep a whole club full of partygoers moving. And if you know Tina’s first name, it doesn’t take long to figure out the origins of her DJ moniker. (It’s “Tina” spelled backwards for those of you who still can’t figure it out.)
Tina’s passion is her work. She’s ambitious to want to obtain a Las Vegas DJ residency one day, but she doesn’t seem coldly calculating in fulfilling her career goals. It’s more like her genuine love for music and DJ-ing drives her toward a lifestyle that would naturally lead into something bigger and better.
At only 24 years old, Tina is already a veteran DJ, having begun scratching vinyl at age 14, thanks to friends DJ Yogurt, Revise and Compose, among other locally big-name DJs. “I was just messing with turntables, and I ended up liking it,” Tina says, modestly. Her mother also was pivotal in her development as a DJ, as she was the one who bought Tina her first set of turntables. “My mom is awesome,” she says with – what else? – a smile. Tina also credits DJ collectives Nocturnal Sound Krew and Architechs for being supportive and welcoming of her. Of note is the fact that when she does work with Architechs, Tina is the only female DJ. As for her equipment, Tina switched from vinyl to Serato a few years ago, with hopes of learning Ableton soon.
Starting off as largely a hip-hop DJ, it was spinning internationally in places such as Singapore and the Philippines that expanded Tina’s taste and repertoire. “It’s not always about hip-hop … internationally it’s about house and electro. I didn’t want to be this one type of genre,” she says. Since then, Tina has been branching out, adding R&B and hype music to her DJ vault, making her own mash-ups and remixes. Afrojack, A-Trak, Cut Copy and Diplo are among her favorites artists now, but Tina is open to all kinds of music, swapping with friends and obtaining her own musical finds daily. “I collect music every day. I just want to keep my music up to date. I don’t want my sets to be boring and redundant,” says the diligent DJ.
While at the University of San Francisco from 2004–2008 as a management major, Tina obtained regular gigs at venues such as Poleng Lounge, Club Six and Skylark, all the while DJ-ing at The W Hotel whenever visiting home in Honolulu. Tina is not sure if the venues knew she was underage at the time, but it’s clear her skill surpassed any thought of how young she was. For someone who instantly builds a great rapport with the audience, who would have cared? “I react toward the crowd, I feed off the crowd. I’ll freaking dance with the crowd,” she says. With this spontaneity comes the fact that Tina never puts together a set before a gig. “I go by the vibe and the sound,” she says of her in-the-moment decisions that seem to always work (and work it).
A residency at The Waikiki EDITION’s Crazybox from Thursdays through Saturdays affords Tina the full-time DJ lifestyle – and she’s loving it. “I play different genres at Crazybox. What you hear at Crazybox isn’t like a regular nightclub. It’s just awesome,” she says. People can also hear Tina’s mixes on Da Bomb 102.7 FM on Saturday nights, and if that isn’t enough for you, look forward to a couple of mixtapes DJ Anit plans to put out this year.
To keep up with DJ Anit, follow her on Twitter @anit808.