It’s been 15 long months since we’ve published an issue of DJ Mag North America. Since then, some of us have lost loved ones; many of us have faced financial hardship; pretty much all of us have had our lives turned upside down. Personally, one of the things that’s kept me semi-sane over the past year-plus has been music. But damn,
do I ever miss experiencing that music in the darkness of a sweaty basement or under the sun on a tree-lined field, amid a throng of like-minded party people. Not all of us are quite there yet — especially when it comes to those sweaty basements — but if current trends continue, we’re certainly headed in the right direction.
The past year has also been a period of racial reckoning, and a time when the need to fight inequality and injustice of every sort has come into greater focus than it has in years. To that end, DJ Mag will double our efforts, and double them again, to ensure that all within the dance music community are recognized, are embraced, and are celebrated. All colors, all sexualities, from dance music’s foundational figures to its newest acolytes — if you have an open mind and love of the music, you belong here. That may be a utopian vision of club culture, or any culture for that matter, but it’s worth working toward.
And now, the fun stuff. Our first issue back boasts a cover story on Steven Zhu, better known simply as ZHU, with the LA-based producer filling us in on his new album, the difficulties involved with working on music in a pandemic and the mental toll of isolation — not to mention his fashion line. You’ll also read about the celestial sounds of Öona Dahl, the musical lifeforce of Body & Soul’s Joaquin “Joe” Claussell, Heidi Lawden’s enduring life in clubland, the fantastic music coming from new artist Conclave, and lots more. Welcome back — we’re so happy to be here with you.