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Mija Taps Into The Unparalleled Joy Of Happy Hardcore

Embrace the unrelenting optimism of the producer’s latest mix

Mija laughs at genre boundaries. Performing at the Detroit Movement festival earlier this year, the 24-year-old Los Angeles–based producer pulled a 180 on any fans who had come to expect the kind of high-energy sets that are her norm. Instead, Mija — who has put out a number of songs through Skrillex’s OWSLA label and created one of the better remixes of DJ Snake’s hit single “Middle” — performed a straight techno and house set that couldn’t have been further from those big-tent, festival-headlining acts. Her Movement set included tracks from 1980s Chicago house legend Frankie Knuckles, contemporary Norwegian great Todd Terje, and even a Soulwax remix of Tame Impala’s “Let It Happen.” These choices, along with several deeper tech-house selections, aren’t within the normal rotation for Mija’s sets, which typically skew to the more mainstream edges of EDM. But her surprise at Movement effectively displayed the range of styles she can bounce between with ease.

This month, Mija backflipped over her fans once again, releasing a SoundCloud mix made up exclusively of happy hardcore music. The overly caffeinated European dance music genre got its start in the 1990s as the most saccharine splinter shaken out of house and techno. The influence of the genre’s pitched-up vocals and unrelentingly high BPMs can be found in the mid-2000s hits of Crazy Frog and, more recently, the quirky British label PC Music, but the style never fully crossed over into the American mainstream. It fits perfectly within Mija’s current taste, though. Once you’ve heard this mix, the happy hardcore influence in her recent single “Better” becomes clear. On SoundCloud, Mija offered a little note explaining the mix: “inspired by my raver days in phoenix AZ circa 2007.” For her, maybe it was nothing more than a nostalgic trip down raves past. For the rest of us, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the interests of an eclectic DJ who’s just getting started.