A two-by-four set is pretty much what it sounds like: two DJs playing records at the same time, two mixers, four turntables. DJ Heather Walters knows all about it: “[Mena and I] played this one party two-by-four, and everybody was like, ‘That’s the bomb,’ so we started doing it more. Then people just started booking us together—always.” Walters—who goes by Aizlynn behind the decks—says she and fellow house DJ Mena Franz have chemistry. Sitting outside local nightclub Pala, Mena confidently agrees: “You’ve either got it with someone or you don’t.” And, whether performing a two-by-four set or tagging (as they will be on Saturday), these ladies have it.
“Sometimes [Mena] will be mixing, and I’ll just be throwing in vocals or a capellas or spoken word,” explains Aizlynn, 29. “Or I could be playing just a drum track and she’ll be playing a melodic track. [We try] to feed off each other…to keep it simple but bangin’.” The women—who both have close to a decade of experience on rave and club circuits—met by chance when Aizlynn took over Mena’s weekly spot at Ohm while Mena was living in Hawaii. Once Mena moved back, the two quickly became good friends and starting playing music together.
But while they’ve got chemistry as a duo, Mena and Aizlynn can also make a room move with solo styles that are as distinctive as they are compatible. “I would definitely say that everything’s got a soul,” says Mena, 25, of her taste in house music. Alternately, Aizlynn says, “I like more pumpin,’ bangin,’ but really deep, smooth bass lines. I like it to go all over the place.” And while—as both explain—DJs rely on dancers, they both feel that their art goes deeper than just getting crowds to move. Aizlynn, a masseuse-in-training from Tennessee, continues, “I like a lot of spoken word. I [try] to inspire people to look deeper within themselves and forget about all the dumb, superficial shit that doesn’t matter…but at the same time, I like to drop super-sexy, carnal material, too.”
As it started to rain outside Pala before another tagging set, Mena expanded on Aizlynn’s words: “[House] is like another sense. There’s just something about it. You feel it or you don’t—and you know when you feel it.” And live, the girls feel it together; they thrive on each other’s energy, switching back and forth on the decks seamlessly. In fact, their connection was striking even as they chatted casually outside the club. “I’ll never turn down playing with Mena,” Aizlynn says. “But I definitely like to play by myself sometimes. You can take it on a journey with no breaks. It’s a journey when I play with her, too, but I’m only in control of half of it.”
Published March 2007.