Margot : So I play classical violin.
Mia : I’m a DJ.
Margot : And we are The Dolls. We’re from New York City. Well…I grew up in Florida and Mia grew up in Northern California. But we’ve both been here for so many years.
Mia : We met at a club in the East Village five years ago. Both playing the same show. It was Ella, on First and First when it was on. It’s something else now.
Margot : You go down into a little parlor, almost…Yeah I was doing a solo show, and she was doing a solo DJ set.
Mia : It was not really a show, it was a club night, really. We were both just out clubbing. I was like, you want to come over?
Margot : And I happened to live only blocks away. We both lived in the East Village. I [still] do.
Mia : The first time she came over we just went through my record collection and put different records on, because we thought it would be really cool to play together, but we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do. So, we just kind of used that as a way to get to know each other…what parts of songs do you like, and what style of music do you like, what artists or genre or era is it that you’re drawn to…In everything we do, we hear and see completely different things than the person next to us. The way a classically-trained violinist especially is hearing parts of songs, versus someone like me who is a DJ because I was a fan of music and the lyrics are really related but also very different.
Margot : And there wasn’t like a map or a formula sort of laid out for us, so it’s just been, you know, constant experimentation. I think there’s a really nice balance of discipline and spontaneity. And between the two, I think, grows something very free. But also defined. We are constantly with each other and on the road. Even when we get a night off, we go out and explore together. We’re so lucky to be able to travel everywhere.
Mia: Our last suitcase was Guadalajara, Mexico City, L.A., then Venice.
Margot : I think beauty, for us, just feels secondary—but not in a negative way. I think that it comes with the territory. We don’t get on stage without thinking about our outfit first just as we think about the first song we’re going to play, you know? Because it really sets the tone for your night, and it sets the tone for the performance. If I’m going to put something on to walk out the door, I may as well put on whatever’s going to make me feel like my best self. You know?
Mia : I always think of getting dressed for a performance, a night on the town—whatever it is, a coffee shop stop—as a chance to step into a costume or a character. Who you want to be for that night? And it’s a chance to turn a chore into something that is a creative process…And for me, especially as a DJ, I’m not always in the mood I need to be in when I’m leaving the house. You think about when people come to the club, it's on their one night off because they want to dance and they want to forget about their week and how stressful it was, or their kids or their job, or their rent or whatever it is. They’re taking that time out of their life to get dressed to come to that space, and it’s your responsibility as the DJ to have that be that haven for them. And so you can’t go into that environment in a funk, or bored, or tired, or hungover, or whatever it may be, even if you are. So always for me getting dressed is when I’m getting into that character. Like, alright, let’s play dress-up. Tonight we really want to shine—and for that to be very literal. [Laughs]
I always do a strong brow. I’m obsessed with Frida Kahlo, and I don’t know how to do that much other makeup. [Laughs] But also I had a mother who always told me, ‘Never let anyone touch your eyebrows.’ And, ‘You’re not allowed to have plastic surgery,’ so…Also, I always put on highlighter, because I know you can’t mess it up that much. Nars has an amazing highlighter. But my go-to, even for daytime, is a red lip—something like Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red. I think it always is like the quickest, easiest, most glamorous thing you can do.
My hair is almost never down. I do as little coloring to it now as possible—it's so thin and I bleached it for so long that at this point, it looks better without that. I'll add a little balayage to it for lightness, but if I bleached the whole thing again, it would just evaporate. But when I wear it down, I'm thinking about it all the time—wondering if I need to brush it, if it looks weird…So, I think pulling my hair back is just a way for me to be able to enjoy everything else in life and not think about my hair once I leave the house.
Margot : Tonight our friend is doing our hair—we told her, “Make our heads look like disco balls.” I have a lot of restrictions when I play violin—I can't play with a lot of jewelry, for example. In my nature, I like either a really dark, bold eye or a really dark, bold lip. And so I love MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Etcetera, which is very nude, or MAC Lipstick in Film Noir, which is bolder. Liquid eyeliner is my always go-to. The MAC Liquid Eye Liner. And Nars Audacious Mascara. I like to keep things simple but bold at the same time.
—as told to ITG
Mia Moretti and Margot photographed by Tom Newton in New York City on September 12, 2015.