Wednesday, April 9 — On Thursday, electronic dance music DJ Sandra Collins will take the stage at the Loft for a free show, kicking off the 4th Annual Capital City Film Festival. Collins is the featured performer in the documentary, “Girl,” directed by Kandeyce Collins. The film will have its North American premiere at the festival earlier that evening.
Collins answered some questions by email from a recent gig in Cancun. She lives in Los Angeles.
Both of your parents were entertainers. Did that inform your career?
I lost both of my parents at a young age. I didn't think there was much of an influence, (but) I've recently changed my view considering.
My father was more in the industry than my mother but he passed when I was 5. However as there have been many synchronicities pop up. I discovered that he performed on at least one of the same stages as me: Avalon Hollywood, which used to be the Palace. He and Milton Berle did many shows there. And then recently I found a letter of his from his agency regarding a booking; it was from William Morris Agency. I was with the same agency.
My mother supported my interest in music. She got me my first keyboard. She died at the beginning of my career but her beauty & sense of humor made a huge impression on me as a human and it's definitely in the song.
You're called the "Queen of Trance," but are you planning to move outside of trance or explore it for everything it can be?
I was into German trance in the ‘90s and that's basically where the name came from (but) I haven't played trance in a long time. My sound is undefined … The only consistency is the undertones of melancholia. That’s where my heart is. I love all music though.
How was your experience working with Kandeyce?
A lot of fun. She's like a sister, we have our moments but this film has kept us pretty close. I think her and I share some similar pain somewhere. Funny I've never asked or gotten this deep with her. Guess we all know what the next film will be about.
It doesn't seem like this was a conventional documentary in any sense. What did Kandeyce get right about the world of DJing and what did she get wrong?
If its not conventional, it’s because the women in this film are hardly conventional. I like that about the film. I've seen many conventional documentaries, (but) on most days I prefer unconventional. Kandeyce approached us all to get the story. What she got was only a piece.
Do you think a documentary on female DJs is necessary or do you think it further pigeonholes them as "different"?
Honestly, I think both sides of that can be true. I think it could pigeonhole female DJs. At the same time there are people out there interested in the story. I've thought about this aspect for a long time. I never thought of my gender being an issue, so perhaps it wasn't. At the same time some people genuinely wanted to know the story. I've tried to stop judging the whole thing and appreciate it for what it is. Some people want to know the story and I don't mind they watch.
Have you ever been to the Lansing area before?
I've never been to Lansing but super excited to be visiting a new place in the U.S. I believe I'm driving in from Detroit so I’ll get to see a bit. I have a show the next day so it'll be a short trip unfortunately.
Any plans on following "Girl" up with another doc or some kind of narrative film?
I'm working on another film starting next week actually. A pretty interesting one about how music/performing can help one overcome social anxiety. I'm excited about it.
Capital City Film Festival opening night event
11 p.m. Thursday, April 10
414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing