It's about one in the afternoon in Los Angeles as the sun streams through Yvonne Black's windows, glinting in the highlights of her long, golden hair. The music is bumping and she's still in her PJs. "Why? Because I can!" she says, laughing. As one half of the electro-duo, Bitter Persona, Black has made a name and a career for herself by following her passion and smashing through stereotypes in a male dominated music scene. Whether she's producing alongside JC Dakota, her partner in crime, or single-handedly penning the lyrics she uses to create the dark, soulful and sultry vocals that wind through the duo's music, in the four short years since first performing, the Ontario, Canada-born Czech beauty has found her calling. "I was hooked!" she proclaims.
In many ways the musical backbone of Bitter Persona,JC Dakota, aka Joseph Christopher, has been a long time staple of the Los Angeles music and dance scene. Since his inception in the music scene circa 1980, Dakota has grown to be a DJ, producer, renowned remix artist and music-store owner. "I decided to give producing music a try," he says humbly of his origins; an attitude that has kept him grounded in spite of his success. "I guess I just love what I do." After the better part of three decades, Dakota finds himself still at the forefront of an ever-evolving industry as a producer and DJ for Bitter Persona as well as recognizing and developing the talents of the lovely Yvonne Black.
With their combination of talent, experience and passion,Bitter Persona continue to blaze a path in the Southern California music scene, however, location has certainly not been a limiting factor. "My aunt over in Czech called me saying she heard our song "Over You" on the radio over there, which I though was pretty cool," Black relates nonchalantly. Already gaining international momentum, the duo has found themselves in regular rotation on internet and satellite radio, and continue to grace both stages and turntables to world over and their second release, "Do You Know" earned a #14 spot in DJ Times. As the buzz continues to build around their beats, Bitter Persona has every reason to be anything but. With four originals and seven remixes under their belt, Bitter Persona have another five to their credit on Acropolis Recordings, and with their electrifying new EP "Malicious," its follow up "Malicious: The Remixes" and the single "Hard Candy" setting speakers on fire, they are far from finished.
LET'S PRETEND THIS IS SPEED DATING FOR DJs. TELL US WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW. GO!
JC: I grew up in the Los Angeles area and started DJing at the age of 13, then got introduced to music production by a friend of mine in 1990 and I've been at it ever since. What made me get in to music production even more was the day that I heard another DJ friend of mine play one of my records at his club in Hollywood and people were dancing to it, that felt awesome. My family did not approve too much of me being in the music biz 'cause they said I won't make a living out of it. I guess I just love what I do and it does pay.
YB: I'm originally from Ontario Canada, just north of Toronto, but most of my family resides in Brno, Czech Republic. I was the first generation not to be born in Europe, but at least I speak Czech fluently. Ever since I was little, my parents always had electronic music playing. Europeans - go figure. I basically got my start during Junior High when I was on student council and I was in charge of school dances/hiring DJs etc. The local YMCA put on "Much Music" dances, which I always attended. I love dancing!
JC: My early influences were Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Bee Gees, Duran Duran, David Morales, Tears For fears, Berlin, Lime, Tapps, OMD, The Doors and many more. So in 1990 I decided to give producing music a try.
YB: In 2000 I was a big fan of high energy dance music, such as "Castles In The Sky," "Blow My Whistle" and of course "The Launch." (laughs) Always loved dance music and wanted to try DJing, but records intimidated me. I messed around with my friend's turntables and couldn't mix! So I figured when this goes to CDs, I'm in. Then in late 2005 I bought Pioneer 100s and the 300 mixer, which was way easier to learn on. I practiced for six months or so and played my first gig in Redondo Beach at Harbor Drive in August 2006. I was hooked!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME?
YB: We basically sat down and just started naming things off, like Pictionary. I first wanted to use Malicious Me, then JC said Persona and then I said Bitter as a joke. We put the two together and the rest is history.
GIVE US A QUICK RUNDOWN OF BITTER PERSONA'S RAP SHEET.
JC: I've worked/ performed with such artists/DJs as Paul Oakenfold, Starkillers, Peter Black, Donald Glaude, Berlin, Pure Sugar, Morgan Page. We've done shows in Romania, Naked Tour, Avalon Hollywood, Circus, La Sports Arena, WMC Miami, Saturday Night Sessions Miami, Hollywood Palladium, etc. Our second release "Do you Know" made it to #14 in DJ times witch was great to hear. Plus all my productions are being played on a few radio shows on the Internet, including Grooveradio.com and Sirius Satellite Radio as well.
YB: Our second release "Do you Know" made it to #14 in DJ times. I also performed next to Paul Van Dyk at the 2009 WMC in Miami.
YVONNE, YOUR TALENTS GO BEYOND SIMPLY PRODUCING AND SPINNING. HOW HAS THAT INFLUENCED BITTER PERSONA'S MUSIC?
YB: I didn't want to just be a DJ, so I was always writing lyrics. I told JC (who at the time was teaching me proper mixing techniques), that I had a lot of song ideas and that's how our first EP, which featured "Over You" came about. Our present EP, "Malicious" on Acropolis and we just released the second single, "Malicious: The Remixes." Currently we're working on a full album, which will include 11 songs. All songs are produced by JC and myself, with the help of remixers for the releases. All lyrics are sung and written by me.
WHAT DOES THE MAGIC 8 BALL HAVE TO SAY?
JC: We're working on our new album due out July 2010, new "Malicious" single with remixes recently hit beatport.com and iTunes, plus headlining a few events as DJ including Jedi Nights, Massive Love at the fox theater, Miami WMC, releasing a new single "On My Mind" before the album drops, and new residency for both of us as DJs at Suede Lounge in downtown LA inside the Bonaventure Hotel as well as Remedy and Fundamental Sessions in the next few months.
YB: Our new release "Hard Candy" is available now and a few more releases are coming soon.
WHAT ARE SOME RANDOM THINGS OUTSIDE OF THE MUSICAL REALM FANS MAY BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU?
JC: I don't really go out that much and don't have a TV.
YB: I scrapbook and enjoy a good game of chess.
ANY FAMOUS LAST WORDS?
JC: "See you on the dance floor."
YB: "Thanks for the support!"
JC Dakota: DJ, Producer
Yvonne Black: DJ, Producer, Vocals
GENRE: Electronica/Progressive House/Electro
FOR FANS OF: Paul Van Dyke, Paul Oakenfold, Madonna, EDX, Kaskade, Morgan Page, Daft Punk, Underworld, Rank 1, Deepdish, Funkagenda, Bjork, Delerium, D.O.N.S.