Brooke Duncan (8HERTZ), the DJ who believes in the authentic vibes coming from acoustic instruments.

Photo: Bryan McCabe

(Raffaella Mezzanzanica)

8HERTZ is a DJ, vocalist and event promoter based in Madison, WI. Up to today she has spread her talent up to Chicago, IL and she has opened for artists like Khiva, Ternion Sound, Whipped Cream, Phase One, Blunts & Blondes, DMVU, Jantsen, GG Magree, Al Ross, and Lucii.

She always brings her eccentric energy to the stage, seamlessly drifting through genres such as dubstep, house, drum and bass, and more.

In this interview she talks about living and being a DJ and promoter in Wisconsin but, above all, about pursuing her dreams and making them come true.

Q.: Where did you take your name “8HERTZ” from? Have you always used this name since you started with your DJ sets?

B.D.: Well, when I first started performing, I went as MYSTIQUE, but soon realized there was already an up and coming artist with that name, so I decided I needed something new and unique.

I actually came up with the name myself, 8 seems to be a recurring number in my life and, for some reason, has always been a significant number for me. When I was looking for what to use the 8 with, I looked up the meaning or significance, if any, of the frequency 8 hertz. What I found definitely solidified my decision – 8 to 10 hertz is actually the resonate brain frequency which your brain vibrates at when it is most calm, creative, and happy, which is exactly what I wanted to inspire in my listeners.

Q.: When did you start performing in Wisconsin?

B.D.: The first time I performed in a new city was early in my career, a few months after I started. I was blessed some really cool connections and got to play in De Pere for a production group called “Unidentified:Culture”. It was the first of many experiences meeting extremely musically inclined people who I would instantly vibe with, some later becoming my good friends.

Q.: Up to now, youve had the opportunity to open for different artists. Do you have a favorite one? Is there an artist you would like to open for or to collaborate with in the future?

B.D.: Oh wow, to be honest with you… The possibilities and dreams on collaborating or opening for artists are endless! There are so many that I would be honored to work with and learn from. And honestly, I cannot remember an artist that was unpleasant to work with, but my absolute favorites I would say were Ternion Sound, Khiva, and Al Ross. All these artists were incredibly humble and down to earth, spent time to talk with me and really inspired me.

Q.: For those who are interested in knowing more technical stuff: what kind of equipment do you usually use for your DJ sets?

B.D.: At home I mix with a Pioneer xDJ RX2, which is pretty compatible with “industry standard” which is Pioneer CDJs, almost always what is available for shows.

Q.: How much can technology help a DJ today? Can it be considered as  a “substitute” or as a “facilitator”?

B.D.: Honestly, technology has advanced enough for it to *almost* be a substitute. One can make adequate sounds and create plenty of beautiful music from a computer, but I do believe nothing can create that authentic vibe that comes from an acoustic instrument.

Q.: What kind of music should your audience expect at your DJ sets?

B.D.: Although I have a wide array of genres in my collection, I typically like to stick to deep dubstep and heavy dubstep, with some hints of reggae and hip hop involved. That doesn’t mean I won’t randomly play an entire house or drum and bass set, or throw a few songs from different genres into my dubstep. But, mostly dubstep.

Q.: As a promoter and event host, what kind of artists do you usually  promote and where?

B.D.: I promote mainly electronic artists, now mainly online, but before Covid, I was running a weekly show at Crucible in Madison, WI – Lucid Tuesdays – and it was my pride and joy. I had different artists each week with a full stage production set up with visuals by my good friend Alex, owner of Cosmic Productions.

I also loved to stay heavily involved with Ocular/Dubhub events, as well as Brew City Bass, and Lex Martin Presents – who have all brought absolutely mind blowing talent to Milwaukee and Madison, as well as giving my peers and I amazing opportunities to work with these artists.

Q.: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you and your job?

B.D.: Basically for me – it put live performances completely at a halt. I haven’t performed in front of an actual crowd for a long time. I try to stay present online, and stay positive of course, but it was definitely disheartening at first. I love performing and running events – so not having that, I had to shift my focus. I try to see it as a much-needed break from the madness, time to reflect and appreciate, and hopefully grow.

Q.: You’ve also released a couple of your own tracks but then you have decided to take a break to perfect your production craft. How is it going?

B.D.: I have made some progress, but still not satisfied with where I am quite yet. I will be shouting from the rooftops the day I feel actually “DONE” with a project, LOL.

Q.: “Pursuing a music career has always been my passion, my dream, and I really couldn’t imagine not chasing that dream”. This is what I read on your website. Have already made your dream come true? What do you expect from the future? B.D.: Honestly, yes, what I have had the opportunity to do has exceeded my expectations already – sometimes it would feel surreal to be standing where I was. I am so very grateful, and plan on continuing my journey, wherever it takes me, whichever dreams come true, big or small.

Photo: Bryan McCabe

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Photos: Bryan McCabe

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