Anyone will tell you that Nicole "CHOICE" Jaatoul is a force of nature in the burgeoning Salt Lake City underground scene. One day she's dancing in front of every DJ booth in the city, the next, she's behind it, kicking ass like nobody's business. Choice knows her tunes and how to use them thanks in part to those years of watching and learning. She agreed to give NCM her best for installment no. 8 of our guest mix series and we couldn't be happier.
1. What’s in Your Head (Ali Nasser) by Archie Hamilton 2. Space Hood by Liou 3. Lindos by Huerta 4. Push Cat (Jorge Savoretti) by Felipe Galleguillos, Andre Butano 5. 4 Floors by Liou 6. Avira Dollars by Markus Kenel 7. Rules of Love (Dj Qu All Ova The Floor Retouch) by Joel Alter, Eric D Clark 8. Hello Cielo (Simon Baker) by Death on The Balcony 9. Epsilon (Nice ’n Trick) by Luky 10. Pineapple by Fabrizio Pugliese 11. Galapagos by Leo Tou 12. Splashes (Cheise) by Mark Sanders 13. SN Model by Livio & Roby, Enzo Siragusa
I first came to know you as the amazing hi-energy dancer girl who was at all the best parties... Tell us how you first got into dance music?
I first got into dance music in the 90's. My favorites were songs like The Bomb by Kenny Dope, Everybody's Free by Deee-Lite, I like to Move It by Reel 2 Real, Short Dick Man by Gillette. Basically anything in MTV's The Grind from 1996-1997.
What bands or artists did you worship in your formative teenage years?
As a teenager, I was obsessed with Pink Floyd, Bjork, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and Radiohead. I was all over the place. Still am.
When was the ah-ha moment that made you want to learn to DJ?
At 17 I evolved into an underground hip-hop head as a street promoter, which led me to the underground culture of DJing. I was always intrigued by the DJ, but it wasn't until I met an all-vinyl DJ crew called the Funk Pirates when I was like "Oh, I can do that, and I want to, and I'm going to". Later I ended up working at Guitar Center and I made a friend who was a drum n bass DJ/producer. He taught me how to mix on a couple of old Diesel Boy records, which led me to slowly collecting records and eventually become a DJ.
Who and what does CHOICE mean to you? Where did that come from?
I never really had an alias as a DJ. In 2010 I was asked to play a gig at W-Lounge by Mama Beatz. At the time I needed a name for the flier and used my last name as a last minute thing, but shortly after decided to change it to Choice. I pulled the word from a quote in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. There's a scene where Ferris talks about driving Cameron's Dad's Ferrari and says "I love driving it, it is so choice. If you have the means I highly recommend picking one up".
How would you describe your taste in records, your style of mixing?
I enjoy collecting records that are vinyl only release, preferably minimal, deep house, and microhouse. I like to ride out the mix as long as possible without fucking it up, however cleaning up mix messes can be fun and I consider to be a huge part of the character of a mix.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing music?
Eat. Sleep. Music. Repeat.
Did you grow up in Utah? If not, how did you end up here?
I grew up in Detroit, MI, but I spent the majority of my adolescence traveling between Detroit and LA. Culturally, I've always been a little bit of mid-west and west coast. In my early 20's I lived in Mammoth Lakes, CA and worked as a lift operator. When the season ended a co-worker recommended I move to Salt Lake City—said I'd love the snow and the people and the music scene. A month later I moved here.
What are the best things about living in Salt Lake City versus other places you’ve lived or visited?
The fact that the mountains are so close and accessible to the city, but what I value most here are the relationships I have with the people of our scene. SLC underground is a really open-minded, eclectic, bonded community.
You’ve attended and been performing at a few festivals these past few years, most recently in Detroit during Movement (...repping NCM among others… thank you!). Tell us about the party you did there and how you got involved?
Thank YOU! Last year I was invited to Detroit to play the Girls Gone Vinyl 10 year anniversary at Mix Bricktown. This year I was asked to return and invited Artemis to join for a little b2b. Thanks to the ladies at Auxetic I was introduced to a lot of people and exposed to sounds that were new to me.
Do you have a favorite club, dance floor or festival memory from over the years?
Most recent was dancing to John Tejada at TV Lounge in Detroit. Locally my favorite floor memories are at The Fallout (now Switch). One of my older festival memories is when Club 75 (Busy P, Justice, Cassius, and DJ Mehdi) played in the Sahara tent at Coachella 2010. That shit was unforgettable, Rest In Peace DJ Mehdi!
What goals do you have for your future, musically or otherwise?
I have two goals for that I want to be accomplished by 2019. My first goal is to produce a 2 track EP. My second goal is to travel and play NYC, LA, Barcelona, and Berlin.
How would you describe the mix you made for NCM? The process?
Oh boy...well at first I wanted to put out a really fun house and disco mix, but after a massively inspiring month in LA, I decided I wanted to take my sound in a different direction. I was really inspired by the sexy, minimal vibes of the music I heard there and wanted to make a mix that people could really feel.