Getting Real with Miss Nine
Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes artists, specifically electronic music artists, are not only amazing creators but also great people. Rarely do you get the opportunity to see artists in this light—laidback, dressed down, relaxed, real. Often, today’s artists actively portray themselves as crazy partiers, since that is what much of their audience demands of their music. However, I hope that once the artists shed their public layers, the materialism subsides and the real person appears. With Miss Nine, aka Kristin Schrot, I had this opportunity.
At a chic sushi restaurant in downtown Seattle known as Wasabi Bistro on a cold, pre-Halloween night, I met Kristin and her friend and See Sound Lounge owner Bryce McKamey. The first thing you’ll notice when you meet her is that she will introduce herself as Kristin, not Miss Nine. Kristin is who she is, and while creating music she goes by Miss Nine, but as soon as she is out of the DJ booth she is a person, not an image or icon.
The waiter asks for our drinks and Kristin simply orders green tea, despite the very cool cocktail menu. Bryce comments, “I’ve never seen her drink more than a glass of champagne.” Later, the waiter takes our order for sushi. “I’m starving,” Kristin concedes. Kristin is also a model, so I was a little nervous about sitting down to eat with her: What if I order twice as much as her? What will she think? To my (and my stomach’s) pleasure, Kristin also has a healthy appetite and the sushi is some of the best I have ever eaten.
We begin to chat:
Sensible Reason: How do you balance music with modeling?
Kristin: Both of my managers coordinate it so that I am able to do both of my jobs while in one area.
SR: How do you like the travel? It must get hard after a while.
Kristin: I love to travel and I usually have someone along with me, so I’m not totally by myself. The hardest part is the time difference… [For example,] this week I’ll be on 3 different continents.
SR: How does it work with your long-time boyfriend, Alexander Bos? It must be hard with all the distance.
Kristin: Well luckily his job is very flexible and he is very supportive. He actually used to be the DJ and he taught me how to spin on vinyl. It’s funny, I used to be the one standing next to him while he deejayed; now it’s the other way around. He works in real estate now and, when he can, he comes along with me while I’m on tour, especially to the more fun and exotic places.
SR: What are some of your favorite places to go and play music?
Kristin: Hong Kong is great. And Brazil has such an amazing energy. It’s summer there when it’s winter here so they’re ahead by 6 months when it comes to music. And Ultra in Miami, it’s one of my favorite festivals.
SR: Yeah, I actually first saw you perform at Ultra in 2011 as the house DJ for the Live Stage. How does it feel to perform at the “premier electronic music festival in the world”?
Kristin: It’s amazing. I get to meet so many different artists and there are so many people there.
SR: Do you think you’ll be there again this year?
Kristin: I don’t know yet, they’re still doing the booking.
Suddenly, Bryce realizes there is a ring on Kristin’s left ring finger. “Kristin, did you get engaged?!” he beams. “Yes,” she blushes. We toast and I can’t help but feel elated for her. Kristin really seems to have it all: she’s beautiful, has a solid head on her shoulders, has 2 great careers that she loves, and is now engaged to her boyfriend of 10+ years.
After things settle down, Kristin concedes her past to me. “I grew up in a small town in Germany. When I was fifteen I wanted to move to New York to become a model. My mom didn’t want me to, she wanted me to finish school and have a more common profession. So, I finished school and became a nurse. I did that for a little bit, but I still wanted to see if I could become a model…” And the rest is history it seems. I can’t imagine Kristin wearing a nurse’s outfit, having never traveled, never met the man she loves, never performed on a stage. She could have easily taken a different, “safer” course for her life. “My life is very different from my friends back home,” Kristin continues. “I’ve traveled, seen the world, and experienced many things. Most people back where I’m from never leave. Most girls get married and have kids in the same town where their parents did. I wanted a different life.”
It’s at this moment that I see Kristin’s music in a different light. Her music– progressive house– is meant to take people away and bring them on her life adventure. She brings to it the life and energy that pushed and pulled her to her current life, her current happiness.
Miss Nine produces a free monthly podcast that I listen to all the time. When I ask her what her motivation behind the podcasts are, I expect a response like, “It’s great practice for me,” or, “To bring in new listeners.” Instead, Kristin replies, “I like to take my audience on a voyage every month, even if they can’t see me perform live.” When asked if she prefers opening or closing a show, again she notes, “I like to be the one to take the crowd on a voyage. It’s important to me that my listeners feel like they’re going somewhere with me… One time I did a set in Brazil that ended up being 6 hours long. It really felt like we went on a journey together. There was so much energy there.” It’s refreshing to hear an artist care so much about the listeners’ experience, striving for that authentic experience we all search for in music and in life. I get the sense that, when Kristin performs, she is experiencing along with the audience—watching, listening, responding, and learning.
Before I know it, dinner is over. I feel as if Kristin has let me in and taken me on one of her journeys. There is no mask, no façade, no iconic image of “Miss Nine” that she is trying to portray. Just Kristin.
Later that night, I head over to Bryce’s club, See Sound Lounge, to check out Miss Nine’s set. Bryce started the club in 2004 as a way of promoting his DJ career, but, in the end, managing the club became a career in itself. Walking in, the first thing you’ll notice is that the club is quite small. The front area, where Miss Nine took the stage, is long and narrow. There is also a larger back room with two large glass fish tanks. “Two of the clown fish are from when I started the club,” Bryce winks to me when he catches me taking a look.
A testament to the intimacy of this whole experience is that I see Bryce on and off throughout the night. Not one to hide in VIP, this clubowner runs around amongst the general population, working and entertaining. “It’s hard,” he tells me over the music. “Sometimes I don’t get to have as much fun and listen to the music as I would like, but it’s all part of the job.”
I watch Miss Nine as she takes her audience one of her journeys for the evening. In honor of Halloween, Miss Nine is dressed simply as a cop, wearing a loose white shirt, a police cap cocked to the side, and oversized sunglasses. Everyone’s dancing, having a great time. I realize most people around me are men, worshiping this musical goddess. I ask around, “Where are you from?” I get responses that surprise me: Greece, New Zealand. Miss Nine has been deejaying here twice a year since 2009 and it seems many people traveled here from afar to see where Miss Nine will take them tonight.
Bars and clubs close at 2am in Seattle, but Bryce tells me, “We’ll let her go on for a little longer. But at 2:15 I’ll have to stop her. She would never stop if we just let her keep going.”
Miss Nine’s set is now at the pinnacle, with energy levels reaching the ceiling and still going up. The most memorable height of the set is when she drops Daft Punk’s, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” and mixes it her own way, even throwing a little dubstep in, keeping the listeners on their toes as they dance. The crowd’s energy keeps building and building, to the point that listeners sporadically burst with cheers and shouts.
The show ends and the partiers shake Miss Nine’s hands and get pictures with her. After the audience has cleared, a friend tells Kristin they’re meeting for brunch the next day. Later the next night she’ll head to Europe. She waves goodbye to me as she leaves. Bryce gives me a hug and calls me a cab. The voyage Miss Nine has taken me on is over, but I can tell for her it’s only just starting up.