About a decade ago, Alix Brown, a crafty and feline 39-year-old bassist from Atlanta, parlayed her obsession with obscure music and her playful ’60s “It-girl” persona into a career as a DJ. She has performed at special events for fashion brands such as Chanel, Fendi and Armani and has perfected the signature sound for New York’s Soho Grand Hotel and Roxy Hotel.
After years of playing in bands such as Daisy Glaze, La Femme, Golden Triangle and Angry Angles, Ms. Brown focused on her work as a music supervisor for films. She finds songs that enhance the tone of the film and negotiates rights with both songwriters and record companies.
Ms. Brown lives on the Upper East Side with her partner, Michel Civetta, 47, a film director.
THE EARLY BIRD I wake up pretty early naturally – usually around 6:30, 7am. I DJ a lot, but I don’t DJ super late night stuff anymore. But even when I did, I could never fall asleep for some reason.
I usually go into the living room, lay on the couch and meditate for 15 or 20 minutes, then put on a record, something really cool. Lately I’ve been spinning Lou Donaldson’s Alligator Boogaloo, Lonnie Liston Smith and Cosmic Echoes’ Visions of a New World, and Astrud Gilberto’s Look to the Rainbow. I’ll do some stretching, some yoga. And then I’ll go into the cafe. Usually our pot of coffee starts brewing around 8am so that’s when I’ll have my first cup. Around 9 Michele gets up.
SUNDAY TRADITIONS My biggest routine that I’ve done since I was a kid is watching “CBS Sunday Morning.” When I was growing up, my mom would make a lot of breakfast and we would sit and watch it together. It’s funny because we still do. I’ll put it on 9. She’ll text me and say, “Oh, did you watch that segment? What do you think about that?” Or I’ll call her. They have the best news and interviews with ordinary people. And it’s not overly politicized. I try to talk to my mom every day.
PLAYLIST TESTING I’m taking a little power walk down the East River, listening to some playlists I’ve made to make sure the songs are cohesive and flow together. Then I’ll go to Agatha and Valentina’s to do some food shopping with Michele.
BOOKS AND RECORDS I moved here in 2007 and worked at Academy Records for a few years. It was my first job in New York. I like to go by and see them and see what records they have. I’m always looking for tunes, old and new. The last film I did music supervision for used very modern bands. The one I’m working on now uses a lot of punk music and rock and roll from the 60s and 70s.
Then I usually go through Tompkins [Square Park] to go to Mast Books. Michele will meet me there. They have great new, used and rare books and ephemera. They have so many books there that I can’t even afford them, but it’s nice just to look at them.
(NOT) RANDOM Maybe I’ll meet Michele or my friend Ilise Singer, the director of the Roxy Cinema, for brunch at Balthazar. I get a salad nisoise or steak frites. Depending on how I feel, I might have a glass of champagne.
And then I go to the Roxy for a movie. Located in the Roxy Hotel. I have been working with them for over 11 years. It used to be the Tribeca Grand. I started as a DJ, and then when they renovated the rooms and did the Roxy, I was the music director there. I started making all their playlists. They put record players in the apartments, so I started a vinyl record collection in those rooms. There are 10 slabs in each apartment and the maisonette has a larger selection, 20 or 30 slabs.
CONNECT THE DOTS I really like Italian music and soundtracks. Michele’s father is Italian and the two spend their time between the US and Italy. We were in Italy for most of the pandemic, so I really got into it.
I also work with an Italian record label called CAM Sugar, which has been around since 1959. They do Italian and French re-releases of film soundtracks, so I’m organizing some screenings at the Roxy Cinema with them. We just did “La Planète Sauvage,” the French cartoon from the 70s. It has a sexy, psychedelic jazz soundtrack, which is pretty important because a lot of rappers have sampled from it, so I thought: Instead of having listening parties, it would be cool to do screenings. And we’re screening Ennio Morricone films for his birthday. They’re playing some of his unreleased work from soundtracks he’s done.
ITALIAN SUNDAYS If it’s a special occasion, we’ll go to Antonucci, my favorite restaurant uptown. They have amazing art on the walls and amazing pasta. The duck tortellini are crazy.
But we love to cook! If it’s just a casual, lazy Sunday, we’ll make a simple pasta, like spaghetti alle vongole, my favorite. We’ll usually play jazz, a soundtrack or a library record, or an amazing Italian playlist I made, or sometimes even a movie in the background. Maybe I’ll put in some tomatoes or some zucchini blossoms if they’re in season. I like to eat it with Calabrian chilies. And then we’ll probably watch something else and relax, and maybe have some ice cream or ice cream.
IT’S ALL RESEARCH You have to keep up with what’s going on with movies, the movie world, streaming and all that stuff, and after the pandemic and the change in how people watch movies, you have to see what people are watching now and ask why that show is so popular?
Depending on what we’re watching, how tired I am, and who has chosen what to watch, I’ll go to bed between 10 and 11—midnight if something really catches my eye.
Always connecting, always on the hunt, always getting new information.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Alix Brown on Instagram @alix_brown.