Feminism / Sounds / Vintage

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Indie Radio DJ & Music Collector Danii Ruthless

Hot to the radio DJ scene, Danii Ruthless came prepared. Her extensive music collection and mega crush on indie lo-fi is just the tip of the iceberg. Danii doesn’t play around when it comes to vinyl or music preservation. Ever the sentimentalist, she shared with us some insight to the radio world. Plus, we took a glimpse at her musical taste buds through a scope of Top Fives (much love to Nick Hornby, you betcha).


When did you first know you wanted to pursue a career in radio?

It definitely became a serious idea when I took a radio broadcasting class at college, when I went on the air for the first time I was so nervous, but now the air studio at the station is one of the places I feel the most comfortable.

Most memorable moment on air?

The first time I went on the air by myself, I thought I was going to pass out I was so nervous!

Talk to us about your vinyl collection. First one you ever bought? Most recent? Favorite place to shop?

The first record I ever bought was The Raconteurs’ “Old Enough” 7 inch, My most recent purchase was actually the new Dead Weather single “Open Up That’s Enough/Rough Detective” from the latest vault package. The one record I spent too much money on was definitely The Horrors “Strange House” but I don’t regret it because that album is so hard to find!

Vinyl excluded, what’s your favorite medium for storing music and why?

I gotta say even though I love having my iPod I still have a soft spot for tapes and CDs; something about the tangibility…

Talk to us a little bit about DJing. What, to you, makes a successful radio DJ?

Definitely blazing your own trail as far as what you play. If you don’t add your personal taste into the mix it very quickly gets stale and generic which leads to being lost in the crowd.

Who are some of your favorite radio DJs? Or DJs in general, really.

I like Zane Lowe a lot. Alison Mosshart and Rhys Webb are both awesome DJs as well, but actually most of my favourite DJs are my friends who have shows at their colleges, my friend Kelsey in particular, she’s the person who talked me in to taking a radio class.

How do you decide your playlists? Talk to us about your process.

Well, I generally start with a theme, it can be a mood I’m trying to set, a certain subject, a specific musician or band, their influences, anything goes really, I spend days upon days combing through my music library and Spotify in order to pick the perfect mix.

Do you consider yourself a sentimentalist when it comes to music?

Oh yes, I’m particularly sentimental about my favourite band the Kills, I’ve seen them live so many times and met so many friends through their music that all of their songs have some memory or emotion attached to them. Their song the Last Goodbye for example make me cry every time I hear it because it takes me back to their Tenth Anniversary show in NYC where the front row was essentially just my friends and I.

What are a few of your favorite moments of radio history? Why?

The War of the Worlds broadcast hoax is one of my favourites strictly because it showed the sheer power of radio over the population which is fascinating to me.

What are your plans—DJ, radio, or music in general—for next year?

School, work, my radio show, and hopefully trying to get my foot in the door in the music industry. Oh, and if the Dead Weather tour, I’m dropping everything and following them around for a bit with my best friend Kaitlyn.

Is there anything you’d like to add? Any words of wisdom (or warning) to music collectors out there?

If you’re thinking about trying radio DO IT. Bargain shop for records (and clothes and anything else) there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with second hand and vintage.

Following our interview Danii indulged us in a fun music-journalist-to-music-collector game in honor of Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity: The Top Fives. Major music geekery ensued.


Top 5 GRRRL rockers

  • Alison Mosshart
  • Karen O
  • Joan Jett
  • Siouxsie Sioux
  • Kim Gordon

Top 5 post-punk love songs

  • “Kissy Kissy” by The Kills
  • “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division
  • “To Bring You My Love” by PJ Harvey
  • “Love Song” by The Cure
  • “This Charming Man” by The Smiths

Top 5 lo-fi artists that came BEFORE the Age Of Hipster (let’s say pre-2003)

  • The Kills
  • The Velvet Underground
  • The Libertines
  • Royal Trux
  • Blur

Top 5 songs by anyone across any genre that should never, under any circumstances, ever be covered

  • “Kissy Kissy” by The Kills (In my opinion it’s just so integral to them as a band and too special to be covered)
  • “White Moon” by The White Stripes
  • Anything from My Bloody Valentine (because no one else could pull that off.)
  • “Howl” by Florence and The Machine (her voice is so gorgeous it can’t be topped.)
  • “BLURRED LINES” by Robin Thicke (because it shouldn’t have existed in the first place.)

Top 5 indie icons that influenced you most as a DJ

  • Alison Mosshart
  • Jamie Hince
  • Lou Reed
  • Jack White
  • Karen O

Top 5 tracks that comprise the mixtape to your heart

  • “Kissy Kissy” by The Kills (do you see a theme here?)
  • “Music When the Lights Go Out” by The Libertines
  • “Angels” by The xx
  • “After Hours” by The Velvet Underground
  • “Kiss Kiss” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Every Tuesday & Thursday at 2pm EST you can catch Danii Ruthless live on 90.7 WKKL. Found locally from the seaside college town of West Barnstable or anywhere globally via radio stream from your computer or mobile device. 

Image: Lindsay Theirl


Renée Aubern is a California born, New York bred poet, writer of songs, and kook. Constantly on the move, she documents the world around her in photographs and notebook scribbles. @reneeaubern

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