ALI­SON WON­DER­LAND

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THROUGH THE LOOK­ING GLASS WITH COACHELLA’S HOTTEST DOWN UN­DER DJ

ALEX SCHOLLER, AN AUS­TRALIAN DJ, was get­ting steady work play­ing grave­yard shifts in Syd­ney night­clubs—of­ten to just a hand­ful of pa­trons—when a pro­moter called her with a propo­si­tion. He had a prime-time slot to of­fer, but only if she came up with a stage name to go on the poster. She had five min­utes.

With that, Scholler— who kicks off her first ma­jor U.S. tour at Coachella 2015 and whom Diplo re­cently called one of the best DJS Down Un­der—stepped through the look­ing glass and be­came Ali­son Won­der­land. “It’s just a DJ name. Peo­ple al­ways want me to give them some bull­shit an­swer about lov­ing Dis­ney,” she says with a laugh.

EDM is now the most lu­cra­tive musical genre in the world. But if Won­der­land is eye­ing that $400,000 head­liner gig at Hakkasan, she doesn’t let on. Last year she de­clined to do a reg­u­lar tour, opt­ing in­stead to throw a series of se­cret ware­house par­ties around Aus­tralia. “In three days, I sold 10,000 tick­ets,” she re­calls. “And then the fact that all these peo­ple ac­tu­ally showed up was the cra­zi­est thing to me.”

She’s not just be­ing coy: A few years ago, Won­der­land walked away from a promis­ing ca­reer as a cel­list in a sym­phony orches­tra, turn­ing to EDM as a bed­room hobby, a way to get her “mu­sic fix” while she fig­ured out her next step. Be­com­ing a globe-trot­ting elec­tro-pop party mon­ster wasn’t part of the plan, but her as­cent from the bed­room to the big stage was quicker than most. “When I’m in­ter­ested in some­thing, I tend to hy­per­fo­cus on it,” she says.

If Won­der­land’s de­but al­bum, Run, which dropped in April, bears any traces of her back­ground as a clas­si­cally trained mu­si­cian, they’re im­pos­si­ble to de­tect with an un­trained ear. But her abil­ity to struc­ture a song that can make a per­son’s face melt right off their skull is all too ev­i­dent.

As for her in­flu­ences, she cites Outkast, Beastie Boys, and James Mur­phy. “Dj-wise, I don’t re­ally have any,” she says, “but I al­ways go back to DJ AM and his El­ton mixes. The mu­sic is so in­tel­li­gent and eclec­tic—you al­ways get sur­prised by where he takes you.”

This be­ing the year Won­der­land goes global, there will cer­tainly be no short­age of sur­prises to come. —adam line­han

DOWN UN­DER DJ ALI­SON WON­DER­LAND IS COACHELLA’S UN­STOP­PABLE GOLDEN GIRL. “IT’S JUST A DJ NAME. PEO­PLE AL­WAYS WANT ME TO GIVE THEM SOME BULL­SHIT AN­SWER ABOUT LOV­ING DIS­NEY.”

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