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Coco Madrid for Copper Union.

Coco Madrid for Copper Union.

This Music Monday, we’re doing something special. Wear Your Voice presents an interview with Coco Madrid, a Portland-based plus size model, club promoter, and the brains (and beauty) behind DJ ChaCha. Coco has been in the music industry for over fifteen years, making her a veteran before she even hit her 30s. Coco graced us with a playlist reflective of her influences for this Music Monday, as well as an interview about what makes her tick, the overlap of fashion within the music industry, and where to find her.

Coco Madrid: Model, DJ ChaCha and the SNAP! 90’s Dance Party

WYV: What drew you to the music industry?

Coco Madrid: I have always had an attraction to the music industry, in one form or another. I remember an assignment from fifth grade. It was a project that involved mapping out where you would be in 20 years through drawings. I drew a two-level nightclub with a black and white checkered floor and disco lights. So…

WYV: What are you favorite genres/eras/etc.?

CM: My favorite genres are house, techno, ambient, experimental, drone and modern classical. My favorite music era is definitely the ’90s. I have a ’90s party that has been going for nine years that represents every great ’90s genre.

WYV: Describe your musical style. What has influenced it?

CM: My musical style is influenced by ’90s electronica, mostly the ambient, glitch, trip-hop, downtempo and experimental genres. Those influences also mean that I am very into the old ways of production that include the use of hardware instead of computers.

WYV: How does fashion overlap with music for you?

CM: Fashion and music have always been hand and hand throughout my life. I have been through pretty much every major music/fashion collaboration. Punk, ska (rude girl style), goth, rave, short stint in country, electro (think MySpace scene kids but with more neon).

Coco Madrid and friend.

Coco Madrid and friend.

WYV: Is it tough being a woman in a male-dominated space? How does gender work for and against you?

CM: I have been extremely lucky to not have had to deal with many issues regarding my gender and my ability to work in the music industry. I know that it can be a common problem but to be honest there really aren’t many instances where I can recall a male making it difficult for me to work. In addition to being a cisgendered woman, I am also a woman of size and color in one of the whitest cities in the country. And yet, I have had nothing but overwhelming support from the white males that dominate the music scene here in Portland. I don’t have a secret. I don’t know the reasoning. However I do know that I am grateful for all the opportunities that have been abundant during my 15+ years of working in the Portland music community.

WYV: How do you wear your voice?

CM: I wear my voice through my clothes. Fashion to me has been a way to connect to my identity, my body and my politics surrounding those things. I think for a lot of people with all kinds of bodies and identities, clothes can make or break everyday of their lives. Being able to live radically, unapologetically and boldly through clothes has been a journey that has seen its ups and downs. But in the end I am living my truth loudly through fashion!

Coco Madrid and friend

Coco Madrid and friend

WYV: Any projects that you are currently working on or irons in the fire for future release?

CM: I have been dabbling in production and hope to release a cassette tape sometime during fall/winter. In the meantime, everyone can check out my project Artificial Sense Tapes on Soundcloud.

If you are in the Portland area during summer, please be sure to keep an eye out for my party SNAP! ’90s Dance Party, modeling on the runway for Alley33 and a fashion feature in the August edition of Portland Monthly magazine.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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