Alison Wonderland, aka Alex Sholler, wasn’t always the fist-pumping, beat-bumping DJ you see at festivals and clubs today. Before the Australian-born performer learned how to DJ and produce, she studied classical music and played the cello.
DJing “was kind of a happy accident for me,” says Sholler, who began spinning local underground clubs and afterparties following her live band gigs. “I just became really obsessed with DJing. I really fell in love with it. I didn’t realize that you could travel the world doing this and that you could [play] your own music. Those were the things that made me happy— [and] freedom in performing, which I hadn’t felt before.”
Sholler released her debut album, Run, in 2015, pairing up with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne for breakout track “U Don’t Know” and playing that year’s Coachella festival. In 2016, she dropped the slow-burner “Messiah,” featuring fellow Australian and producer M-Phazes (Eminem, Kimbra). And this month, she has released a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and launched SiriusXM show Radio Wonderland, where she not only broadcasts her favorite tracks but interviews her friends and contemporaries. First up on the show: none other than Skrillex. “I’m really excited, because I get to play music from every genre that I love—it’s not just beats or house or techno, it’s everything,” she says.
Expect her to bring the same enthusiasm to her Nightswim debut. “I used to play pool clubs in Sydney during the summer and the vibe was always so good and positive. It’s always nice to mix it up.” Alison Wonderland at Nightswim at Encore Beach Club, May 13.