Alison Wonderland Is Doing It All — And Knows She Can

Photo: Jared Tinetti.
Alison Wonderland is no stranger to EDC. The Australian native, along with Anna Lunoe, made history as the first two female solo acts to perform on EDC’s kineticFIELD mainstage back in 2016. She’s been a mainstay at other raves, festivals, and concerts for years during a time when women DJs were few and far between. And yes, she performed nine months pregnant at last year’s EDC with doctors on standby just in case she went into labor.
But Alison Wonderland, who’s wearing a brown sweatshirt with the word “underdog” emblazoned on the front, is more than just “a female DJ.” She’s long been a mental health advocate — her most recent album, Loner in 2022, was a form of rebirth for the artist — and last month, she launched an all-gender beauty line, FMU Beauty, which boasts festival-friendly products like body art pens. It’s a project she’s excited about, stopping mid-convo during our 30-minute Zoom call for an impromptu makeup tutorial to demonstrate how to dab FMU Beauty’s Hyper Hue Lip & Cheek Tint for a quick refresh.
The beauty entrepreneur has also embraced the title of mom; last year, she and director Ti West (X, MaXXXine) welcomed their first son Max, who made an appearance on our call and who, I can confirm, is the most adorable baby ever. 
It’s a balancing act that the working mom has fully invested in. “I always knew we [as women] could do anything, but then after I had a baby, I was like we can really do anything,” she tells me.
Ahead of her EDC Vegas performance, the artist talks about her relationship with the festival, motherhood, and the idea of doing it all.
Refinery29: What makes EDC in particular so special to you personally? 
Alison Wonderland: I think that people are all there for the right reason. I think that there's a really crazy sense of community amongst ravers, especially at EDC. It has a very cult following, and it's just a really great form of escapism. It's like a pilgrimage every year. I feel like EDC is a DJ's Olympics or DJ's Coachella because everyone's just trying to play their best set and everyone in the crowd is just trying to have their best time. I love the energy. It's truly about the people and the rave and the culture. Shout out to [Insomniac founder] Pasquale [Rotella] for doing that. 
Last year's EDC, you performed nine months pregnant on the main stage. That's incredible. Did you really have an ambulance and doctors on standby? 
There’s a video! 100%. I was so careful. I need people to know that I'm a professional and not to do what I do if they're very pregnant and go to a rave. I was incredibly careful. I had doctors monitoring me every step of the way. Every time I played a show, every time I toured, I made sure my baby was safe, and he was and he was loving it. But yes, there are a lot of precautions that we took to make sure that I could still play shows.
Why was it important for you to still see this gig through? Because I feel like some people would have bowed out.
I don't think I even really told anyone I was pregnant until I was six months pregnant. So I was just out there playing shows. Honestly, for me, it was very difficult to become successfully pregnant so when it finally happened I didn't want to be completely paranoid and worrying about it. So I thought the best thing to do is let the baby cook and live my life and do things that make me happy. And the reason I did EDC Vegas nine months pregnant is because it makes me so happy, and I wanted to pass that energy onto my baby and I was able to do it. People asked, how did you stay up there for over an hour and I'm like, easy. It makes me happy. It's a thing that makes me happy. Feeling the baby kick while I was playing music, it was just, I mean, I can't explain it. Coachella I did eight months pregnant and he was just going hard.
Honestly I didn't want to get too into my own head, and it was really difficult for me. So finally, being that far along with the pregnancy, I spiritually wanted to just have good vibes around the baby.
How have things changed or evolved in the EDM scene from your perspective as an artist?
I think the line between producer and DJ has been blurred a lot more from when I started. When I started, I really considered DJing completely separate to production. Now, I feel like every producer is expected to DJ and every DJ is expected to produce. So there's less of a kind of separate culture within that, which is fine and great for me because I do both, but I think for some people it's a bit strange. I do believe that women in electronic music are having a way better time now than when I started, which is amazing. I think we're taken a lot more seriously and it's great to see so many women killing it now. 
You've been very outspoken about mental health and maintaining that positivity in your life. It is Mental Health Awareness Month right now. What's one thing you wish people understood about your industry when it comes to managing your mental health and how do you prioritize that when you work in such a fast-paced high energy scene?
You just have to learn to listen to yourself, and it's okay to say no sometimes. I think I found it hard in the past to stop and just pause for a few weeks. And now it's really important that I do that. I think it's incredibly lonely when you’re touring. You're in front of tens of thousands of people on this big stage, and they're all screaming your name and singing a song. Then half an hour later you’re alone in a hotel room, and it's just not normal. It's not a normal existence. Learning that it's okay to take time occasionally for yourself is really important and have balance. That’s only something I learned recently, but it definitely helped. 
Being a DJ or just being in the scene, I feel like there's a lot of longevity in this space than say an artist in another genre. Look at this year’s EDC lineup. You’ve got people like Paul Van Dyk or Kaskade, who’ve been doing this for decades, and they’re still showing up.
Kaskade still looks like he's 20! Listen, here’s my theory on things. If you are doing what you love, it's ageless. [With] electronic music, no one's out there judging really what the DJ looks like. Everyone just wants to feel really good energy out there and it's just a beautiful culture, and I hope I'm still DJing when I'm like 85. I will be.
Your single “Satellite” was released last month. You've also teased a new album for 2024. What can you tell us in terms of new music?
Uhh, there's a lot of music coming. I also have a lot of collabs coming this year. Still working on the album, but I'm also working on new Whyte Fang stuff, which I'm super excited about. I think my first show back as Whyte Fang, (Alison Wonderland’s darker persona), is Bonnaroo. I'm really excited to premiere some stuff there.
You also recently launched your festival-friendly beauty line FMU. Tell me about it. What was the inspiration behind it?
This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. When I started [DJing and producing music], I didn't actually think that that could be a career so I was studying special effects makeup. I've always wanted to have a makeup line that's more practical, and people can bring everywhere, like multi-use products. Literally I live in it. I'll show you right now. … I want things that you can keep in your bag at a festival and either top off when you're there or if you end up staying the night and you feel a little dusty the next day, you don't need a big makeup bag, you can just bring this [lip and cheek tint]
You are juggling so much: you have a successful DJ career, you’re a beauty entrepreneur, you’re a mom. How do you do it all? Can you do it all? Can women have it all? Is that even a thing?
Oh, yeah. Years ago, someone that worked for me said I hope you never get pregnant because your career will be over if you do. And I was so fueled by that, that I said, okay bet. Watch me do it all. It kind of fueled me just like when people doubted me as a DJ or an artist. I think that women can do anything, and after having a kid and being pregnant, I know that even more. I know that we are stronger than anyone can ever imagine. There’s this myth that says you can't, but there's a way. I always knew we could do anything, but then after I had a baby, I was like we can really do anything.
I think a lot of women artists have been scared to be moms because of that stigma, but now there's so many artists that have had kids. Grimes, Halsey, Anna Lunoe. And they're all killing it. Every time I see a pregnant woman on stage, I’m like that is so fucking cool. I felt way hotter pregnant, like I felt badass. No one can mess with you when you're creating life.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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