Quizzing The Quizmaster

By Charelle Evelyn on December 03 2014

A chance encounter on a night out 16 years ago led Sarah Pugh down a path she never expected to travel. “It was totally unexpected. I woke up and it was ‘oh man, I think I got a job last night,’” Pugh recalled. “A little bit happier than a surprise tattoo.” Pugh’s alter ego, DJ Sera, was born after auditioning on a whim for then-fledgling business owner Dave Mothus’ new company, Capital Sound, in 1998.

“I was actually in there when he was doing try outs for rookie DJs. I wound up giving it a go and wound up getting a job.” Today, DJ Sera can be found every week at the Westwood Pub, where she holds court over what has become her specialty – trivia night.

The Scene PG took the opportunity to take away Pugh’s answer key and put her in the hot seat.

The Scene PG: Given that you never expected to do this, what have you learned about DJing over the years?

DJ Sera: Mostly what I’ve learned is how subtly powerful music is on the mood, what a bonding experience I guess it is for all the people that engage. You get all the people that dance or bop their head or have some kind of profound memory from music and you see just how powerful it is and how it has the ability to move people physically and also move people emotionally.

The Scene: How do you spot a trivia cheater?

DJ Sera: Just by paying attention. I walk around the room and I can also see everyone from my DJ booth. …. I also have a good idea from the answers, too. Sometimes I’ll throw in stumper songs – ones I know Shazam gets wrong.

The Scene: Favourite song to sing in the shower?

DJ Sera: I’m a serial shower singer. I like Dan Hicks’ [Sweetheart (Waitress in a Donut Shop)], Sweet Dreams – the old Mama Cass one. I like to croon. I know I would never actually do it, but I would love to have been one of those lounge singers that stretch themselves out on the grand piano and sing sultry songs all night at random jazz club.

The Scene: What’s the best song to spin at the end of the night?

DJ Sera: I think the longstanding favourite to shut everything down is Closing Time, either the Semisonic one or the Leonard Cohen one because it’s the notso- subtle hint – the one where you don’t actually have to get on the microphone and ask people to leave.

The Scene: What’s the worst song request you’ve ever received?

DJ Sera: Oh man, I get a lot of them. … Any request where it’s a sad song – that would be a bad request. I might totally love that song… but it’s going to sap the energy and people are probably going to stop drinking and go home. One that comes to mind is Joey by Concrete Blonde. It’s not a bad song, but it’s a bad request.

On New Years’ Eve, DJ Sera will step out from behind the booth and on to the dance floor as she participates in Boogie with the Stars in support of the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. See her at the Westwood or check out boogiewiththestars.ca for ticket and pledge info




Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada

A2014Norm Coyne