SoulCycle class DJed by M.I.A. drummer is most SXSW workout ever

It’s not every day that an internationally known DJ plays the music at your spin class, but that’s exactly what happened at the new downtown SoulCycle location, 400 Congress Ave., on Saturday morning.

Madame Gandhi, drummer for artist M.I.A., provided the tunes for the hourlong class and even treated riders to her newly release track, “The Future is Female.”

Instructor Rachel Rivas, left, and DJ Madame Gandhi before SoulCycle class at the downtown location Saturday morning. credit: Rachel Rivas

“(Playing the track) felt really beautiful, and everyone was just moving in sync,” she said after the class. “I felt so grateful to give that positive message to such a positive space. SoulCycle has been like my life coach. As a musician, it just gives me such joy.”

In addition to providing the soundtrack, Madame Gandhi also drummed along and even did some reps with 3-pound weights. Instructor Rachel Rivas matched her energy with a positive but challenging workout.

“(At a live DJ class) it’s kind of expect the unexpected. You really have no idea what you’re getting into,” Rivas said. “It’s so fun. It keeps you on your toes.”

The live DJ classes are part of SoulCycle’s celebration of SXSW and will be available every morning at 9:30 a.m. through Tuesday at the downtown location, which opened in February.

The new downtown SoulCycle location opened in February. credit: Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Madame Gandhi will DJ again Sunday morning and will playing various SXSW showcases over the course of the week. Find out where she’ll be at And check out our music writers’ recommendations for shows you can access without a badge, including one featuring Madame Gandhi.

Ria Pleta, left, Jessi Williams and Liv Wignall before class at SoulCycle. credit: Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

SoulCycle is also hosting a pop-up from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day that includes an in-studio photo booth to capture customer’s auras, merchandise with custom embroidery by Fort Lonesome and juice provided by Juiceland. To learn more or sign up for classes, visit

Author: Kristin Finan

Kristin Finan is a writer, editor and author. Learn more about her at

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