Q : What have you been working on as of late?
We have a few things in the pipeline, particularly the launch of the Illest Music Podcast and our talk podcast, Illest Podcast Ever. The ILLEST music podcast is a daily mix show with a focus on new music. With the advances in technology music moves much faster than it did 10 years ago, and as a result the internet is flooded with a lot of music, some good but mostly bad. DJs still have a responsibility as tastemakers and curators to help people cut through the clutter and bring them the best music. I am presenting it in the form of a daily 30 minute mix that can carry you through a commute, workout or study session.
Illest Podcast Ever is a weekly talk podcast exploring the trending topics of the week where we will extract their deeper meaning. Guest are invited every episode to share their unique point of view.
Q : Anyone can make music these days. Technology and the internet make it easy. In your opinion, how has this impacted djing?
The definition of the DJ has morphed in the past decade to the point where we have renamed producers and songwriters to be referred to as DJs. The technology has lowered the barrier to entry which in turn devalues a common DJ’s worth in the marketplace. Prior to the technical advancements it was difficult to get involved in DJing since it was very cost-prohibitive. You had to really love DJing to become a DJ.
Success in any field requires some marketing acumen but today we see far more DJs being booked based upon their celebrity draw versus their talent. It’s not necessarily difficult to pick and play songs, especially with the technology being what it is, but to control the vibe of a room takes a good amount of experience. Having the ability to improvise on the fly and step into a nightclub or party to create a memorable experience is not something that a computer can do for you.
Q : How has DJing changed since you started? How has it stayed the same?
Besides the fact that I don’t have to drive a minivan around to carry my records, the business of DJing has thrived exponentially in the past decade. Artist need to make money to pay bills and I would say even though you have more DJs in the marketplace, you have more opportunities to create your own revenue then you did when I first started over ten years ago. With the advancements of social media, targeted marketing, anyone with some know-how can find a way to carve out a decent living as a creative person.
in terms of how it has stayed the same, people still love to go out and party. Even though our cell phones can be distracting, we still have a desire to connect with people in the real world. I don’t think that is going anywhere anytime soon.
Q : Do you have any dream collaborations you haven’t been able to make happen yet? Why are they are your list?
To me any dream collaboration is one that happens in real life. One of the things that I think has tainted music is our ability to send songs through the internet and artist not actively collaborating in the same physical space. There’s magic to be made when you’re able to get a room with two people and make songs from scratch. That sort of magic doesn’t exist when I email you an MP3. I think anyone who understands that level of emotion from a creative standpoint is the kind of person that I’m eager to elaborate with. While I don’t have a list, per se, my soul is fed through real world collaboration.
Q : What does the music you play mean to you on a personal level?
Music is a reflection of the human experience. A part of a DJ’s job is to play for the audience and to make them happy. It’s supposed to be selfless. And I think a poor DJ, a inexperienced DJ, will play songs that they like with no regard for the audience. I love the moments where I can play songs that I know people will love that I love just the same. There are these moments where I get to connect with the audience and see that they have the same joy that I have when playing certain songs. if we can keep that vibe going the entire night, then everyone wins.
Q : how has DJ and turntablist culture evolved, and how is it faring?
I think events like the Red Bull Thre3style keep turntablism alive. We’ve seen DJ culture move away from turntables to people pressing play on a pre-recorded mix and jumping around on stage. This is fundamentally different from showing up to an event, and playing off of the vibe of a room. I believe the idea of DJing is still alive and well, we have just blurred the lines of what DJing means. this is neither good nor bad so long as the audience is happy.
Q : Has your personal approach changed over the years with that digital influence?
The technology allows me to work faster and be more creative. I remember a time where I wished that technology like Serato existed. I used to think about how awesome it would be to play my own composed breaks. Now we have the technology to do that. I also don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on music, which was the biggest factor in DJing in the early 2000’s. it’s also easier to find and connect with other people in the business thanks to social media
Q : What’s on the cards for you in 2018?
In 2018 I will make a shift towards cultivating the next generation of talent. I’ve always been pulled towards helping other artists avoid poverty while pursuing their creative endeavors and it’s time to go all in on that agenda. In 2018 will be launching a media company, Fame Junkie Media, assisting artist, namely DJs, get themselves out in front as many people as possible, while creating revenue-generating opportunities for the artist.
Q : What’s your one go-to absolute killer, that never fails?
This changes every season, and it’s also relative to the region that I’m playing in. if I’m in Los Angeles I’ll play Get Rich by RJ. If I’m in a place like Texas I can always play international players anthem by UGK. I still think you can play Bad and Boujee and get a great response from the audience. it really just depends on the time and the musical trends. in music very few things last forever and nowadays the music move so fast, that the go to records for a DJ tend to shift with it.