February 3, 2011

How did you get your start as a deejay? I saw my older cousins DJ D-lux and DJ Izreal scratching at a family barbecue and it just made sense to me. I was always into making rhythms and noises out of random things and am a tech-geek so to see a community of folks combining both left a huge impression on my (then) young mind! This was in Chicago, summer of 1999, but I was living in Switzerland at the time, so once I got back to Geneva I started looking for videotapes and websites about DJing. I got Gemini XL-500 turntables, a Numark mixer, my parents old records and a DMC World Championship video. I broke one of the needles the second I opened them but it didn’t matter because I was all about scratching then and just needed one turntable. From then it was on!

In what ways do you give back to the community? I give back to the local community by hosting and participating in nightlife events that benefit local non-profits. Youth-mentoring groups, art advocates, medical service groups and many others in Chicago have raised funds from the events I’ve thrown and DJ’d at. I also promote the non-profit group, their cause and connect them up with others that fit with their mission.

I give back to the DJ community by pretty much showing anyone who asks how I do what I do. It might be helping someone make their first gear purchase, tackle a difficult scratch technique, build/organize their library or improve the flow of their sets. Whatever it is, I share what I’ve learned along the way and they usually have good knowledge to help me out too so it’s a great exchange. I always try to give constructive feedback when someone asks for it too.

What kinds of non-profit work do you do? I organize an event called Music is the Weapon that features non-profits in Chicago. It’s pretty much a party where the funds go to the groups. Each event is accompanied by a mix I make of socially conscious themed music and interviews from the featured groups.
I’m also part of “The People’s DJ Collective” which is an awesome group of DJs that do a lot of work in the social sector. All of the members donate their time and resources to support positive groups and causes. We’ve been a part of some great things including the US Social Forum, Teachers for Social Justice and are the resident DJs for a monthly event called Empact which also benefits a local non-profit organization.

Tell us about some shows you’ve done outside of Chicago. My first actual DJ performance was at my high school talent show in Switzerland. All I did was play Beastie Boys “Intergalactic” for some friends to lip sync to while I scratched the hook. It was pretty bad but the audience got into it and I felt really hype after that to practice harder!
Of my more recent out of town gigs, New York, Detroit and Brazil are my favorite ones.
NYC – I had the privilege to play in NYC thanks to Cage and Aquarium twice now and the gigs have been a blast both times! The most recent one was a halloween party at Stay. It was a hype dance party all night and every DJ brought their A game. It felt awesome to bring some Chicago Juke music to NYC and see people bug out to it.
Detroit – I went with the People’s DJ Collective to play the party after all the conferences for the US Social Forum. For the party, they held down a whole block of buildings, each with huge spaces and spaces within spaces with DJs, live musicians and dancers. There were thousands of people, everyone was very inspiring and into eclectic music. The People’s DJs held down a venue called Bert’s in the Eastern Market. Everyone rocked it hard, and I got to pass my single to Waajeed, one of my favorite producers right now.
Brazil – I played in Curitiba, Brazil, which is not as internationally known as Rio or Sao Paolo but is a major tastemaker in the national music scene there. The gig was really fun and after wards, some of the party people took me to a club further down the street that was open till 6. They said it was pretty normal to party that late and most times the after parties end at noon the next day. Insane!

Listen to Victor’s mix from C&A’s Skelectro show in NYC.

If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing instead? I’d probably be doing something related to software or game development. Maybe get into writing.

What are your hobbies? Making, discovering and DJing music is probably my main hobby. Glad I get to make money from it! Other than that, I like playing basketball, video games and writing every now and then. I also like travelling and trying new pizza spots.

What inspires you the most? The arts, live music, new places and self-actualizing people.

In ten years, where do you see yourself? Summers in Chicago, winters somewhere warm, an expert at something (maybe music production + DJing), doing what I love and making a living from it!

We also wanted to mention that last month Victor won the Vocalo.org beat competition at the 3rd Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip-hop Art. Listen to his mix that won first prize!

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