Archive for 'spotlights'

November 23, 2010

How did you get your start as a deejay? I got my start as a deejay almost by accident. I have always had a love for music going back to my days as a youth playing piano and guitar.  I had been a bartender for several years at a couple of different bars and clubs. The music at one particular bar that I worked at was extremely annoying, so I started coming in early and making Itunes playlists from my personal collection. Soon customers started asking about the new music and I told them that I had made the playlists. Many of them encouraged me to try deejaying, so I studied behind a couple of friends of mine and asked the owner if I could do a test run on a Friday night.

What inspires you the most? As a deejay my biggest inspiration and motivation is to make people dance. When I play something or make a good mix and the crowd reacts I get a chill. I wish I could bottle it.

If you weren’t a deejay, what would you be doing instead? If I wasn’t a deejay right now I might still be bartending. I’ve never been much of a day job person. Music would have to be involved in whatever I do.

When did you know you wanted to be a deejay and why? I knew that I wanted to deejay the first time that I heard DJ Vince Adams spin at Cherry Red in Lakeview. I was bartending there that night and he just had complete control of everyone in the room. People were out of control dancing, jumping up and down, singing along. I almost couldn’t do my job because not only was I completely into it,  people stopped ordering drinks so they could be apart of the dance floor madness. I immediately asked him if I could follow him at his next gig. When I saw how well he was able to read the crowd I was amazed. I wanted to be a part of that world.

What are your hobbies? I guess if I have hobbies they are probably finding online shopping deals, mostly on deejay equipment off of craigslist. I just bought a PS3 and I guess I’m a semi-interested gamer. I mostly stick to sports titles like NBA2K and Madden. I do really love to cook. I probably spend more time than I should watching the Food Network and shows like Hell’s Kitchen.

In ten years, where do you see yourself? In ten years I’ll be living in a suburb somewhere hopefully coaching little league. Professionally, I’d love to be at the point where I could travel for gigs and still get paid. I may want to do more music production and recording. Who knows, as a deejay sometimes it’s hard to see past your next gig.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in your life so far? My proudest accomplishment was the birth of my son. I guess I didn’t have the toughest job that day but I’ll never forget it. I can’t wait to have music discussions and teach him how to double click flare on the Technics when he’s old enough.

Where did your wedding take place and what made it so special? My wedding was at the Chicago Cultural Center on E. Washington downtown. It was great because it was small, just my immediate family and my wife’s immediate family with a few friends. We were able to explore the different exhibits during the day and see all of the interesting art and architecture in the building. Afterward, we all went out to eat and had a great time. Not everyone’s typical wedding experience but that’s what made it great to me.

When deejaying an event, how do you prepare?  How do you choose your songs? I probably spend more time in preparation than other deejays. I’m pretty meticulous about finding the right feel for clients. There are certain situations when it’s not the case but I usually try to find a style of music that they like from a few different era’s. My musical style is  very diverse. If I can tap into a few song’s that the client will love from different time periods, then I can usually find other songs from each era that they will also like. Even so, I love to be spontaneous. My favorite part of deejaying is being able to read what the crowd is going to want to hear next. It’s all about finding a balance between preparation and spontaneity.

See Kevin spin:

Every Monday and Thursday night at Redmond’s – 3358 N Sheffield

December 7, 2010 – Yelp’s Holiday Party – 6-9 pm – Chicago History Museum – 1601 N Clark

October 26, 2010

How did you get your start as a deejay? I’ve always been into to music and have listened to my parents records and tapes since I was young.  It wasn’t until high school that I started really collecting music and digging for new, underground sounds.  I put out some hip hop mix tapes my senior year of high school, but I didn’t begin to actually DJ until college.  I started doing radio for WZRD Chicago 88.3 FM in 2001, where they have been collecting music since 1974.  There I served as Promotions Director, Producer of the weekly show Thursday Night Live featuring local and international acts, and Program Director until about 2008.  During that time I began to DJ house parties, moving on to bars & clubs after that while still staying active in the underground party scene. I started getting picked up to do much larger concerts around that time as well as some Midwest gigs outside of Chicago.

What genres do you consider to be your specialty and how has that evolved? Everyone has their own favorites in the DJ community and I prefer to focus on the foundations, and the international influence House Music has had for decades now.  Disco, Acid, Electro, Chicago House Music.  I like Glitch House and the Afro-Cuban sound, including Brazilian Baile Funk.  I was a backpacker Hip Hop head in the 90’s and a long-haired Metal head before that, both of which I still love and play out at any opportunity.  Its all about reading your crowd, but at the same time I love to play music I don’t hear anyone else dropping, and more times than not, once I’ve heard a track slip into someone else’s set I tend to move it out of my own. Learning the essence of Free Form music and DJing at WZRD played a big part in honing my tastes as well.

How do you prepare for a performance? I like to dig around online or go record shopping for some new music or classic cuts, something to throw in that is just hitting the decks of DJs around the country.  Depending on what kind of DJ equipment I’ll be using I will run through my set or simply organize a crate of records.  More so if it’s going to be an all vinyl night.  I like to bring an ample amount of music just in case something happens. If the dance floor needs a different flavor I can switch it up and still stay within my own tastes.

What is your most memorable performance? I enjoy making people dance at every occasion.  The weddings I’ve done with Cage and Aquarium both on and off the decks have been fantastic and I love seeing everyone celebrate such an incredible bond.  But I think my most memorable performance has to be this past Summer’s Green Music Festival, focusing on eco-friendly food, drinks, and technology.  It was full of families, artists, musicians, and neighbors of the West Town community.  My DJ set was just before nightfall and the festival drew so many people out, including kids and adults of all ages.  It was great to have them all out there dancing together.

What kinds of community organizations do you take part in? Recently I was guest DJ at the Tree House Humane Society’s Catwalk, a hair design fashion show benefitting Tree House, Chicago’s no-kill animal shelter.  The 2010 Catwalk was their 3rd and most successful to date and featured designs from area salons competing for best design and best presentation.

What are your hobbies? When I’ve got some free time I like to go skateboarding, work on art, or just walk around Chicago’s neighborhoods looking for old buildings, graffiti, and other kinds of street art.  I love this city and both the people and places here are perfect for creativity.

If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing instead? As I’ve said, I Love Music.  If I wasn’t a DJ I would still be involved in music some way.  I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13, and I love Circuit Bending.  I re-wire children’s toys into new musical instruments, their analog sound perfect for creating samples and beats for use in your own pieces of music.  I’ve taught and assisted in Circuit Bending classes throughout Chicago and the midwest, including the MCA, the School of The Art Institue of Chicago, DePaul, and The Illinois Institute of Technology.  I have to thank Patrick McCarthy, Tom Stephenson, Dan Layne, and Antoine Kattar for all their help in teaching me how to make incredible electronic music while creating art from someone else’s junk.

Do you have any upcoming shows besides your gig in New York that you want to promote here? On Halloween I’ll be DJing at The Abbey for the Ghostface Killah concert as well as an after party at Betty’s Blue Star Lounge.  On November 19th you can hear me on Vocalo.org and 89.5 FM doing a guest DJ set from 8-9:00 PM CST.  I also have a monthly residency at Subterranean for The Grind presented by the Chicago clothing label, Novem, on Saturday, November 20th.  You can also find out about upcoming events, music, and videos on my blog at http://djdemchuk.blogspot.com