First off congratulations on graduating this year… Let’s just start with the basics…Where are you from?
I grew up in Connecticut, about an hour or so outside of the city.
Which artists influenced you growing up?
I heard a lot of jazz from my dad, miles davis, john coltrane, chet baker. I use to listen to that kind of stuff in car rides with him. I grew up listening to hip hop, puffy had just assumed the alias p. diddy, rockafella was running shit with freeway, memphis bleek, young gunz, mariah carey was crushing it, I remember watching glitter and thinking, “I should be a DJ and date her, huh.” I feel like there was a lot of sample based hip hop coming out at the time. I used to buy CDs and read the liner notes to see where the samples came from. I grew up in an interesting generation, vinyl was gone but not forgotten, CDs ruled the digital world, the mp3 became relevant around the time I turned 13/14. I was able to get my hands on a lot of music; I still have a some mp3’s I downloaded on napster with DJ Clue shout outs all over them.
What school at NYU did you go to? What did you study?
I went to Gallatin. God bless that program, seriously. Let me just repeat that one more time, Gallatin is fucking sensational. I was able to focus on music, and took courses that actually mattered to me. I’m actually the secret bastard child of the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music. I don’t even think they know that. I took 64 credits there. Literally, half of my degree was there. I think that should make me a minor? I’m not sure; I probably just didnt fill out some paperwork to get a minor or something. I made friends with the person who registered kids from different programs in Clive Davis classes. Brought her brownies and shit. Asked her how her day was going and BOOM I was in whatever class I wanted. I went to lectures by Swizz Beatz I wasn’t supposed to; I found that if you usually just show up somewhere and are eager and attentive, NYU will probably accept you. Anyways, I wanna learn how to engineer or how to master a record… okay so take “The Art of Mastering” at 2 PM, and an engineering course with (insert music industry legend here). I looked around at what I was doing with my life and career, and built my degree around that. Took a real estate course to learn more about how commercial real estate works in the city so in case I ever wanted to open a spot, maybe I didn’t need a realtor. Gallatin isn’t a trade school though so I need a concentration in something some what academic. My senior year came around and all I had done was take music courses and DJ’ed and I was like well fuck, lets pull something together. So I made a concentration in the psychology of a performer; a concentration that addressed everything from stage fright to the ethics of nightclubs. Does the short cut to bigger better gigs do you a favor or a disservice, whatever the short cut may be? It was sort of a critique of nightlife too, and the DJs role in it. DJs see a lot of shit. You’re almost an employee of a club. Are you more an employee or an artist?? Should you commodify your labor and not maintain your artistic vision? (I wish cashin’ out had come out 2 years ago, all I would have to say is: DO U CASH OUT OR NO?). Ultimately I combined what I did in my professional life and what I did in the classroom to form a kick ass degree. I cannot repeat this enough: if you’ve already figured out what it is you wanna do or who you want to be, TRANSFER TO GALLATIN and fuckin do it. LIfe is too short for requirements.
Did you dorm?
I never dormed. I actually transferred from Sarah Lawrence my sophomore year. I found a great apartment on Mercer St with a pool on the roof and asked kids what the fuck a dorm was.
Freshman year memories?
None pertaining to NYU, sadly. My freshman year I was at Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, which is 30 minutes outside the city in westchester. I use to take the metro north into the city at 8:45 PM to go DJ, but the last train out was at 1:53 so I’d have to catch the 5:25 AM one to get back to my dorm room in Bronxville. I also use to lug my own mixer around, so I would fall asleep in grand central clutching my backpack and mixer like they were my first born child.
I DJ’ed at [name redacted, a nightclub] and they gave me a free bottle. Standard practice. I had a few sips out of it, and popped the cork back in it (it was Patron Silver) and stashed it in my backpack, almost like a little snack for later. DJ the night, go home, pass out. Woke up at 11:30 AM, my class started half an hour ago, had an oh fuck moment, grabbed my stuff and sprinted to class. Walked into the lecture hall in the stern building, the big one and found a seat at the back. I sling my backpack off my shoulder and half way to the ground I realize its my DJ bag. OH fuck, the patron is in the outside pocket. My bag hits the ground and the patron bottle EJECTS like a cork coming out of a champagne bottle. This thing starts rolling down the stairs of the massive lecture hall. Clink clink clink, I swear to god, it got louder with each stair. About half way down, the actually top of the bottle comes out, and patron starts guzzling out everywhere. The bottle comes to rest at the feet of the professor (who actually didn’t speak english very well, I’m not sure how he was teaching a course on economics..) Talk about fucking awkward.
Also, I’ve taken out my laptop in class (having not shut down Serato the night before), opened my computer, and “RACK CITY BITCH, RACK RACK CITY, UGHH RACK CITY BITCH RACK RACK CITY, 10 10 20 ON YO TITTIES BITCH” starts blaring from my laptop speakers amidst a discussion on political justice and social welfare.
Why and when did you start Deejaying? First gigs?
I started when I was thirteen, I’ll spare you with the typical-parents-records-learned-in-my-bedroom story (haha, but I did do that). My first gig was at the now defunct One Little West 12th for 150 bucks I think, maybe even free. I worked for an awful awful douche-of-a-promoter who will remain unnamed. This guy told me NOT to play “any of that cheesy old 80’s shit” on the NIGHT michael jackson died. Horrible. But it was a good way to be introduced to nightlife, at the bottom with a long way to go. There’s a series of certain spots that everyone on the come-up plays at first; Su Casa (gone), 205 (also gone), Antik, La Zarza.. I did all of those, it was fun and shit pay, but I loved it. I was so green and so excited just to DJ.
Tell me about being signed to 4am.
I met Jonny very early on, and hes been like an older brother to me, much like everyone else. 4AM is great. It’s a gathering of industry heavy weights that vouch for you. It’s a brand. If you’re on 4AM you don’t suck. In fact, you’re fucking awesome.
You travel monthly now… between ATL & LA, what’s “that life” like?
I love traveling. I actually enjoy flying. I’m sure this will change in 100k + miles. A group of my close friends moved to LA or live there, so going to spin out there is great, I have a whole crew of close friends I get to see and stay with. Traveling and DJing is definitely a chore though, you miss out on things like Sunday’ing (cleaning your whole apt and watching HBO) because you’re flying home. But the juice is worth squeeze if you ask me.
You recently put up tv wall mounting tutorials on instagram along with picture of quite an impressive production studio, what kind of music are you making?
Ha! Yeah. Whenever I don’t know how to do something, I like to figure it out myself. People rely on others too much to do stuff for them; mount a tv, deliver food, etc. I’m a TV mounting expert after doing it 10+ times haha. I built my studio from scratch. Not a Mac pro, keyboard, headphones and torrented fruit loops, I mean a real studio. Analogue gear, good monitors, acoustically treated the room. I do a lot of engineering, I’m working on a full mix/master of this artist’s album this summer. I work a lot with my production sidekick/friend/partner DJ Fresh Direct too.
Hmm… Different restaurants for different things. Late night eats: Bubby’s, Waverly diner on 6th and L’express. Blue Ribbon is up there of course. I eat meals at weird times, so late night eats are what came to mind first
#NowPlaying? spectrum by zedd, great track
Nightlife needs [fill in blank] bigger clubs. More clubs. Not lounges. Not quaint rooms. Large nightclubs.
NYU taught me [fill in blank] how to make the system work for me, not work for the system.
This one time, I was deejaying and [fill in blank] told lindsay lohan to go fuck herself by accident. We ended up chilling after someone told me who she was.
As a graduate, what’s next?
Music. And life.