Known for trap remixes and his impressive collection of beanies, Hollywood’s DJCJ is quickly becoming a staple of the LA nightlife scene.
The LA native can be found at some of Hollywood’s most popular venues, including Avalon, Lure, and even the Playboy Mansion. He has also performed with a variety of talent, including rappers Akon and the Game and producers Carnage and Party Favor.
How did you get into music?
When I was nine I got really into gangsta rap and I actually wanted to be a rapper. Then I realized I wasn’t hardcore enough, but that was my first breakthrough with music. I was at the record store every weekend, playing different rap albums and whatnot, and that habit stuck with me. I’m always consuming as much and as many different types of music as I can.
I started playing in a band in high school. We played the House of Blues and a handful of other places. What I noticed with the band dynamic is when you have five different heads, not everyone is on the same page all the time. That’s why the band eventually fell apart and why years later I ended up doing my own thing.
So you went from wanting to be a rapper to being in a band to being a DJ. How did DJ’ing come about?
I never thought in a million years I would ever be a DJ. After the band dissipated, I went to school to study jazz guitar. My second year in I got carpal tunnel, so I had to stop playing. It really shook my life up and I was depressed for months.
Eventually I started going out in Hollywood just because there was nothing else to do. I became infatuated with nightlife. I looked at people who were throwing these parties, and I thought to myself, “if these guys can do that I can too?” So I just threw myself into the fire.
I started living in my friend’s closet and just worked my ass off. Later I was able to pay my rent through the money I was making from parties, but I still always had that yearning to perform. I randomly started looking at what producers were doing, making music all day, going to nightclubs, and DJ’ing and performing their music. I had no idea this was what a producer did, but I knew I could do it.
What’s your favorite type of music to play?
When I’m performing, I don’t stick to one genre. I’m doing a little bit of everything, but at the same time it flows. I’ll be doing trap and then the next song could be house and the next song could be commercial hip hop that you might hear on Kiss FM. However, I’m doing it in a way that all works together to create a really good energy in the room.
What would you say to people who think all DJs do is push buttons?
Not true. We also fist pump. (Laughs)
What club in Hollywood is your favorite to play?
That’s a tough question. Every venue is very different, and with experience every DJ learns how to read a room. Bootsy Bellows is a mix of cool kids and celebrities who don’t fist pump or jump up and down, but there will be a really sexy vibe all night. Ohm is the complete opposite end of the spectrum. It’s an 18+ club where anyone with $20 can get in. They come there and just want to jump up and down all night and sing at the top of their lungs to every song. There’s a time and place for both. I couldn’t really choose a favorite, but both of those are great places to play.
When you go out, what’s your drink of choice?
Fireball cinnamon whiskey. It’s what all the cool kids drink.
There’s a big emphasis on style in the DJ scene. What’s your favorite place to shop in LA?
Popkiller is a Japanese owned store, and it’s their take on American pop culture. They sell really funny stuff—lots of cat shirts. It’s perfect for someone like me who likes to stand out. How unique your style is determines how people remember you.
Where do you hangout in your downtime?
I think it’s really important for any DJ/producer to go out and be among the scene. You can’t only know your own work. You have to go out there and see what other people are doing. Become inspired by something you otherwise wouldn’t have known existed. I recently went to Nocturnal Wonderland, my first rave in a couple years, and it was so inspiring to see where I could be if I continue to work my ass off.
What’s next for you?
Expect a lot more music, everything from remixes to originals to mixtapes. Music production is what separates the boys from the men. It’s what will take you from a local DJ to an “artist” that plays all over the world.