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DJ AUDIO1 – #FeatureFriday Interview

DJ Audio1 - DJ Monopoli

As we proceed! This week I have another incredibly talented DJ hailing from the Bay area, DJ Audio1. One of the primary reasons that I created this concept of #FeatureFriday is to highlight individuals who are not only passionate and skilled, but who positively contribute to the growth of the DJ community. I started following Audio1 via social media several years ago and instantly picked up on his infectious energy, diverse musical knowledge, and versatility. It’s my pleasure to introduce you all to, DJ Audio1!

Monopoli: What’s up, Audio1?! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the #FeatureFriday movement, I really appreciate it. Let’s jump right in – where did DJ’ing all begin for you?

Audio1: 1991. Age of 11. I was in an after school program for at-risk latino youth in middle school. We were being mentored by Latino college students. My mentor was named Orlando, and he was a DJ. He would tell me stories about the clubs and parties they rocked, and it really interested me. Needless to say, DJing kept me away from ever joining gangs and that lifestyle.

Orlando came to DJ a lunch time event at the school. He let me stand behind him and watch how he was doing things behind the turntables, then he told me, “Hey. Start picking records out and hand them to me”. It was an intoxicating feeling for a kid, and I knew from that moment forward that this is what I wanted to do with my life. We used a Fisher stereo system with a belt-drive turntable on top and 2 realistic tape decks with pitch control. I later purchased 2 Technics 1200s, a Gemini Scratchmaster mixer and a Tascam 424 Multi-Track. To this day, I continue to use the same Technics 1200s.

Monopoli: Wow – 11 years old! So when were you able to land your first event?

Audio1: I linked up with a local DJ crew, AIM 2 PLEEZ, and befriended DJ MK2. I bought my turntables from him. He let me tag along to their events. I was 15 at the time and this event was a Sorority party. I helped set up, Get records ready, and at one point, They were like “Yeah. We are gonna go talk to some girls. It’s on you bro!”. Very nerve racking but I got the job done.

Monopoli: Damn! Nerve racking to say the least! Always got to be ready because you never know when that opportunity may arise. So you started at 11 and had your first opportunity at 15, but what inspired you to take the next step?

Audio1: Meeting my school mentor Orlando, but also meeting a good friend of mine, Randy Taylor-Weber. He was a DJ, producer and songwriter. He penned “In A Dream” by Rockell, which became one of the biggest freestyle dance songs at the time. He was selling CD’s and mixtapes at the local swap meet. He handed me one of his mixtapes, and my creative juices took over from there. If watching Orlando didn’t do it, the mixtapes that Randy gave me really got me inspired to put different pieces of music together.

Monopoli: Aside from Orlando & Randy, were there any other DJ’s who you looked up to at that time?

Audio1: I came up listening to the local mixshow DJs so those guys were like gods to us. Jazzy Jim, Greg Lopez, Scotty Fox, Vicious V, Majestic Chris, Ajax & Billy Vidal. Crazy that I am now friends with all of them. I’ve taken influence by many hip-hop, drum&bass, house and dance music DJs and producers in the past two decades. Too many to list.

Today, I am heavily inspired by Vice, A-Trak, Craze & Diplo. Their DJing and movements that they have created are a source of inspiration to get to their level one day. I’m currently watching ESKEI83 from Germany doing a live set on Facebook Live video. Inspiring to the mix. So raw.

Monopoli: I can definitely tell you and I share the same affinity for turntables and DJ’s who push the boundaries of genres. Are there any DJ’s who sparked your current style and helped shape your career?

Audio1: Z-Trip and DJ AM both inspire my style. They opened the flood gates to creativity as a DJ in the 2000s, by making it the norm to mix open format music. I always loved many genres, but for years you had to pick a side. You were a Hip-Hop DJ or a House DJ. Guys like them broke the barriers down to where I can play Rap with New Wave, Drum & Bass with Pop, and so on.

Greg J from Crooklyn Clan. He was a big breakbeat/rave DJ in the SF Bay Area, and he started making big moves into the Vegas Style/Open Format market. At the time, I was only playing hip-hop and drum&bass at raves, but he talked to me, and made it clear that “open format” was the future. I am really happy I took his advice because the past 10 years have been incredible. He got me my first business cards, first marketing and branding, logos, everything. He got me a copy of Acid Pro and that is how I began my edits and production game in 2006. He helped cement who I have become and I am extremely thankful for that.

Monopoli: That’s so dope! One recurring theme I’ve noticed in these interviews is the incredible support that each DJ received throughout their career. No one can be successful without the help of their peers! So when did you decide on your DJ name, Audio1? What’s the story behind it?

Audio1: We had a BBOY crew in High school and I was the guy who always had a boombox and mixtapes in his backpack, so my friends started calling me “The AUDIO Man” or “AUDIO1” as a graffiti reference. It’s been my name since about 1995.

Monopoli: Do you currently DJ full time? If so, how were you able to get to that point?

Audio1: I finally went full-time DJ in January 2014, when I was laid off from my position as a lead tech support engineer at an aviation technology firm. I am educated and have many years of experience in the telecom and tech fields, but my love for music and DJing is greater. If things don’t pan out, I have that to fall back on, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. DJing has been treating me really well. That is really there is to it. If you decide to go full-time, make sure you have plan A, B, C & D. It is a big gamble, especially financially. Prepare to work harder than ever.

Monopoli: There’s absolutely no substitute for hard work, that’s for sure. I decided to make the jump in April of 2015, but I vividly remember reading your posts about making the transition. It definitely inspired me – so thank you for that!

With the industry so rapidly changing, there are constant exchanges on social media regarding it’s current state and where things are headed. What’s your take on the DJ industry today?

Audio1: If you are great at what you do and can bring value to the clubs and events to you DJ at, you are set. The industry is doing really well. I am happy that I am allowed to do what I want musically at all the places I play at.

We live in a time where we are all connected via text, email and social media, yet you find lots of miscommunication occuring. Pay is also a big issue these days. With everyone being a DJ in today’s society, you have people who are willing to play for next to nothing. Its a shame a lot of promoters and venue owners take advantage of that fact, but I always say, you get what you pay for. If you are worth more, prove it. Definitely a few things that can be improved, but overall things are great in the DJ industry.

Monopoli: As someone who started DJ’ing during the vinyl days, how do you feel about all of the technological advancements in the industry? Seems like everyday there’s a new piece of gear coming out!

Audio1: At first I was real skeptical, but in time, technology helped me advance in my career. You cannot simply ignore technology anymore. Music comes out every single day, and developers are creating new algorhythms and software updates every week. We have to stay on top of everything. I won’t knock on DJs for sticking to their guns and only playing one format of music or using one platform to DJ with, but they truly are doing themselves a disservice by not embracing technology.

Monopoli: So what do you currently rock on? What is your preferred setup?

Audio1: My preference will always be Technics 1200’s and any mixer. I love the Rane 62 for the battle mixers, and the standard Pioneer club mixers. I can also play on CDJs and any aftermarket controller. Serato ScratchLive continues to be my DVS of choice, and I only use SeratoDJ when necessary, usually when utilized with a Pioneer controller. Smart DJs will be proficient across all DJ platforms.

Monopoli: As someone who has embraced the evolution in technology, how are you using it to help shape your current DJ style?

Audio1: I am very OCD, so technology is great, as I have the ability to edit songs to suit my playing style, which is very fast, ADD & to the point. Why play a 6 minute song when you can get to the meat of it and only play 2 minutes and get the same results. Today, I can get a track in my inbox, edit it, and play it out that same night. I can make a tune and test drive it the same night. With the new SeratoDJ, you can make edits on the fly. Its evolving really fast.

Monopoli: As a DJ who has worked at their craft for many years and has experienced a great deal of success in a variety of markets, what advice would you give those DJ’s just starting out? What does it really take to be a successful DJ these days?

Audio1: Go out. How are you going to get DJ gigs and opportunities if you never go out and reach out to people in your industry. Show face. Let people know who you are and that you are available to work with them. Bring something unique to the table. Practice mixing every day.

It takes a lot to be successful. As A DJ, you have keep your ears to the streets. You have to keep your eyes peeled for the things that are trending. Lots of music coming out every day and it came be tough at times to keep up with everything that is deemed popular or worthy of being played. I believe that being unique and individual with your DJing and music can truly set you apart from the competition.

Marketing and Branding are extremely important today. How do you stand out from others, and how clubs/venues see your brand helping them out in the long run. Having a great relationship with DJs, Producers, Club owners, Promoters, club staff, and most importantly, the partygoers themselves. If there is no hype around you, it can be a tough sell with some places.

Monopoli: I 100% agree with everything you just said. You have to be on point in every facet of the game and treat it like a full fledged business. So what is Audio1 working on these days?

Audio1: I’m currently focused on this INTL PARTY project. INTL PARTY is a multi-genre DJ & production crew from the SF Bay Area consisting of BEN OFFICIAL, NOUX & yours truly AUDIO1, plus our closest DJ & producer friends. We rock parties across the SF Bay Area & US, and have official releases out on all major digital outlets including iTunes, Amazon & Beatport. We combine all these forces and influence to create unique, forward thinking electronic music. We have a lot of original music and remixes in the world. Tons of collaborations with producers such as E-ROCK, Clayton William, SpydaT.E.K, Trentino, DIBSMGM & many more. We are currently on the #WTFISAGENRE wave, where we are able to produce everything, from future house to twerk, trap, hip-hop, breakbeats, house, soulection style. The sky is the limit. Rock these parties and make what we call “Future Hits”.

Monopoli: Always been a fan of your edits, so I’m most definitely excited to hear what you guys are cooking up! What are some of the goals you have for your career? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Audio1: I’ve done pretty well for myself as a DJ alone, but Production and Remix work is the next step up to better events, better pay, travel & festivals. That is the focus at this time.

I see myself playing at festivals around the world. That would be a dream come true. I have original music out and I will work every day towards my long-term goals and success in the music industry. I have big goals, such as running my own record label, running music distribution outlet and even my own DJ booking agency. The sky is the limit. I don’t see myself ever doing anything else but music, DJing and production.

Quick word of advice for all DJ’s: When you get your DJ name, make sure to secure the same name on all social media outlets. Having different screen names for everything can confuse people. Make sure your name is the same on every social media and music site out there. Basically, find a username that works and is available on all platforms. Pay it forward.

Monopoli: That’s great advice. I have a strong feeling we will be seeing the name Audio1 for many, many years to come and I look forward to it! Any final words for all the people reading?

Audio1: Much love to all the DJs, producers and all the music lovers out there across the globe for the endless support. Email me: djaudio1music@gmail.com so I can send you my latest edits & remixes for FREE. Let’s connect!!

Big shoutout to my 3 crews: INTL PARTY, CARTEL SF & KLUTCH BEAT!!

Monopoli: YES – DJ’s! Hop on that email blast ASAP. Trust me. Audio1! Thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of the #FeatureFriday movement. I look forward to linking up with you again soon! Much respect! Lastly, where can viewers find you?

Audio1: All social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud at @djaudio1. Thanks, Monopoli!

 

Check out Audio1’s upcoming schedule:

– NYE 2016 at Taste Nightclub, Santa Clara, California. www.tasteonline.biz for tix & details.

– Feb 6th 2016. DJing World Town stage at #SuperCity50 at O.Co Coliseum, Oakland. Headliners include Alesso, Diplo, Chainsmokers, Chuckie, Showtek & more. www.supercity50.com for tix & details.

– Tuesdays at San Jose Bar & Grill, San Jose, CA with Ben Official & INTL PARTY

– Wednesdays at Rosie McCann’s Santana Row, San Jose, CA

– 2nd & 4th Saturdays at Mr. Smiths, San Francisco, CA

– Monthly residency at Opal Nightclub, Mountain View, CA

– Monthly residency at Charley’s, Los Gatos, CA

– Monthly residency at Taste Nightclub, Santa Clara,CA

– Monthly residency at Peek at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV

– Monthly residency at SKY at Graton Casino, Rohnert Park, CA

– Monthly residency at Lounge at LaRosa, Santa Rosa, CA

– Monthly residency at Tope, San Francisco, CA

– Coming soon: New electronic music weekly event at Somar, Oakland, CA