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Thursday, June 2, 2016

DJ Wreckineyez on How To Be A Good Club DJ, Touring with Asher Roth, and Riding Jet Skis at Diddy's House

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 9:57 AM

click to enlarge HANNIBAL MATHEWS
  • Hannibal Mathews
As tour DJ and podcast partner to party rapper Asher Roth, DJ Wreckineyez has spent the past few years on and off traveling the world, DJing stadiums, and creating memories of pranks gone wrong, jet ski adventures, and having dinner at P. Diddy’s house. Starting his musical career over 15 years ago with hip-hop and breakdancing culture as inspirations, the party rocking DJ has come a long way since his first gig DJing a volleyball marathon in high school. We got a chance to talk to him about the P. Diddy party, his creative moniker, and his dream all-star DJ lineup. He DJs this Friday [6/3] at Mixologi x SF featuring Just Blaze at 1015 Folsom

What was your first ever DJ experience like?

The first real gig I remember doing, outside of small house parties, was a volleyball marathon at my high school. I didn't have many records at the time, and I recall only one of my turntables was working. I had to resort to playing songs I recorded off the radio, from a tape deck, and random CDs. I barely knew how to beat match and would just baby scratch songs in. No one in my school DJ’d, so it was pretty exciting for me. I didn't even get paid, but it was worth it for the experience.

How did you come up with your moniker?
I had a couple of names before Wreckineyez. I started off going by DJ Perplex and then DJ Echo…neither really stuck though. My crew always joked around and would say, "You better recognize" or "You wreck'd it," when holding it down in the breakdance circles. One day, my buddy Pat Padgett told me I should change my name to “Recognize,” but spell it "Wreckineyez," because of the whole "eyes" thing and because I wore glasses. I thought it was a cool idea and it stuck. Rest in peace to my buddy Pat. He was the reason I started breakdancing.

In your 15 years of DJing, what elements have you found it takes to be a good club DJ?
There's a lot involved in being a good club DJ, but I think the most important thing is knowing how to read and rock a crowd. You have to know your audience and be versatile to take them in different directions. Obviously a good club DJ needs to know how to smoothly transition records, but being creative while doing it is what makes DJs stand out from the rest. Anyone can get the hottest records at the moment and learn how to beat match, but DJ’s that mix records creatively through scratching, word play, tone play, utilizing the microphone, and stuff are the ones that are great. The crowd feeds off the DJ’s energy, so having that crowd commanding presence is also important.

Tell us about your podcast "Radical Magical" with Asher Roth. 
"Radical Magical" is a podcast Asher Roth and I started a few years back. We would put the mixes on SoundCloud every few months, and then it turned into us doing a weekly show on Dash Radio. Every week we come up with different musical themes like music to BBQ to, best hip-hop posse tracks of all time, or 90's R&B, and we'd usually have a guest. We pretty much just hang out, have a few drinks, talk about random/funny stuff, and play music we like. We took a break from the show, because we were on tour in Europe for a month, but plan on starting it back up again. 
You're also Asher Roth’s tour DJ. What's the craziest thing you've seen while on tour?
There have been some pretty memorable moments, but since Memorial Day just passed, one story definitely sticks out. Memorial Day weekend 2009, we were in Miami. We had a performance the night before, and after the show, our boy Shav's cousin had a little too much to drink. Shav drew something huge and embarrassing on his cousin's back while he was passed out. The plan was to get him to take off his shirt, at the hotel pool, the next day, so everyone could see it.

Long story short, we didn't go to the pool, but randomly ended up at Puff Daddy's house for a BBQ…just our crew of eight dudes, Diddy, Cassie, and his housekeepers. I ended up getting pulled over by boat cops, while riding one of Diddy's jet skis. I was only going like 50 mph hour, but my buddies had been going like 90 and the residents on the Star Island called the cops. The cops thought I was the one speeding. They ran the plates on the jet ski and asked whose it was/where I was coming from. I told them it was Diddy's jet ski and I was over there for a BBQ. They didn't believe me and after running the plates, the jet ski came up reported stolen. I started panicking and thought I had just got Diddy caught with a stolen jet ski. They had the jet ski tied to the police boat for at least 30 minutes, until a lady called in on the walkie talkie saying that the jet ski was in fact Diddy's and it wasn't stolen. His assistant came looking for me and the cops let me go. It was all pretty embarrassing…I didn't even know how to start the jet ski back up.

Best part about this story is that during the time I was held by the cops, everyone had got Shav's cousin to take his shirt off. As I was walking back to the group, they had the camera recording, and was asking me what happened. At that moment, Diddy comes walking out of his house yelling, "My man! What the hell is that on your back?!" That's when our boy's cousin realized there was something huge and embarrassing drawn on him. It was all perfect timing. We then had this amazing dinner with Diddy, and out of nowhere, Busta Rhymes walked in. It was pretty surreal to me.

What's your dreaded club faux pas?
Dreaded club faux pas…hmmm. I'd have to say when annoyingly drunk people won't stop requesting the same song or asking for a shout out, especially after the DJ has already played the song and/or has given the shout out. It's even worse when they don't know the name of the song or artist they're requesting, but spend a ton of time trying to explain it to you.

Assemble your all-star DJ lineup. Who would it consist of?
All-star DJ lineup? That's a tough one, because there's so many amazing DJs out there, and so many I look up to. My favorite DJ and biggest influence is Jazzy Jeff. I'm my opinion, he's the greatest party rocker of all time, and is the definition of a true DJ/turntablist. His impact on the DJ game is like no other. He can do it all. I'm also a huge fan of The Beat Junkies, DJ Revolution, A-Trak, Craze, Invisibl Skratch Piklz, X-Ecutioners, and the list can go on…too many to name. All of them are dope DJs and turntablists who are innovative and skilled. Not only can they scratch and do all the tricks, but can rock parties too.

What's your musical mantra?
I would say my musical mantra is anything with soul in it. It's gotta feel good.

This Friday, you'll be spinning at 1015 with Just Blaze. What's your favorite track by him?
Just Blaze is one of my favorite producers of all time, so it's tough to just pick on track. Freeway "Flipside," Joe Budden "Fire," Memphis Bleek "War," Fabolous "Breathe," and Saigon "Come on Baby" are ones that definitely come to mind. Looking forward to opening up for him. He puts on a great show.
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Christina Li


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