You work hard for years on growing a blog, and you get to do things you never imagined you'd get to do. For me, one of those opportunities happened last month, when I had the chance to interview DJ Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip, who were in town to judge the Red Bull 3Style DJ West Regional competition. I was under the weather but rallied for the interview and competition.
With only a few minutes, I asked them both about their thoughts on Seattle, the 3Style competition, the evolution of DJing, and social media's impact on the industry.
What are your favorite things about Seattle?
Jazzy Jeff (JJ): I love the air here. The beautiful weather. Seattle has a rich music culture from DV (One), Jake One, all the rock acts, etc.
Z-Trip (ZT): I love the climate. People front on the rain! The people here are cool. The music.
What are your thoughts on the 3Style competition so far?
JJ: We've been doing this for 3-4 years now, and it's the best DJ competition out there. Just seeing the overall progression of the DJs - track selection, mixing, creativity. We're watching the future.
ZT: There are clear winners, and others need to learn fundamentals. Overall I think they push further each year. Articulate better. The nature is friendly competition, but they pay attention to the criticism too.
(2012 3Style winner) FourColorZack is from Seattle. How has he impacted this year's competition?
JJ: FCZ is incredible. His music knowledge, diversity, intelligence. His style is so clean. You can see people emulating him.
How has social media changed the industry? Are you active in it?
JJ: Yeah, I've been active in it for awhile. I've had a good team around me to keep me active on it. MySpace, Instagram, Twitter. It's cool to keep yourself around younger people and take people along in your journey. Some of my most popular (Instagram) posts have been random, like what's in my cart when I'm grocery shopping. I lost my mixer in Miami once, and I tweeted that I lost it. A fan drove out and brought me his, and he sat in the booth with me. That was awesome.
ZT: When DJ P and I released the Uneasy Listening Volume 1 mix, we made a thousand copies on CD. When you opened the case, it said "Best CD I own" on the front. That way, when someone was flipping through their friends' CDs in the car looking for something to play, they'd play that one first because it literally said, "This is the best CD I own." That shit went viral. After a year, it had so many downloads on Napster. Rolling Stone and Spin covered it. That was probably my first experience with "social." It was awesome.
(I also asked Jazzy Jeff about how the Fresh Prince show has affected him. Did it help or hurt his credibility?)
JJ: TV made me known, and that's cool. If I'm spinning, and someone remembers me from the show and is like, "Whoa, you DJ too?" it only helps me. It's cool seeing the show stick around and reach new audiences - younger, international.
Thank you so much, gentlemen!
It's always captivating to watch someone masterfully weave together song after song. Few DJs have the style, creativity, song selection ability and finesse to truly keep the crowd moving all night long. The five DJs who competed for the West regional spot definitely had it, but it was Seattle-bred, Las Vegas-based DJ Scene who came out on top. Listen to his winning mix below:
Last year's winner, Seattle's own FourColorZack spun a short set while we awaited the results. Fool's Gold's A-Trak closed the night with an amazing dance party that was definitely worth forcing my sick body to stay for.
Who'll win the national finals? Find out this Friday! If you're in L.A., check it out live.