Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: HMI World
|Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:37 pm Post subject: INTERVIEW WITH DJ IRV: INSIDE THE MIND OF A DJ (READ)!
DJ IRV of New Jersey answers some questions from KM on DJ LIFE and the HMI. You can check him out in our DJ STATION SERIES in the "THE IRV EXPERIENCE" DJ STATION #2 on
1) Tell us about yourself and how you became a DJ? Why did you choose your DJ Name? How did THAT name come about?
IRV: What’s up everyone? My name is Irving. Born in NYC and raised in Brooklyn. I’m a software engineer with a MBA degree from Rutgers University. I live in NJ with my wife and two daughters.
I must say Dj’ing is fun (it’s a hobby). It’s a least expensive hobby then maintaining the supercharged M3 which I barely drive. So I’m also into fast cars.
I used to Dj some house parties back in the day. My cousins started it since they had equipment in their basement and we used to mix house, R&B, Hip-Hop and Reggae. I wasn’t into Kompa back then… only heard it at parties or when my parents played it at the house. I always liked it, but didn’t listen to it independently. About seven years ago, after graduation, I started listening to Kompa and my passion for it just grew. I had a lot of catching up to do so I went back… I mean started with old school, such as Top Vice. Started getting familiar quick… even blasting it my car and all.
A co-worker of mine heard the music and was shocked. He had no idea I was Haitian. That’s when it started. He hooked me up with music and I got more into the HMI world. Next thing you know, I’m hitting the “Bal” scene. This got me even more excited. Wow, I couldn’t believe live Kompa sounded so good. I still enjoy other genres today, but Kompa excites me the most… it was in my blood all these years. Dancing to it with a woman is like making love. Who doesn’t like that? I married me a Haitian woman.
My cousin, Dj Dre, from NJ does gigs all over NJ, such as D-Club, Club Venue, etc. and private parties. He be killin’ it at the clubs. That’s another inspiration to add on top of it. A big shout out to my cuzzz.
Then I started listening to Kompa online now. The craving grew even more. I remember the 1st one being a live mix on Youtube by Dj WaWa (that’s my boy). Next thing you know, I’m buying equipment and started messing around with mixing. I caught on pretty quickly, I think. That was less than 2 years ago. I had friends over the house and they started going crazy when they saw me mixing. They said you have to put it online, do parties or something. My friends were also a fan. That moment really motivated me. So I started sharing mixes online, getting crazy compliments and receiving offers to do parties.
Most people call me “Irv” for short… so I said, “Why not?” I saw no need in putting much effort into it. I never thought the name means much anyway. I see hyped-up Dj names and some don’t live up to it. I rather be the opposite of that. I battle myself to do better. I’m my own competition. If another Dj is at a high level, why should kill myself with advanced stuff. I mastered the basics first and advanced from there… at my own pace.
2) Your favorite HMI band/artist is.....?
That seems to change on a yearly basis. Right… it is KLASS. Klass it is, baby! They have a great album. Ultimately, it has always been Kreyol La. I love their grooves, especially live.
3) How can you tell that a song is going to be a HIT before it actually does? Name one song that you predicted would be a hit and it actually did?
IRV: This happens a lot. Recently, I knew ‘Pitit Deyo’ would be a hit when I first got the album. Most people I spoke to were mainly feeling ‘Fel Vini Avan’ when it first came out, which is nice too.
4) Which artist/band produces the best 'DJ FRIENDLY" songs? (Easy for DJS to mix)...tell us why?
IRV: With the right combo, you can mix anything, but I would say Kompa is not easy at all. The grooves/tempos are constantly changing. You have to know when that window of opportunity comes to do that transition or blend, if you want it smooth. If you don’t care for it to be smooth, then just drop the beat. Even fast Kompa songs start out slow so you can’t mix them out too fast; people are waiting for it to climax.
Some genres start with a certain tempo and ends the same way, not usually the case with Kompa. They are more Dj friendly. Plus, some other genres have instrumentals and acapella versions so you can do lots more.
5) How is the HMI scene in YOUR town?
IRV: My town is pretty dead in terms of the HMI scene. I mean they don’t even sell that big 40lb sack of rice around here. Lol. My mom’s town, Irvington (30 mins away), has that HMI scene where there are stores, such as C.A.M., Haitian restaurant/grocery stores, and music stores where you can buy albums and tickets for upcoming events.
6) Do you feel that DJs get the respect they deserve from the bands/fans or not?
IRV: It depends on the person. With anything in this world, you get what you put out. Period! It all depends on your music selection, reading the crowd and knowing how to keep people on the dance floor. Use different types of mixing techniques to keep it interesting and try to be unique. Set yourself apart from others and make the crowd go “Wow”. It’s even better if you’re not the type to hate on others. Supporting others can go a long way in achieving respect.
7) What natural skills do you need in order to become a DJ?
IRV: Have to know many types of music in general… not just your favorites. It helps to be on the out-going side. You need to pay close attention to sound, have great rhythm, know the music you’re playing in and out to produce great mixes. Definitely be a people’s person by having the right attitude and self-confidence, but not cocky. Master beat-matching, not just dropping beats from the next track. There is a time for that… just not all the time. If you can mix in two songs smoothly that has strong beats, then you’re practically good.
Your favorite HMI cd that you never get tired of listening to. Why?
IRV: Oh man… DP Express, Gemini All Stars with Ti Manno. My mom and pop used to play them all the time and use to hear it at parties when I was little. I don’t listen to it much, but when I hear it once in a blue moon, I enjoy. Songs like, “David” makes me feel proud to be Haitian.
Dj-Irv (sou kompa)