Interview with DJ DAY ( Piecelock 70 )

June 17, 2013

DJ DAY has toured the world many times over as a solo artist and with fellow musicians Aloe Blacc, Exile and People Under the Stairs. Amongst numerous accolades, he was nominated for Song of the Year awards both by the BBC and The Village Voice and his music has been licensed for commercials by DC Shoes, Red Bull Music Academy, Rane/Serato, and numerous full length feature films. Day recently returned from from touring Russia, Europe and New Zealand to finish and release his new album Land Of 1000 Chances on Piecelock 70

DJ Day palm springs
How did you first get involved with music? We're you a DJ first or did you have formal training?

I think my earliest memory of music is of my mom playing records in the house as a kid. I was exposed to a lot of different genres (from Donny Hathaway & MJ to the Grease OST & the Beatles). I took drums in Jr. High band and choir in High School. Haha, but no formal training besides that. I didn't even see videos of other DJ's until long after I taught myself in my bedroom. 

When did the DJ thing turn into something you could see yourself doing for a living? 
Around 2005 or so. I had come out with some records on MPM and that helped boost my visibility a bit.
How did you first get involved with producing? 

I had one of those old Gemini 12 second samplers and a hand me down 2 track from my pops. I would sample anything and just experiment. My whole thing back then was layering and finding samples that were in the right key. I think that did a lot to shape my overall outlook on production. 

DJ Day record player
What was the process like for creating the most recent record? 

Long and kind of agonizing, but in the end I'm happy with how it turned out. There was a lot going on at the time I was making it and a lot of those personal things bled into the album. I recorded the bulk of it here in my studio and then went down to San Pedro where I recorded the rest with studio musicians & Thes One. The latter was definitely the highlight of the whole process. We'd wake up, go to the beach where I'd bust my ass trying to surf, head back and work all day/night and drink Green Fin while we listened to the days work. Then wake up and do it again. Good times. 

Any tips for traveling DJs out there? 

Plan ahead and step your packing game up. Nobody is above washing their underwear in the sink. Learn (at least) "please", "hello" and "thank you" in the language of whatever country you're in. Try to make time to see some things. The first time I went to Paris I was there less than 24hrs. I didn't even sleep in the hotel room! It was just to the gig and to the airport. You don't wanna go to a city like that and not experience anything. 

Worst thing to happen to you at a gig? 

I was on tour with People Under the Stairs a couple years ago and had my bag stolen from the stage the first night. I ended up tracking the guy down and, remarkably, he mailed it all back, but not before I had to buy all new shit. I had my computer crash at peaktime with a packed floor in Chicago. I got on the mic and got people to clap while I grabbed a record and rebooted. There's also the time some crazy lady demanded I play "Dirty Diana" and thought cramming $20 in $1's in my underwear was the way to do it. I never played it. 

Whats next for you? Are you planning on touring with the new record?

I did a 3 week tour in Europe when the record dropped. I'm focusing on making music more than touring at this point. Experimenting with some new directions. 
How are you liking your Cosmo Baker North To South bag? 

Haha, I love it! At first I was mainly using it for local gigs, but I've been taking it on the road and it still looks brand new. I know the level of excellence both Tucker & Bloom and Cosmo strive for and that's evident in the care and crafting of this bag. 

DJ Day fender rhodes

Make sure to buy the new album by Day, Land of 1,000 Chances, it is honestly one of our favorite releases of this year. Another great one. This video for VQ has a quick appearance by the Cosmo Baker North To South around 2.30


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