A party ain’t a party without a DJ. We’ve partnered with McDonald’s to shine a spotlight on 10 turntable assassins across the country who introduce the music to the masses and keep heads moving, whether you’re in the car, club, or at a concert. With an undeniable ear for talent, these tastemakers have turned hometown stars into household names.
To kick off our series, we head to the West Coast. Before Kanye West and Lady Gaga became megastars, DJ Reflex was breaking their records on Los Angeles radio station Power 106. As one of the most influential players in the L.A. music scene, the 30-year-old celebrity DJ and businessman can be heard in the mix daily. When he’s not on the radio, he’s busy with his residencies in L.A. and Las Vegas, spinning at parties for Beyoncé and Tom Cruise, and producing his debut album for release next spring.
The North Hollywood resident, who calls Kanye and Common friends, spoke to Rap-Up.com about getting styled for the Grammys by the Louis Vuitton Don, his favorite current records, who we should be looking out for in 2012, and the one artist who always gets the party started. Step to DJ Reflex’s beat.
1. What city do you rep?
Based out of Los Angeles.
2. How long have you been a DJ?
I’ve been DJing over 15 years and I probably wanted to DJ 10 years before that!
3. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently producing my debut album, due out spring 2012, while remixing records for artists such as Dev, Foster the People, Enrique Iglesias, Lloyd, and more. I DJ on Power 106 Los Angeles seven days a week at noon for “The Power Party Mix,” which I created to bring a high-energy club mix to help L.A. get through their work day, as well as Wednesday nights at midnight for “The Takeover,” which I created to break new music and the artists that are tomorrow’s stars. I also stay busy DJing shows worldwide when I’m not playing my residencies in L.A. and Las Vegas.
4. How did you get your first big break?
I really used my platform at Power 106 to network with upcoming artists and producers and have helped change music by working on different levels with some awesome friends like Kanye West, John Legend, Kid Cudi, Lady Gaga, and Mike Posner. Being able to predict hit records that perhaps are seen as a bit different or untraditional has kind of become my calling.
5. Moment when you knew you had made it?
One of my highlights was attending the 51st Annual Grammy Awards with Kanye after he styled my outfit. I also performed at that Grammy pre-show with my very dear friend Heavy D. After the awards, I went with Kanye and celebrated the night with Jay-Z and watched them rap classic hip-hop verses from rappers like Biggie. It was quite surreal.
6. Favorite artists right now?
I love so much different music. So far this year Foster the People and Adele really blew me away with their albums. I think hip-hop had its best year in a while with Jay, Kanye, Big Sean, Wale, J. Cole, Drake, Mac Miller, and so many others putting out albums. I’m always excited to hear that Common has a new album, especially when it’s produced by No I.D.
7. Artists to look out for in 2012?
I like a lot of new artists. A few that stick out to me as my favorites are Kendrick Lamar, Kid Ink—both are rappers from L.A. I’m really digging JoiStaRR and Allen Stone on the soulful front. Meanwhile, Calvin Harris from the U.K. is making some awesome dance records and he just had some great mainstream attention with his Rihanna record “We Found Love.”
8. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Working with a passionate rapper from Chicago named Kanye and witnessing him grow from the underdog artist at a record label to a worldwide superstar was probably the most notable accomplishment for me. Believing in something that nobody else believed in and watching it succeed is the best feeling.
9. Future goals?
I’m really focused on continuing to blur the lines between “commercial” music and “underground” music. I don’t really believe in that. I believe underground music is just waiting to be exposed to the masses. I love breaking music that is not conventional for mainstream and making people open their minds more and enjoying something they may have not expected to like. I’m hoping my debut LP will help cross formats and push music creatively the way I wish all artists would.
10. What record always gets the party started?
The easy answer is anything Michael Jackson for me. There still hasn’t been another artist or album that continues to grow amongst ALL people of ALL ages. That’s the goal, make music like that, be an artist that matters THAT much.
Foster the People f/ Kendrick Lamar – “Pumped Up Kicks (DJ Reflex Remix)”