Every Friday we spotlight the hottest cats behind the decks in the MHC, grilling them to gain some insight on what it takes, exactly, to get the party rocking, to find out about their most treasured crate digging experiences and what they really think when we stumble up to them half cocked and ask them to play that new song by such and such -- you know, the one that goes... This week's subject: DJ Vajra, a DJ who's widely revered among his fellow DJs, locally and nationally, for his vast turntable skills. We caught up with Vajra in advance of his Conversations with a Crate Digger date this Monday at Lola with DJ Check One. Read the full interview after the jump.
Name: Chris Karns, aka DJ Vajra
Club night(s): Friday nights at Round Midnight in Boulder, Saturday nights at The Goose in Boulder, every first Sunday with Big Wheel at Lola in Denver, plus a lot of other random nights all over the place.
Style(s) of music you spin: Hip-hop, funk, B-boy breaks, dance / club / party tracks
So what's your story, in 100 words or less? Been at this for nearly fourteen years now. Music lover, scratch dj, turntablist, party rocker, hip hop producer, and vinyl enthusiast. My resume includes four DMC titles, several world tours, former Procussions DJ, and former Basementalism resident among many other things.
Name of a track you can't get out of your head: Crown City Rockers, "Soul"
Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: People Under the Stairs
What's been your best crate digging experience in another country (if you've had a good one)? I found a lot of good stuff at "Sofa" in Lyon, France. They had 2 records on my very short want list that I had never seen anywhere before.
Best club experience in another country (again, if you've had a good one)? Performing at the DMC World Finals in London last year was quite a good time. I also had a blast at Club Mix in Beijing!
Musical mantra: 1,2,3,4, repeat
Favorite DJ experience: I enjoy what i do most of the time, but one moment that stands out was winning the DMC regional in Austin, TX. Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/djvajra
Worst request: 99% of the requests I get are terrible, but let's just say Britney Spears or Soldier Boy.
Worst club faux pas you've committed: I commit those on a nightly basis by dropping in as much underground hip hop and funk as possible through out the night :)
Most treasured vinyl score: I treasure most of my collection, but I have really enjoyed listening to Vince Guaraldi, "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus" lately.
What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I did an album called "The Required Taste" with an MC named Othello from the group Light Headed, which will be released in early 2010. The album features Ohmega Watts, Braille, Stro the 89th Key, Theory Hazit, Dminor, Jerod Sarlo, and there's a single available now called "ActIve Balanced" which features Mayer Hawthorne and Now On.
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What's something happening in the local music scene that should be getting more attention? It would be nice if the the hip hop DJs who get nominated for best of the Westword could be a part of the music showcase again.
What elements would your fantasy club night entail? A packed house full of young people who are receptive to fun music, regardless of whether they've heard the songs on the radio before. I would LOVE to be able to do a funk night some where like when I go out to Cali, but it seems like the Denver crowds might not be hip enough for this concept (hope i can be proven wrong about this though!!!).
Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: How come dj's get so short changed? It's too bad that there's so many horrible "dj's" out there who come in and undercut the real professionals on price. Club owners in Colorado don't want to pay us properly, considering the amount of time and money that go into this craft. PAY THE REAL DJ'S WHAT WE'RE WORTH!!!
Next time we can see you spin: Monday, November 9th "Conversations of a Crate Digger" with DJ Check One at Lola in Denver. Tuesday, November 9th, performing the half time show for the Nuggets vs. Mavericks game at the Pepsi Center. Otherwise, you can keep up with my busy schedule on DJVajra.com.