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DJ Juss doesn’t just get the crowd moving while spinning the dopest tunes, he’s also making his mark with modeling, acting and creating films like the “Jay Z Effect.” This suave virtuoso has spun for the likes of Janelle Monae and Brunos Mars. He’s making waves and is quickly becoming one of the hottest DJ’s to hit the scene. With solid celeb cred and a growing fanbase, he’s looking to push boundaries and become a household name. He sat down with The DM to give us a sneak peek into his fast paced world.
Hi! Thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to do an interview with us.
No problem. How ya doing?
Pretty good! So how long have you been a DJ?
About 4 years now.
So, how did you get into it?
It was like multiple things, but how I really found the love was I used to intern for this marketing promotion company out in the Hamptons, and they used to do a lot of events out there. I was young, and one of the DJs was running late, and the guy I was interning for just told me to go on my laptop and just play music until the DJ gets there, and then people were like dancing because of me, and from there, I just always had that love. I liked seeing people enjoy themselves because of me and me making them dance, so always had that love for it. That was about 7 years ago, so I didn’t really take it serious until like 3 years later, so it was like a back-and-forth kind of thing.
You’ve DJ’d lots of events for a lot of different people, can you tell us about the most memorable moments that you’ve had?
Recently, in December, I DJ’d on Good Morning America. That was pretty dope to be on national TV and being one of the DJs for that. Last year, a memorable moment was when I did Super Bowl. I did an event at Marquee. It was Beats by Dre. LeBron James was there, Serena Williams, Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar performed. Q-Tip was also there. That was very memorable.
Speaking of memorable times you’ve had, I know you turned a particular event into an awesome short film call The Jay-Z Effect, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
The Jay-Z Effect was just an idea, based on true events. I met Jay-Z at an after party, VMAs, last year, so it was 2013, and I was at the Dream Hotel. I was in the bathroom washing my hands, getting ready to leave, and he comes in and I’m like ‘oh shoot, Jay-Z or whatever.’ So, I asked him for a picture, and of course, he said no, whatever, so. The next day I just told my friends about it, and they were like ‘what if you would’ve snuck a selfie with him or something like that,’ and I’m just like “nah, he probably would’ve messed up my whole life” and did everything in New York City for me, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you now, interviewing. So, my friends are like that’s a dope concept for a comedy, like what if in the movie you take a picture, you force it, and it looks like you’re taking his chain in the picture, and then you post it, it goes viral, and then it just gets you in trouble throughout your whole life. The whole movie is based on that. So, that’s what we did with the movie, The Jay-Z Effect.
So, what’s your favorite thing to play?
I like Hip Hop. I’m a hip-hop head. A lot of the times when I DJ, I like to incorporate Dipset. I was always a Dipset fan, so I always try to incorporate a little, small, little Dipset set. It works, everybody loves it.
How would you describe the current DJ scene? Do you think for some people out there it’s a phase or a trend?
I wouldn’t say a phase. There are a lot of people who take it seriously and understand the craft and the art, but then there are people that just that it’s such a cool thing to be a DJ now. It’s like I feel like everybody is a DJ. Celebrities are DJs, [like] Solange, and Carmen is a DJ and athletes are DJs. It gets a little ridiculous because those people I don’t think they take time and practice like real DJs do, like myself. They get these big gigs, and they take away the gigs from the people who really want to be DJs, celebrity DJs, so, it’s a lot of things. It’s not like how it was before.
What continues to drive you?
Not just being a DJ. You mentioned The Jay-Z Effect – that was one thing that I wanted to separate myself. I’m known as a DJ but also someone who can produce and has directed and acted in a film and just bringing other things to the table. I have a tournament that I want to do this year. It’s for DJs. It’s called “Soundcheck “and it’s just [about] bringing all the DJs together. It’s a one-day tournament, and it’s benefitting autism, so I want to raise money for autism and bring DJs and nightlife people and some celebs and people together for that.
You’re doing a lot of philanthropy and you’re kind of a Jack of all trades, and I know you’re doing a some acting too. Is there someone who you’d absolutely love to work with on screen?
Will Smith, for sure. I definitely want to work with him, even if it’s like one line and even if it’s just talking to him on the side. I definitely would work with him and Terence Jay as well. Terence Jay, I look up to him a lot. He’s come a long way from 106 & Park, so definitely those two, yeah.
What would you describe as the best thing about what you do?
The best thing, I would say – the creative side of it. Every day, me waking up and thinking of creative things and that goes back to the other question. That’s what keeps me going as well, just being creative, like even when I’m DJing, I’m changing my sets up and playing a certain song this way to lead up to this song, just keeping myself fresh.
It seems you have a lot going on, you have a lot of creativity going too, but when the party is over and it’s time to relax, what do you do to chill out?
I’m watching Scandal, Empire. I just recently got into Empire. It’s getting better and better. I didn’t really like it in the beginning, but it’s getting to that. What else…I do like photography. It’s a hobby of mine. I just bought this camera, so I’m just learning that. I work out. I play ball, like little stuff. I eat. I eat a lot.
[Laughs] Well, those are all great hobbies to have, definitely. Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us. I know you’ve got a lot going on, but what’s next?
Just some more future projects – I have a few short films that are coming out this year, and there’s our YouTube Channel, nine7 Productions. Me and my partner Kerstyn, we have that, and we have a whole bunch of stuff on there that’s coming out this year. A lot of the film stuff, we’re working on a lot this year.
Check out DJ Juss’s short film: The Jay Z Effect