As a high school classmate of Chris Villa in Tempe, Arizona, Vangelis Films‘ documentary filmmaker Jeremy A. Lopez never hung out with the now renowned DJ and turntablist. However, he was highly aware that he was beginning to become extraordinarily proficient behind the decks. As Lopez’s career took flight as an actor, director, and producer with credits including “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS,” Villa’s career similarly blossomed. The director described the DJ as a “soft-spoken husband and father of two.” They, among many accomplishments, ascended to being a competitor in the United States region of the 2018 Red Bull 3Style World Championships. And that’s where this conversation finds us, as the high school classmates have reunited nearly two decades later. Lopez is the director of the soon-to-premiere One for All: The DJ Chris Villa Story. In this conversation, Lopez recounts the filmmaking process behind the documentary and offers notes — from the outside looking in — on the culture and art of DJing and turntablism.
Jeremy A. Lopez: I’d been watching [Chris’] career grow via social media and decided one day that he’d be the perfect candidate for a documentary. So I reached out to him and asked if anyone had ever suggested he should do this. Because we’re both busy, a year went by after that initial conversation. When I reached out again, a year later, Chris told me that he would be competing in the Red Bull 3Style competition. We then agreed that I should follow him along in the 3Style process, plus [accompany] him to local gigs. Eventually, this included flying out with him to Philadelphia for the United States Red Bull 3Style Finals.
DJcity: To me, the real standout moment in the trailer is when Chris’ wife notes that alongside developing his Red Bull 3Style set, he’s also balancing being a working and contributing parent in a two-parent household. Can you discuss what it was like to watch him create a work/life balance, of sorts, for himself?
JAL: Initially, what drew me to Chris was trying to figure out how he could balance a career based, [often] around [the temptations of] partying, drinking, drugs, and girls, with maintaining a healthy relationship with his family as a father and husband. I was impressed. The fact that he could buck the stereotype that most DJs can’t do both well was compelling to me as a filmmaker. While filming, I discovered that he and his wife are solid, stellar examples of how a couple can accomplish work/life balance in a music career. Yes, sometimes Chris was stressed out about it. I mean, it’s not easy to try to create a set for the Red Bull 3Style competition while also making time for interviews, wrangling kids, and having a camera following you around. He didn’t shy away from any of it, though. He never complained, once. That was inspiring to observe.
DJcity: I’ve attended the Philadelphia 3Style finals on numerous occasions, and if you’re new to the culture, I’d imagine it’s really quite awe-inspiring and action-packed from an outside glance. What were your thoughts, in general, about the event you attended?
JAL: I had no idea what to expect when I arrived with my crew. I had no idea how big of a competition it was. Of course, once we had completed filming, I watched some of the 3Style World Finals footage from Taipei, and I was like, “holy s**t, this is actually massive!” However, for as big as it is, I believe that it could and should be a larger deal than it already is. It highlights the creativity of each DJ in such a way where the sky is the limit on what they can accomplish. I had a helluva time there. Even while running the camera, I was very into what the DJs were doing and gained a greater appreciation for their talents. Pulling together [a unique, 15-minute 3Style set] is hard. Even crazier because Chris went last, he heard what some DJs did in their sets before his, so he changed this set he’d spent weeks preparing the same night.
DJcity: So, take me behind the camera. What were the moments that you feel really capture the power — outside of Chris’ story — of what the documentary represents to creative people and to DJ culture overall?
JAL: Catching moments — crowd reactions, DJ reactions, whatever — that you wouldn’t necessarily see at first glimpse, live, was exciting. Sometimes there were things like a moment in a 3Style set that a DJ had hyped that didn’t land with the crowd as well as expected. But, they were cool because you could see the surprise on the face of that DJ or someone in the room who felt similarly to the DJ. Or, sometimes — and this happened a lot — there were moments that I thought would kill that really [exceeded my expectation] and to see the crowd respond to those was fun, too. Feeling the energy in the room and capturing it with my lens was electric.
DJcity: Both you and Chris are creative entrepreneurs. Do you see comparisons in your workload, style of work, and scope of work that are comparable?
JAL: Yeah. It’s such a grind, really. We never really have days off. We’re always trying to get ourselves noticed and get our names out there. He, like me, has to both work at his craft and simultaneously build a following. Also, for both of us, our work is also our greatest passion. Making a living while pursuing your passion is special. Also, as I was editing the footage of Chris creating his DJ sets, it reminded me also of when I have to edit an unscripted documentary. Essentially, when I’m sitting behind a computer — just like Chris — and am trying to edit footage into a two-hour documentary, I’m basically making the film equivalent of a two-hour DJ set. No rulebook says that an idea is right or wrong, and you have the freedom to let your creativity guide your craft and work ethic.
DJcity: Overall, what are your most significant positive takeaways about DJ and turntablism culture from working on this film?
JAL: DJs are a tight-knit community, it seems, and great at supporting each other. When one DJ sees something dope that another DJ is doing, they share it with their community on social media and give them a shout-out. I thought that was pretty cool. Also, at Red Bull 3Style, I saw mutual respect between DJs, as they all recognize how hard — especially at that level, in that competition — their work truly is. As a new fan of the culture, I also like learning what I like about a DJ that I feel makes them pretty good and stand out to me [as a great creator], portraying and showcasing the music itself as art.
Watch the official trailer above.
Sak Noel‘s record label Barnaton has released Vol. 2 of its sample pack. “I believe this new Barnaton Pack is the best one yet,” says Sak Noel. “We took note of all the requests producers made to us after releasing the first pack and implemented them here. The quality of the sounds Salvi has created is outstanding. I’m pretty sure there are several hits just waiting to be made using our sounds. It’s exciting.”
DJcity’s New York representative Matsu has thrown down a heavy, hard, and bass-laden mix for the DJcity Podcast. In addition to being Beatsource‘s New York rep, Matsu is also the Label Manager of the legendary Slow Roast Records, and one of the youngest top-placing competitors ever in Red Bull’s 3Style USA Finals. Moreover, with co-signs from the likes of A-Trak, Craze, and Jazzy Jeff, his diverse musical tastes and technical skills have him regularly booked at festivals like SXSW to nightclubs including Brooklyn Steel, Summit (TX), Tunnel (CHI), and Edge (LV).
1. Matroda – Story Telling
2. Amine Edge & DANCE – Serving Looks
3. DJ Snake, Tchami, Malaa, Mercer – Made in France (Bleu Clair Edit)
4. Mike Epsse & Oxxid – Fallin
5. Duck Sauce – I Don’t Mind
6. Volac & Purple Velvet Curtains – Lose Control
7. OOTORO – Poser
8. Matroda & Bleu Clair – Disco Tool
9. Smalltown DJs – Flying Again
10. Slatin & KG Man – Volume
11. Makasi, DJ Pelos, & Honey-B-Sweet – Go Loco
12. Amine Edge & Dance, Clyde P – Pleasure
13. Frents & Charles B – Desire
14. Freak – All I Wanna Do
15. Russo – BTTF
16. Matsu – R U With Me
17. Chris Lake, Solardo – Free Your Body
18. Cloverdale & Local Singles – I’ll Provide
19. OOTORO – Warehouse
20. Anti Up – somethings about to go down
21. Knock2 – Dashstar
22. Matroda – Play The Music
23. Body Ocean – Once The Music
Related Post: DJ Casey Drops The Latest ‘DJcity Podcast’ Mix
UK-based DJ/producer Andy Jarvis returns with a tech house remix of Florence and The Machine‘s 2009 hit, “You’ve Got The Love.” The track was initially released to widespread acclaim by The Source featuring Candi Staton in 1986 and was remixed and re-released before Florence Welch’s take in 1991, 1997, and 2006.
Regarding his version, Jarvis says, “Nothing beats hearing the opening lines to ‘You’ve Got The Love.’ I really wanted to produce this remix to get the song playing back in the clubs again. Enjoy my tech house remix of this incredible song with a surprise element on the drop that will be sure to make the crowd go wild!”
Preview Andy Jarvis’ “You’ve Got The Love” remix below and download it exclusively on DJcity.
Dutchman Tomcio returns with an uptempo, bass-laden take on “Hey Mama,” David Guetta‘s 2014 collaboration with Afrojack and Nicki Minaj. The global top 10 pop and dance hit was a hook-driven electro-trap banger. Tomcio’s remix gets a racing and booming moombahton refresh.”
Preview Tomcio’s “Hey Mama” remix below and download it exclusively on DJcity.
Singapore’s Casey, a veteran DJ from Singapore has put down a half-hour mix for the DJcity Podcast. Her set features mostly hip-hop and dance tracks. Casey is currently part of the team at Re:Activate Asia, a team renowned for promoting and developing club-based events and multi-scaled dance music festivals.
1. Justin Bieber – Yummy – Onderkoffer Remix
2. BabyJake ft. 24Goldn – Cigarettes On Patios Remix
3. Anitta – Girl From Rio
4. Anne Marie – Alarm
5. Maroon 5 & Megan Thee Stallion – Beautiful Mistakes – KidCutUp 80-99
6. Cheat Codes ft. CXLOE – Between Our Hearts
7. DVBBS & CMCS ft. Gia Kok – Not Going Home (YUDA Remix)
8. Major Lazer – Titans – Trayze Remix
9. BLACKPINK ft. Cardi B – Bet You Wanna (DJcity Intro)
10. Robin Thicke – Take Me Higher
11. Parov Stelar – Booty Swing – GAWTBASS Remix
12. Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up
13. Fifth Harmony ft. Missy Elliot – Not That Kinda Girl
14. CHUNG HA & R3hab – Dream of You (DJcity Intro)
15. Ava Max – OMG What’s Happening (DJcity Intro)
16. Panic! At The Disco – Victorious – Disco Fries Remix
Halloween is upon us, and DJcity’s Remix Director Sir Marcus has put together a list of tracks for your spooky DJ sets. The collection includes exclusive b...
Sak Noel's record label Barnaton has released Vol. 2 of its sample pack. "I believe this new Barnaton Pack is the best one yet," says Sak Noel. "We took no...
Numark's Mixstream Pro all-in-one device is the first piece of non-Denon DJ hardware to support the embedded Engine OS operating system. Available for a su...
New tracks that DJs should know about.
Halloween is upon us, and DJcity’s Remix Director Sir Marcus has put together a list of tracks for your spooky live stream sets. The collection includes ex...
Here at DJcity, we always strive to provide our customers with great value and the highest quality of content. We are proud to announce our new Global Musi...
DJcity's New York representative Matsu has thrown down a heavy, hard, and bass-laden mix for the DJcity Podcast. In addition to being Beatsource's New York...
Halloween is around the corner, and DJcity’s Music Director Kidd Spin has put together a list of tracks for this year’s parties. The collection includes ex...
UK-based DJ/producer Andy Jarvis returns with a tech house remix of Florence and The Machine's 2009 hit, "You've Got The Love." The track was initially rel...
Derry Kost. Every Thursday, Tips and Tricks host, Mojaxx showcases DJcity's brand new house releases and exclusives on DJcity's weekly Mixcloud series...