One for All: The DJ Chris Villa Story Interview

One for All: The DJ Chris Villa Story Interview

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.

Marcus K. Dowling, DJcity: What precipitated your desire to work with Chris on developing this documentary, and how did you go about connecting with him?

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.

Related Post: Chris Villa: Creative Process for Routines, Competing in 3Style: ‘The 20 Podcast’

DJ ND Returns for Season Two of “Made From Scratch”

DJ ND has linked up with Spanish turntablist Jose Rodriguez to kick off the second season of DJcityTV’s Made From Scratch tutorial series. In this episode, they break down a reverse chirp pattern.

Follow DJ ND on Facebook, Instagram, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, YouTube, and Twitter.

Related Post: DJ ND Teams Up With DJ Odilon for Routine using New Scratch Tool

Watch DJ LORDWIN’s Latest ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Routine

Nairobi’s DJ LORDWIN is back with his second routine for DJcityTV’s Bedroom Sessions. The 26-year old Kenyan turntablist spins five minutes of the hottest Afrobeats and pop hits.


1. Victoria Kimani ft. R. City – China Love
2. Blaiz Fayah & Tribal Kush – Bad
3. Burna Boy – Kilometre – Matt Beats Remix
4. Wiley, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul ft. Idris Elba – Boasty
5. Sean Kingston ft. Nicki Minaj – Letting Go (Dutty Love)
6. Rihanna – B*tch Better Have My Money
7. Shane McMahon – Here Comes The Money (Entrance Theme)
8. Demarco – Money Money Money

Follow DJ LORDWIN on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

Got what it takes to be featured on the next “Bedroom Sessions” episode? Send a sample video to brs@djcity.com.

Related Post: Submit Your Mix for DJcity’s ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Series

Submit Your Mix for DJcity’s ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Series

Have you spent hours in your bedroom fine-tuning your live routine, wearing out your crossfader, and brainstorming the most clever wordplay you could come up with? If so, DJcity has a prime opportunity for you to showcase your talents to a worldwide audience.

DJcityTV’s Bedroom Sessions mix series has been highlighting turntablists and their creativity for years. We’re looking for you to continue that tradition.

All that is required is recording a 2-4 minute video of throwing down a routine in a party-rocking/club style that incorporates scratching and juggling, tone play, wordplay, or other related skills. No need to edit the video yourself, just record and send your raw footage to “brs@djcity.com” and our in-house video team will handle the rest.

Check out some previous Bedroom Sessions routines here and start practicing!

Related Post: Italy’s DJ D_MiND Drops Technical ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Routine

Watch DJ IKU’s LYMA Tokyo Edits Routine on GENRE BNDR’s ‘CH419’

Watch DJ IKU’s LYMA Tokyo Edits Routine on GENRE BNDR’s ‘CH419’

Japan’s renowned turntablist, DJ IKU, showcases his turntablism skills while shining a spotlight on LYMA Tokyo‘s edits and remixes on the latest installment of GENRE BNDR‘s CH419.

The 2010 Red Bull 3Style Japan champion’s routine features beat juggling, pitch play, scratches, tone play, wordplay, and edits from the LYMA Tokyo production team which are available on DJcity.

Watch DJ IKU’s performance above.


1. Big Sean & Metro Boomin ft. 21 Savage – Pull Up N Wreck
2. Don Toliver – After Party – LYMA Watch Me Edit
3. Yung Joc ft. Nitti – It’s Going Down
4. Cardi B – UP
5. Joe Budden – Pump It Up – LYMA Intro
6. Lil Kim – The Jump Off – LYMA Hype Intro
7. Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
8. 42 Dugg & Roddy Ricch – 4 Da Gang – LYMA Hype Intro
9. Maroon 5 – One More Night – LYMA Remix
10. Adina Howard – Freak Live Me – LYMA Remix
11. Bankroll Freddie ft. Megan Thee Stallion – Pop It – LYMA vs Khia 102-66 Transition
12. Bleu Clair & Drinks on Me – Hit List – LYMA Hype Edit

Follow DJ IKU on Facebook, Instagram, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, and Twitter.

Follow GENRE BNDR on Facebook, Instagram, Mixcloud, and Twitter.

Related Post: Watch DJ IKU’s Quick Mix for Episode 25 of GENRE BNDR’s ‘CH419’

Italy’s DJ D_MiND Drops Technical ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Routine

Italian turntablist DJ D_MiND flexes his skills in a technical routine for DJcityTV’s Bedroom Sessions. Based in Brindisi in South Italy, D_MiND has made a name for himself through club residencies and as a two-time Red Bull 3Style Italy national finalist.


1. Rafik – U Back
2. Fabian Mazur – King Is Back
3. 6ix9ine – GOOBA – WILL K Remix
4. Meek Mill ft. Young Chris – House Party – Fresco Speedin’ Edit
5. Eve ft. Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind Remix
6. Willey, Stefflon Don & Sean Paul ft. Idris Elba – Boasty – Acapella
7. Sly and Robbie – Bam Bam Riddim – Instrumental

Follow DJ D_MiND on Instagram.

Got what it takes to be featured on the next “Bedroom Sessions” episode? Send a sample video to brs@djcity.com.

Related Post: Uganda-based DJ Emmie Delivers High-Energy ‘Bedroom Sessions’ Routine