• J Balvin Talks New Album ‘Vibras,’ Bad Bunny Collab, and More

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    Ebro and J Balvin
    Ebro Darden and J Balvin

    With his new album Vibras set to drop on Friday, J Balvin recently sat down with Beats 1 radio’s Ebro Darden to discuss the project and his career.

    The Colombian superstar covered many topics, from the possibility of making an album with Bad Bunny to how he hopes to break down the narco stereotypes of his country. He also discussed wanting to collaborate with artists like Drake, Bruno Mars, and The Weeknd, and what it was like working with Beyonce on the remix of “Mi Gente.”

    “I think it was a really beautiful cultural move. People see me with the queen, like, if she’s working with him it’s because he’s for real,” Balvin told Ebro. “She’s not the type of girl that works with everybody.”

    “All the other collaborations are helping me a lot to keep spreading the vibe that I want,” he added. “That’s what I love about the situation. We’re showing the world that we’re not one-hit wonders when it comes to global stuff. It’s not a coincidence.”

    Balvin has so far released six singles from Vibras: “Mi Gente” with Willy William, “Machika” with Jeon and Anitta, “Ahora” “Ambiente,” “Donde Estaras,” and “No Es Justo” with Zion & Lennox.

    Watch highlights from the interview below and stream it in full exclusively on Apple Music.

    Related: Liam Payne and J Balvin Team for New Single, ‘Familiar’

  • First Look: DJ@War’s Scratch Training App, skratchEZ

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    Joshua Hodge, a.k.a. DJ@War, is a veteran DJ and turntablist from the UK. When he recently posted a video of a new scratch training app that he’s working on, we knew we had to get the scoop. Check out the app, skratchEZ, above, and read our convo with Joshua below.

    What exactly are we looking at in this video?

    This is one part of an application prototype I made for my final computing project. Basically, the concept is like DJ Hero but with real equipment. The game is a call and response: two bars of scratches are played for you, then you respond by trying to imitate what you just heard, and a score is given on how accurate you were. Then the process is repeated.

    Awesome. So how did you come up with this idea and why?

    It’s actually an idea I’ve had for about four years but didn’t have the skills to make it until last year. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if DJ Q-Bert’s DIY DVDs were updated with the technology we have today? Melodics was another big influence as well, with their finger drumming app. So many DJs I’ve met over the years have said, “I wish I could scratch,” but never had the patience to learn. Well, what if it was a game? I think that would motivate a lot of people to get on those decks!

    Inspiring! This is obviously in the very early stages. How do you plan to expand development and what’s the overall goal?

    Well, my big goal is that I have loads of ideas for the app and want to really push it forward to make it an interactive tool for people to learn and engage with DJing and turntablism. I think to make the app I want, it will take either investment or a collaborative effort with a company such as Serato or Melodics, but I’m going to keep pushing it forward.

    I’m sure you’ll be able to drum up interest. Where can DJs who are interested stay up-to-date with your progress? Do you have a timeline for releasing something to the public?

    People can check out updates on my programming channel called The Audio Programmer, where I teach people how to make their own VST plugins and audio apps from scratch. Also, I’ll be updating my accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’d like to try to set up for a controlled alpha release by mid-July. By controlled, I mean it would probably be limited to the Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 and maybe Rane mixers.

    Very cool. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

    Thank you to DJcity for the support! You guys are the best.

    Related: Watch: DJ Precision Performs Routine and Reviews Rane’s New Gear

    Posted in Turntablism, Videos
  • The Houston Rockets’ Official DJ Shares His Playlist for the NBA Playoffs

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    DJ T. Gray
    DJ T. Gray at Toyota Center in Houston.

    DJ T. Gray, a veteran DJ/producer from Texas, has been the official DJ for the Houston Rockets for the past four seasons. The team is set to take on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs on Monday.

    T. Gray began working with the Rockets as their public address announcer in the 2000s. He also serves as the official DJ for the Houston Dynamo soccer team and as the music director at Country Rap Tunes Radio. As a producer, he has done remixes for Texas artists like Beyoncé, Pimp C, Chamillionaire, and Slim Thug.

    With game one of the Western Conference Semifinals upon us, we asked T. Gray to share his playlist of tracks for this year’s postseason. His list includes song requests from players as well as his own picks. We also asked him a couple questions about what it’s like DJing for the Rockets.

    Player Picks

    James Harden: Nipsey Hussle ft. Kendrick Lamar – Dedication
    Gerald Green: Fat Pat – Tops Drop
    Trevor Ariza: Drake ft. PartyNextDoor – Wednesday Night Interlude
    Rockets Mascot: BlocBoy JB – Shoot

    T. Gray’s Picks

    Huncho Jack, Travis Scott, & Quavo ft. Takeoff – Eye 2 Eye
    Nipsey Hussle – Grindin All My Life
    Meek Mill – Monster
    Prince – Let’s Go Crazy
    DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What
    UGK – Choppin’ Blades
    Gary Glitter – Rock and Roll, Pt. 2
    Yung Martez ft. DJ Xo – Never Forget
    Lil’ Flip ft. Young Buck & Bun B – Game Over (Flip) – Remix
    KC & The Sunshine Band – That’s The Way (I Like It)
    J. Cole – Motiv8
    J Balvin & Willy William – Mi Gente – Deville Remix
    Krajno – Saxoton
    Drake – Nice For What
    Migos – Stir Fry – Mr. Collipark Remix
    Usher ft. Lil Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!
    G-Eazy ft. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B – No Limit – DJ O Remix
    Missy Elliott ft. Ciara & Fatman Scoop – Lose Control
    Steve Aoki, Chris Lake & Tujamo – Boneless
    The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling – Kees Sjansen Moombahton Remix
    Smash Mouth – All Star
    Travis Scott ft. Kanye West & Lil Uzi Vert – Watch
    The Jacksons – Can You Feel It

    DJ T. Gray

    Which player has the best taste in music?

    James Harden is really the DJ as far as what the players want to hear. Being from L.A., he’s got a lot of love for their local hip-hop scene. Whether it’s the latest release from Nipsey Hussle, a mixtape cut from Bino Rideux or a DJ Mustard banger, we’ve created this bridge from Houston to L.A., and I love it. Most of the songs he wants to hear are not clean, so I spend a great deal of time making my own clean edits. Team player over here!

    What song gets the players most hype?

    BlocBoy JB’s “Shoot” is king right now. Viral videos of Harden dancing to it during warm-ups have helped the song grow with fans, and when it’s played, the energy in the Toyota Center rises to playoff level.

    Follow DJ T. Gray on Instagram, Mixcloud, Twitter.

    Related: The Toronto Raptors’ Official DJ Shares His Playlist for the NBA Playoffs

  • The Toronto Raptors’ Official DJ Shares His Playlist for the NBA Playoffs

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    4KORNERS

    4KORNERS, a veteran DJ/producer from Canada, has served as the official DJ for the Toronto Raptors for 13 seasons. The team is currently battling it out against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs.

    The Toronto native does more than DJ for one of the league’s best franchises, though. 4KORNERS also produces music and holds residencies at clubs in global cities like London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Dubai. His tracks have received support from heavyweights like Diplo, Skrillex, and DJ Snake.

    With game three going down tonight, we asked 4KORNERS which tracks he’s been playing during this year’s playoff season. His list includes song requests from players and his own picks. We also asked him a couple questions about what it’s like DJing for the Raptors.

    Player Picks

    DeMar DeRozan: Nipsey Hussle ft. YG – Last Time That I Checc’d
    Kyle Lowry: BlocBoy JB ft. Drake – Look Alive
    Fred Van Vleet: Drake – Free Smoke
    Norman Powell: Drake ft. Quavo & Travis Scott – Portland
    Raptors mascot: Was (Not Was) – Walk The Dinosaur

    4KORNERS’ Picks

    Peter Jackson ft. Karl Wolf – North Over Everything
    Drake – Nice For What
    Rascalz – Northern Touch
    Kardinal Offishall ft. Ray Robinson – Everyday Rudebwoy
    Guns N’ Roses – Welcome To The Jungle
    Young Jeezy ft. Kanye West – Put On
    T.I. – Bring Em Out
    Kanye West ft. Rihanna – All Of The Lights
    Eminem – Lose Yourself
    Queen – We Will Rock You
    Icona Pop ft. Charlie XCX – I Love It
    Jack U ft. Bunji Garlin – Jungle Bae
    Machel Montano – Like Ah Boss
    Pengz & TwoTwo – Griselda Blanco
    Puff Daddy & The Family ft. The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rhymes – Victory
    Showtek, We Are Loud, & Sonny Wilson – Booyah
    Pressa ft. Tory Lanez – Canada Goose
    Metallica – Enter Sandman
    LMFAO ft. Lil Jon – Shots – Raptors Edit
    Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
    Outkast – Hey Ya!
    Jazz Cartier ft. KTOE – Right Now
    Naughty By Nature – Hip Hop Hooray
    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton – Can’t Hold Us
    Blur – Song 2

    4KORNERS

    What song gets the players most hype?

    That’s hard to say, man. At critical points in games, we get all cinematic and play something like Jorge Quintero’s “300 Violin Orchestra” which definitely gets them and the crowd going on some epic vibes. But then again, in Toronto, you can never go wrong with some Drizzy Drake. Tracks like “Right Above It,” “Trophies,” “Jumpman,” and “Energy” are always the right choice!

    Which player has the best taste in music?

    Kyle Lowry hands down! He gets up to all the new stuff but definitely loves his old school too. He’s the one that will be dancing or singing on court to anything from the newest Drake record to some old Rick James.

    What’s the strangest request that you’ve received from a player?

    Serge Ibaka once requested that I play some really smooth, mellow French afrobeats songs while he warmed up early before the rest of the guys came out. I thought it was strange because the musical vibes were so chill, almost sexy. The kind of music you might want to hear at a trendy high-end restaurant in Paris on date night. It’s not at all the type of vibe to get hype to before a basketball game. But, he went on to have a monster game, so what the heck do I know? Haha!

    Does Drake vibe out to his own music at the games?

    Yes! Particularly when I play unique remixes of his tracks such as Grandtheft‘s “0 to 100” remix, DJ Flex’s “Controlla” remix, and Tuner S’ “One Dance” remix. A lot of the time me playing them is the first time he hears some of these DJ-made remixes and edits.

    Follow 4KORNERS on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    Related: Meet DJ Severe, the Official DJ for the Dodgers

    Posted in DJ Culture
  • Vice Talks All Things DJing in Epic ‘Reflections of a DJ’ Interview

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    Vice
    Vice (Source: Instagram)

    Legendary DJ/producer Vice recently sat down with the Reflections of a DJ podcast for an epic, three-hour conversation. The iconic DJ discussed the evolution of his career and the past and current state of the scene.

    How seeing DJ AM perform at a Hollywood club inspired him to DJ in that scene:

    “Right away I’m like, ‘What the f#ck is this? This is like a very crazy wedding set, but it’s still kinda cool.’ [He was playing] like the Joan Jetts and the Journeys. It’s all the basics. Chicago and all these records are playing but then JAY Z plays and [A] Tribe [Called Quest], and I’m like, ‘What the f#ck? How are all these people dancing to this? It was mind-blowing because I DJed so long in L.A., but I had never seen that side of L.A. … I was like, ‘Yo, this dude is on some next level sh#t, and he’s in a different world, and I wanna know about this. So that’s when I just started going to all those Hollywood clubs.”

    Why he produces dance music instead of hip-hop:

    “I would try and work with rappers and every rapper that I first wanted, I couldn’t afford because they’d all want crazy money to do a verse. And [the] second time, the sessions I got in with rappers, even though I’m in hip-hop, I felt out of place. I don’t smoke weed, I didn’t drink in the studio. I would try and vibe in certain sessions, and there was no-one that was exciting me. I want MCs; it’s so hard. I want Andre 3000 on a record. I couldn’t get him at the time. … And I honestly, truthfully, I didn’t have the hustle. I respect A-Trak so much because he goes out finds these rappers, and I’m like, ‘Who are these dudes? Where do you find them?’ … Also, as much as a lot of people don’t know, I’ve always been into dance, but more into dance like Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope, real house music.”

    How he reacted when the scene switched back to hip-hop from EDM:

    “I felt like I was already on brand and it was a wedding. [It was] like the music has just shifted again and I know how to adapt. I know how to adapt to any moment. Even to this day, if someone throws me in a senior citizen party, I know how to adapt and start playing the room and play the music. For me, I’m always about the ride.”

    DJing on the radio vs. DJing in the club:

    “I always give props to radio DJs because all of us play in clubs and we’re out, and we’re rocking, and you feel the energy, and then you get thrown on radio, and you’re in a box, [a] little room. And at the time, Power [106] had like over a million listeners, and you’re like, ‘Go ahead and DJ with no reaction, no feedback, no vibe.'”

    Listen to the entire convo below via SoundCloud, and stay tuned for new episodes every Wednesday. The podcast can also be found on iTunes.

    Related: Watch DJ Vice and Entrepreneur Chris ‘Drama’ Pfaff Go on a Taco Run

  • Watch Q&As From the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Conference

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    Maluma
    Maluma at Billboard’s Latin Music Conference at The Venetian in Las Vegas on April 25, 2018. (Credit: Nicole Pereira)

    Latin music’s popularity is at an all-time high thanks in part to artists like Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull. They, along with other Latin stars, have topped charts and sold out shows in record numbers all over the world over the past year.

    Now, they’ve all gathered together in Las Vegas for the 29th annual Billboard Latin Music Week. The event, which ends Thursday night with the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards, began Monday with a three-day conference.

    Among the festivities at the conference was a series of individual Q&A and panel interviews with the top artists, producers, and executives in the game. Topics included a look back at the past year, how collaborations came together, and future projects.

    We put together some of the best Q&As below, most of which were conducted in Spanish. The list includes interviews by the aforementioned Bad Bunny, Maluma, and Pitbull as well as Ozuna, Maná, and songwriter Descemer Bueno.

    Watch them below.

    Bad Bunny

    Maluma

    Ozuna

    Pitbull

    Iconic Songwriter Descemer Bueno

    Maná

    Related: Watch: Nicky Jam Explains How J Balvin Collab ‘X’ Was Made

  • Watch: Nicky Jam Explains How J Balvin Collab ‘X’ Was Made

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    Latin superstar Nicky Jam recently sat down with Billboard to explain how his J Balvin-assisted hit single “X” was made. The video is part of Billboard’s How It Went Down series.

    Produced by Afro Bros and Jeon, “X” currently sits at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and No. 47 on the Hot 100. It was DJcity’s eight most-downloaded song of March.

    Nicky discusses how he knew the track was going to be a hit as soon as Balvin played it for him and that he quickly realized he needed to be a part of it. He goes on to talk about how he kept Balvin from changing the original beat then describes the meaning of his lyrics.

    Watch How It Went Down above and download “X” on DJcity.

    Related: Chuckie Talks J Balvin Collab, ‘Machika’

  • Watch: Nardwuar Interviews Cardi B

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    During the Coachella festival in California this past weekend, Nardwuar caught up with Cardi B for an unsurprisingly weird interview.

    The Bronx rapper, whose debut album Invasion of Privacy has broken records, was not fazed by Nardwuar’s personality. However, at one point, she declined to answer one of his questions, saying, “I’m going to have a child, so I can’t tell that story anymore.”

    Released on April 6, Invasion of Privacy will debut at No. 1 on Billboard 200 albums chart on Tuesday, making her the fifth female rapper to top the chart. (She follows Nicki Minaj, Eve, Foxy Brown, and Lauryn Hill.) The project also had the biggest streaming week for a debut studio album, passing Lil Uzi Vert‘s Luv Is Rage 2.

    In terms of support from DJs, Cardi currently has five tracks on DJcity’s Hot Box chart.

    Watch the convo above.

    Related: Watch Murda Beatz Explain How He Produced Migos, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B’s ‘MotorSport’

    Posted in Videos
  • Las Vegas Talent Buyer Dave Fogg Gives Insight Into His Booking Process

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    Dave Fogg
    Dave Fogg (Credit: DMahoney Photo)

    If you DJ or party in Las Vegas on a regular basis, chances are you’ve been to an event that Dave Fogg has booked or performed at. Originally a DJ, Fogg got his start as a talent buyer for Club RA at Luxor in the late ’90s. (RA was the first venue in Vegas to book dance music artists.) From there, Fogg went on to book for clubs at casinos like Hard Rock, Station, and Palms. He’s seen the scene go through various transformations as both a buyer and a DJ.

    Now, Fogg is pushing boundaries as a buyer at Drai’s popular Beachclub and After Hours venues. The Beachclub’s lineup boasts cutting-edge acts like A-Trak, Showtek, MK, TroyBoi, Henry Fong, 4B, Sak Noel, Ape Drums, and Stooki Sounds.

    With the return of pool season in Vegas, we spoke with Fogg about his process for finding and booking new talent.

    What do you look for when searching for talent?

    Relevance is probably the most important, whether it’s a new, up-and-coming artist or an older, established one. There’s also the early buzz surrounding artists and their release schedules. If you’re a working DJ, you have the advantage of getting that information ahead of everyone else. Lastly, I like to book artists that are friends and collaborators with artists who have residencies at the other nightclubs. This is a nice layer because you can get them to show up and hang out, even if it’s against the wishes of some bitter club GMs.

    How do you find new acts?

    Surprisingly, not through industry standards like Pollstar, but through record pools such as DJcity.

    How do you determine how much to pay a DJ?

    If you’re going off other venues in Vegas, then you’re screwed. Those inflated price points will never be a true indicator of value. I’m going off of what the venue can support, strategic booking on certain days of the year, and comparing with other cities with similar markets.

    Does being a DJ influence you as a buyer and vice versa?

    Almost all of my decisions are coming from a DJ point of view, never the other way around. It’s more about me playing someone’s track as a DJ and seeing firsthand how people react to their music. That then leads to me following up as a talent buyer and booking them. For many, it’s their first time in Las Vegas.

    TroyBoi
    TroyBoi at Drai’s Beachclub on March 24. (Source: Drai’s Beachclub)

    You’ve booked a ton of DJs over the years. Which ones have impressed you the most?

    It’s pretty much across the board. Derrick May, Loco Dice, 12th Planet, Diplo, MK, AlunaGeorge, and Rusko. I’ve been fortunate enough to be creative and a fan of the bookings that I do.

    What is a common misconception about being a buyer?

    That you have to go to Ibiza, ADE, SXSW, and all of the big festivals to “scout” for talent. It’s such a crock of sh#t. It’s honestly just an excuse for free vacations, and no worthwhile work will ever get done.

    How do you feel about the current state of the Vegas scene?

    I’d say it’s in a fairly stagnant state in some respects, meaning that the big clubs on the strip will not stop how they’re programming anytime soon. In other ways, the circle of music trends is becoming interesting.

    Where do you think its headed?

    We had EDM a few years ago, hip-hop last year, and currently there’s a return to electronic music, specifically the underground.

    Follow Dave Fogg on Instagram.

    Related: Four Color Zack: The Politics of DJing in Las Vegas

  • Watch: Nina Las Vegas Gives Advice to Female DJs

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    In February, Red Bull 3Style held a discussion panel with its judges during the world finals week in Poland. The panel featured DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Craze, DJ Nu-Mark, Skratch Bastid, and Nina Las Vegas.

    During the talk, DJcity’s Styles Davis asked Australian DJ/producer Nina Las Vegas if she had advice for her fellow female DJs. Watch her response above and the full discussion here.

    Related: Is Sync the End of DJing? DJ Jazzy Jeff Answers at Red Bull 3Style VIII