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New music styles are being evolved everyday among New York’s cutting edge DJs. DJ GOMI, who is a resident DJ of XL, the hottest gay club in the city, and DJ Babyblu, who is a pioneer of the DJ style referred to as ‘Mash-Up’, talked about the club scene in this turbulent city.

COOL: How did you get the high-profile gigs at XL and B.E.D.?

DJ GOMI: I worked with another artist named Kevin Aviance. He is a performer, dancer and singer. He introduced me to the club owner. He also gave me an opportunity to get to know Junior Vasquez, an amazing DJ and remixer with whom Kevin usually hangs out. I really wanted to work with Junior Vasquez. So, I went to a club that he was spinning at every week and gave him my demos every time I saw him. Finally, he invited me to join him.

DJ Babyblu: I clawed my way to the top. I never had a manager. In the beginning you have to play for free. You have to play for a beer. And when people hear you, they want to book you somewhere else. So it just sort of slowly works out that way.

C: How do you keep on top of the game in competitive NYC?

BB: It’s important to go out if there is a special event where you know you’re going to meet industry people, not just to go out anywhere. But as a DJ you have a million emails everyday. You have a million parties. So you can’t go to all, so you pick the ones where you think you’ll run into people that you want to stay in touch with.

G: Sometimes I listen to the radio to check out what’s going on. And my friends email me and send me new songs from record companies. I use mostly new songs. I check hundreds of records every week. I don’t listen to the whole song. Just the intro - not the whole song.

C: I heard that you (BB) don’t use new technology.

BB: I am a purist when it comes to vinyl. I believe that DJs should play records. I don’t play CDs.

G: No computers? I am glad to use technology - I am always looking for new technology. I want to try it.

BB: I have seen people use FinalScratch software, which is very impressive and I would like to move that way.

G: How do you like final scratch?

BB: Basically, a record is physical and its information and what final scratch does is puts all the information into a computer and then you just spin two records and you assign a song to each record and it makes it a lot easier. You have more flexibility.

G: DJs are creating their own technique and technology. Now CD players are taking over instead of turntables, because it has new functions that the turntable doesn’t have. I think artificial progress is closely related to technological progress.

BB: Technology always affects everything. Always! And its not a very romantic idea, we like to think of our opinions and these modern times as shaping who we are these days, but really it’s technology. Hip hop wouldn’t have happened without the technology of sampling.

G: Your technique is ‘mash up’?

BB: The ‘mash-up’ that I do, I do live. I really don’t like to pre record the mixes. I feel like, you’re there to perform and if you pre record your work, it’s cheating. But also I get bored just standing there playing a CD. I want to always be doing something.

G: If you have a cappella and an instrumental version, it’s always original?

BB: I always use originals like Bon Jovi with Star Dust, the House song. I try to take two songs that are as different as possible, because my philosophy of mixing is like , if you mix coffee and coffee, your coffee is too strong , if you mix cream and cream, you get a whole lot of heavy cream., but if you mix coffee and cream, you get a great drink. Different things compliment each other.

G: Mixing house music, I try to make it smoother. They can be nine minutes long. That’s why those house guys can play for fifteen hours.

BB: Unless you have to go to the bathroom.

G: Sometime when you have to pee, and the place is too crowded, it’s a nightmare. I play a long mix, or a long song. Ten minute song, maybe. And then I go.

BB: But the time can go really fast. Sometimes you have to just use whatever bathroom there is. Ladies’ room, Men’s room, whatever. And then, if there’s a line of people, you say, sorry, do you mind. Usually they’re nice, but sometimes, they’re like, you can wait like everyone else. Sometimes if you leave the turntables, people will come in to the DJ booth and start mixing.

C: How different are New York crowds from the other country crowds?

G: The difference a between Japanese crowd and New York crowd…the New York crowd is very picky. If I don’t play ‘good’ music, they will boo. Especially a gay club, they are very tough. Their ears are good, so if I don’t do good job, they complain to me directly and leave the club.

BB: NY is a place where Robert De Niro walks in and sits at a table next to you and everybody pretends not to notice. Everyone here thinks they are so f**king important . People have more fun in other places. New York is an exciting place, but it’s got a lot of attitude. You play in London, you play in Spain, people are real excited, they just want to fun, but in New York, it’s about the velvet rope, bottle service and looking fabulous.

C: What is the most impressive event for you in your life?

G: Too many. Every week something happens. The most embarrassing event for me was once in the countryside. They didn’t have a good sound system. I went to pee. The electricity went off. So I am in the bathroom and I hear no music. Everybody stopped dancing. That happened a couple of times in the night.

BB: I used to play at this club called Wax. Now it’s called Sway. So they have candles everywhere and this guy gets up on the bar and sticks himself in the candle and pours the wax all over himself. Then this girl comes into the DJ booth and says, ‘Hi. Want to see my new underwear?’ and just pulls off her dress. As a DJ it’s important to be social and you have to talk to people. But when I’m playing I don’t usually feel like talking to anyone. I just want to keep working.

C: Do you plan to continue to stay in NYC?

G: I don’t know. Now Asia is starting to happen, there is more and more interest. You feel something is going to happen there whenever you take a business trip to Asian countries. I want to always be a witness in the most exciting city.

BB: I do presently plan on staying in NYC, butIhave dreams of moving to Japan, or at least DJ'ing there.



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DJ GOMI
Gomi studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He is a resident DJ at club XL in NYC. He has produced and / or remixed for Madonna, Mariah Carey and also engineered for Junior Vasquez. His latest remixes are in "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" with Jessica Simpson.
http://ggv.net/

DJ Babyblu
Babyblu is a pioneer of the "mash-up" sound. He has performed with many artists, such as Moby and Dirty Vegas, to name a few. Also he has created original music for TV, film, and fashion shows in London.
http://www.djbabyblu.com/



text by Ayumi UEDA & Takuya KATSUMURA, photo by Akiko TOHNO
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