Hey, DJ! Q&A with DJ LARGECHILD
Every Friday we spotlight the hottest cats (and kittens) behind the decks in the MHC, grilling them to gain some insight on what it takes, exactly, to get the party rocking, to find out about their most treasured crate digging experiences and what they really think when we stumble up to them half cocked and ask them to play that new song by such and such -- you know, the one that goes...
This week: DJ LARGECHILD of the SoulRKicks crew, a cat who got his start setting things on the frat and sorority scene up in Boulder before moving on up like the Jeffersons. These days you can find LARGE at Casselman's, the Goose in Boulder and the Walnut Room, when he's not spinnin at events like next weekend's Winter X-Games in Aspen.
Name: DJ LARGECHILD (a.k.a. Jared Leighty)
Club night(s): Wednesday nights @ Casselman's on 26th and Walnut, The Goose up in Boulder, the Walnut Room, and lots of other spots across the state! I am always open to new gigs though...
Style(s) of music you spin: People always say I spin the music that you forgot that you loved. I am quite partial to old school hip-hop, original mash-ups, soul, funk, '80s, electro, punk, dub ... I do spin quite a bit on vinyl, as well, which separates me from many other PC DJs.
So what's your story, in 100 words or less?: After my father forgot to pullout, I dropped in '83 and was raised up in mountains of the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen. Pops thought it would be fun to make me start taking piano lessons when I was five-years-old. I stuck with it for over fifteen years and even got to perform and compete in classical music festivals across the country.
I credit my father for inspiring my love of the Piano and all music in general. He had the best music collection, and I always found myself digging through his music and just rocking out to it all in my room when I was a kid.
I picked up the Guitar, Drums and Turntables without any formal training and just got involved with music as much as I could. I played the drums in a bunch of different bands growing up, but really got hooked by turntables when I was in college.
I started stepping up my vinyl collection and began to spin house parties for friends. DJ Shares from NY and I together ran the frat and sorority party scene for a few years up in Boulder at C.U. House parties evolved into major events for me and with some experience under my belt, the next logical step was to start doing club gigs.
Once you get out there and people start recognizing and respecting what you are doing, and when you network the hell out of yourself, the doors begin to open.
Name of a track you can't get out of your head: Besides "Pants on the Ground" by General Larry Platt from American Idol? ... I always love waking up to "Spottieottiedopalicious" from Outkast. That track just puts me in a good mood and inspires me to make the music I love.
Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: I love exposing people to Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) from Ft. Collins. His music is just my style and always gets any crowd to nod their heads. Check his music out at www.prettylightsmusic.com ... you will not be disappointed.
What's been your best crate digging experience in another country (if you've had a good one)?: I got to backpack through Europe a few years back, and it was so much fun being exposed to new styles and flavors of music. They have some wild selection out in Italy and Switzerland ... but there are some AMAZING hole-in-the-wall record shops in London. Rough Trade near Covent Gardens is a place where I could spend my whole day and all of my money in there!
Best club experience in another country (again, if you've had a good one)?: Partying up in Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia is always a good time. The club scene up there is unreal and the people are super cool. Got to spin with Gift of Gab, Blackalicious, MC Supernatural and De La Soul a few years back ... and the skiing up there is out of control too!
Musical mantra: "The more that you love music, the more kinds of music you love!"
Favorite DJ experience: Recently, back in November, I had the privilege of spinning the reunion tour of one of the illest hip-hop crews of all time, Binary Star. After one of the best sets I'd played in while, Binary Star had just rocked the venue and the sold-out crowd was so pumped, they started chanting for more.
One Be Lo from Binary came up to me on stage and asked if I had any instrumental tracks they could flow to, just to keep the energy going. Luckily, I had a gang of tracks from myself and my boys from the SoulRKicks crew, so I started to drop some our best cuts.
So Senim Silla and One Be Lo just start killing these freestyles off the top and got the whole crowd involved. It was so dope to have these guys I looked up to so much flow on my own tracks to a sell out crowd to keep the vibe going. Such a good feeling!
Worst request: Anytime I get a request, I just ask them to write it down on a $20 bill and hand it to me so I don't forget. With the ever-growing rise in popularity of crappy music that is available to the general public these days, you will receive very bad requests from time to time.
At The Basement Downtown awhile ago, I had a "Big Girl Bachelorette" party roll deep into the club one night. They squeezed right up to the DJ booth and before they even made eye contact with me, I knew an awesome request was coming my way. Don't get me wrong, DJ LARGECHILD loves ladies of all sizes. If she ain't 280, she ain't a lady.
But this one girl with a lazy eye rolled up and asked if I could play "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus. I asked her what made her think that any of the music I had been playing that night indicated that Miley Cyrus was on the playlist. She says "It's MY Song!!!"
Being a man of compromise, I obliged her and spun this great mash-up from my boy Hathbanger featuring Miley Cyrus vs. Notorious B.I.G. - Party and Bullshit. It had such a good reaction, it stays on my current track line up whenever I spin today.
Worst club faux pas you've committed: Worst (and Best) of all time was when I was spinning at a club up in Boulder about a year ago. Anytime up in Boulder usually ends up being a shitshow anyways, and this night was no exception. They had $1 Beers and $3 you-call-its. Next thing you know, right on schedule, a huge fight breaks out.
Any other time a fight breaks out, I stop the music, alert security and make sure no one gets hurt, but this time was different. I saw the fight break out and suddenly noticed it was all girls. Now don't call me sexist, but it is rare that you get to see a full on 3-on-3 catfight (unless you frequent the bar scene up at C.U.). I believe everyone agreed with me, because not even the bouncers tried to break this one up.
Everyone just stood around in a circle and cheered them on. For some reason, just feeding off the energy of the crowd, I ended up throwing some Dropkick Murphy's on the tables and the whole crowd started chanting. I was definitely adding fuel to the fire. Luckily, no one got hurt and all those tramps got kicked out eventually. Can't say it was one of my proudest moments, but definitely one of the most memorable.
Most treasured vinyl score: It is an original 1978 pressing of "Some Girls" from The Rolling Stones. They only printed about 500 copies before having to pull the LP because it had a bunch of unlicensed photos of Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Farrah Fawcett on the cover. Not their best album, but it is a rare UK import to find for sure. I also have almost every Misfits album on Vinyl ... there are so many bootlegs and imports that I need to find to complete my collection. That is the best part, though ... always gotta keep my eyes open for the ones I don't have yet.
What other music-related projects are you currently working on?: The crew I spin with is called SoulRKicks. We generate some organic homegrown beats from sampling all kinds of tracks from our massive vinyl collection.
My boy Travy J is a mastermind on the MPC and has a great ear for samples to pull from and use off the records. He and Brad Griego are some of the most lyrically talented people I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life. B-Way also has great input and ideas to throw in the mix.
With all our brain power and musical experience, we do create some amazing music. Feel free to check our music at: www.myspace.com/soulrkicks (shameless self-promotion)
What's something happening in the local music scene that should be getting more attention? I feel that The Red Bull Big Tune Producer Battle a few months ago was one of the best things to happen to Denver in awhile.
At Beta Nightclub back in June, Red Bull auditioned all the best local DJs and Producers in the area to showcase and prove to the crowd who had the best beats. If your beats were voted the best, you got to go on to the finals in Atlanta to see how you stack up against the best of the best in the country. If you win, you get to produce an track or two with any artist of your choice. The kid from Chicago who won last year, C-Sick, got to do a track with Nas, one of my favorite artists of all time.
I think that having competitions like this really get show off who is doing big things in the local music scene in Denver. My boy, Boonie Mayfield took the title and made it too the finals this year. Big ups to Xperiment "The Old Soul" from Educated Figures who killed it at the battle too.
What elements would your fantasy club night entail? Fantasy club night wouldn't matter where it was, as long as my best friends and family are all there. Open Bar of course. Having Notorious B.I.G. perform with me would be baller too...hey, it's fantasy right?
Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: Was it worth it?
Next time we can see you spin: You can catch me up at The Winter X-Games in Aspen, spinning for Monster Energy and Target from Jan. 28th to Jan 31st. Westword Artopia at Vinyl on February 20th and even the Dumont Cup out in Bethel, Maine, March 25th-28th.