KC Chopz: "There's a Lot of Club DJs Who Can't Play on the Radio"
Free tables, free bottles, piles of money, and beautiful women. The life of a DJ may be awesome, but competition is brutal.
Whether you mix and blend on live air, or make the club speakers go thump, you've got your work cut out for you every step of the way.
Just ask KC Chopz. For nearly a decade, the 25-year-old DJ/producer and Power96 contract personality has burned it up on both broadcast airwaves and in the nightclubs. Here's what he had to say about the differences between the two.
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How did you get started?
KC Chopz: I started as a producer making music in high school and passing out mixtapes and stuff. Then I got an internship at Power 96 when I was like 18, and it was good, I absorbed it and that's where I learned how to DJ, from watching at the station. I picked up on it quickly. From there, I sent a demo to my boss, and he said, "You got potential for the radio."
So, I started doing midnight to 6 a.m., weekdays, and I would DJ at the club on the weekends. At that time it was Bongos and 90 Degrees.
After the overnights my boss was like, "Go be with the best." And that's when I joined the morning show with Laz.
DJ Laz taught me a lot man, I'm thankful to have a mentor that I could look up to like that from radio to how he hustled to the next level. I learned really how to talk to people, how to conduct myself professionally.
I learned a ton from DJ Laz, but then after four years of that, I wanted to branch off and do my own thing. An opening for the night show came about, and they were flying everybody in and wouldn't give me a shot.
I had a Friday night mixshow, so I asked Lex who works with Rick Ross if I could get an interview. He said I got you. After dinner, he's going to call you. I said Rick Ross is ready to interview, my boss gave me permission to air it and it went viral all over the blogs. I came into the office Monday morning, and they had no choice but to give me a tryout.
I was on for a week and they were like, "We really like how you sound. You're on till further notice." Then a year and a half ago, I got a full time contract.
What are you doing now?
I love radio, but now I'm also making music. I wrote and produced two songs from the new KC from KC and The Sunshine Band album. He's actually my godfather. I'm DJing in New York, I'm on the radio six days a week, and I'm the resident DJ at Passion at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Where are you from?
I was born in Miami Lakes, raised in Broward.
What are some of your viral hits?
I did the song about "I Love Chongas." Laz knows I love Hispanic women, and when the Asher Roth song "I Love College" came out we were just fuckin' around and I wrote it that day. I've interviewed Kendrick Lamar. He did a freestyle for me on the "Regulators" beat that went viral on Worldstar and every hip-hop website. A$AP Rocky did a freestyle for me that went viral.
What good local music is there to look out for?
One up and coming artist is Bizzy Crook, we're doin' a song together.
I believe in and I fight for local artists. I want more local artists to thrive and get looks. But it's also up to the artists to trust the DJs to know what music works. Some artists are stubborn, but if they're willing to work with me, I'm willing to work with them.
What other DJs inspire you?
DJ Zog and DJ Def. Those are veterans in the game. They really put me on to the history of the Miami music scene.
What is the difference between being a club and radio DJing?
Playing the radio is a different atmosphere. People are driving. They're not in the club. It's a different mindset. It"s easy to play when people are drunk. They turn up to a "Twinkle Little Star" remix.
DJs who aren't good can flourish in the club with no technical skill. They don't care about mixing. In the club they just want to hear hits.
There's a lot of club DJs who can't play on the radio. You gotta mix sound clean. A minor fuck-up in the club, nobody hears it, but if you mess up on the radio, it's clear as day.
Shoutout the Broward New Times, to Abebe Lewis, Circle House family, to Ryan Machanic, MyAccess305, Zerk, my dog. Shoutout to Lucy Lopes. Shoutout to Power 96. I love it! It's one of the only radio stations that's live 24-7, no recordings, no voice tracking like a lot of other stations.
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