The Empire State Building seemed like the perfect location for a day of press, as his career had just reached a new level, essentially putting him on top of the world. Known for his versatility, he uses a wide variety of musical genres every time his turntables spin; his fans get everything from Hip-Hop, House, Electro, and Reggae, to Top 40 and Trap. As one of hottest DJ’s on the scene, we wanted to learn more about who DJ Jayceeoh is.
Where did you grow up and get your start in DJing?
I was actually born in LA, then moved to Pittsburgh in 8th grade. And that’s when I started DJing.
How did DJing enter your life?
Well, my older brother was into Hip-Hop and he just turned me on to the culture. And then another friend of mine showed me a VHS battle tape of the X-Ecutioners vs. the Beat Junkies, all scratching, like four guys on four turntables. And, it was just crazy; I was like I got to learn how to do that. And right away, I stole one of my parent’s turntables, he stole one of his parent’s turntables, and we just started trying to scratch any record we could find. And we started saving up, buying like good hip-hop records. I worked a summer job and bought my own turntables and just fell in love with it, and it’s been the same passion ever since.
And you started in Hip-Hop Djing and doing Hip-Hop Battles?
Yes, when I started out, all I wanted to do was be a Hip-Hop Battle DJ. I wanted to be like Roc Raida and guys like that. And Funkflex influenced me a lot early on. Like his “60 Minutes of Funk Vol. 1”, that whole mixtape vibe I loved. So, just battling and mixtapes, that true Hip-Hop DJing is how I came up.
Your style is really versatile, that’s kind of what you’re known for, so how did that transition happen?
I was in Boston at Emerson College and I had graduated, and I was working with all the best artists out of Boston, from legendary dudes like Edo. G, to guys like Akrobatik, and Mr. Lif, and Slaine, and all these different people. It was cool, in terms of doing stuff for Hip-Hop and keeping it real. I was doing all the best stuff I could do. And I was touring, I went to Europe with those guys, and it was an amazing experience, but at that point those artists weren’t making that much money themselves, and I get paid a fraction of what they get. So, I said this is cool and all, but I’m not making money…So, I moved to New York City and switched my whole style up. I just started studying every genre of music, so I could go into a club and be able to play House and Electro, and whatever type of music was popping in that whole time frame. I wanted to go from genre to genre seamlessly without messing up the vibe of a party. So, that was a long process for me to just break out of the mold, because forever I would be trying at bookings at a party and people would be like, “Jayceeoh is just a Hip-Hop DJ, he can’t rock this party”. And then, I broke out of that mold. Even before the show started, I’ve been touring internationally, going to Europe, Asia, and playing big rooms. And sometimes I play all House, sometimes they’d book me and they want Hip-Hop Jayceeoh. I have so many different ways I can go, that I can cater to any room or event that I get put in.
And how did your interest in Smirnoff’s “Master of the Mix” come into play?
Well, I’ve watched Smirnoff’s “Master of the Mix” since the first season, just cause DJ culture is my life, so if there’s a TV show about DJ’s I’m going to watch it. So I watched the first two seasons and each episode I was like, “I’d crush that challenge, I’d do mad good on this show”. And then, it came around, and I actually almost auditioned for Season 2, but the day the LA auditions happened I had to fly to Asia to do a tour, so I was like, “I can’t mess up my Asia tour to maybe get on a show”. So, I went to Asia, and everything went down. And then I followed “Master of the Mix” on Facebook and they posted “Auditions: New Season” and I was like, “Oh damn, it’s on VH1 now, that’s a much bigger look, and it’s a quarter million dollar prize.” And I just went out and auditioned, and it happened.
In this season, what was your favorite challenge and what was the hardest challenge?
Well, my favorite challenge was obviously the finale because I got to do my thing, but also the team challenge where me and Chris (DJ Chris Karns) was awesome, because we know each other, and throughout the season me and him were favorites, so it was dope for us to not have to be against each other, and just collab on something, and do it. And we had a lot of fun putting it together, and knocked it out. So, it was cool to not be enemies on the show. I mean we never were, we were always homies, but it was like a quarter mil, we’ll be friends later, right now we’re enemies.
And you guys killed that challenge, as well!
And even the edit they showed on TV was dope, but a lot of the key elements, they didn’t fit it all in, but it still came off dope on TV.
The finale for the show was June 3rd, how has life been since the being announced the winner?
It’s been nonstop. It happened Monday night, I threw a party in LA. I brought out Chris Karns, Incrediboi, Dynamix, Dimepiece, and Loczi, and they all came and rocked. Ben Maddahi was there and we did a party. And then after that party, I went straight to the airport to fly here (NYC). And yesterday met the whole Smirnoff team and everyone on that side of things. And then I’ve been doing interviews all day today, but I’m still trying to catch up on my Twitter feed, just so many @ mentions, and my Facebook it’s crazy. It feels great, it’s overwhelming, but it’s amazing. It’s also weird because we filmed it in January, so I’ve known, but I couldn’t tell anyone. And now that it’s out there, it feels good man. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders.
You have worked with Wiz Khalifa. How did you start working with him?
Well, with the Wiz Khalifa stuff, I went to high school in Pittsburgh. I went to Taylor Allderdice; the same school that Wiz, and Mac went to, as well as Artie Pitt and Benjy Grinberg, who are the heads of Rostrum Records, who really jumped off both of their careers (Wiz and Mac). So, from early on in the game, before Wiz was ever signed to Warner, way before Atlantic and all this stuff, Rostrum invited my boys and were like, “Yo, we are signing this kid Wiz Khalifa”. And I was like “Word, send me some of his stuff.” And whenever I would have a project or a mix I’d be like, “Let’s get a Wiz exclusive”. Because I was in Boston, I was working at Undergroundhiphop.com (ughh.com) at the time; and I was doing a lot of mixtapes for them and I had an international following, so I would support anything that Wiz would do. And as he became bigger, they would hit me up, when they would come to New York, they would be like, “Alright, we are doing CMG, can you do these shows for us?”. We did the Jelly NYC Pool Party. But, we did some really big shows and it’s just crazy having seen him from where…I did shows with him when he had two tattoos. I think the last show that I actually performed with him was the day that “Black & Yellow” went platinum. So, that was his first platinum hit, so that was big for him. And now one of my best friends, DJ Bonics, DJ’s for him. That whole camp is my fam and Taylor Gang, ya know. I’m a Taylor Gang DJ, so that’s obviously fam.
How did you come to work with Sammy Adams?
And then the Sammy Adams thing, about a year and a half ago or two years ago, I did a mixtape for a website and they were throwing a concert at Terminal 5 in NYC. And they were like, “Yo, we are throwing this concert, we wanna bring you out”. I think I had heard of him because he’s from Boston and I used to be in Boston, but we had never met. So I get there, Terminal 5, sold out event, and I’m the first act of the night, and I had that whole place rocking, it was insane, might have been one of the best sets of my life. But, after that set, his whole management team, his brother, and everyone involved with him was like “Yo, that dude Jayceeoh is no joke. We need to f*ck with him”. And they approached me a couple weeks later and were like, “Look, we are about to sign to a major label. When we do, we wanna bring you on as Sammy’s DJ”. And I was like, alright cool. Then time goes by and I hear nothing. Another case of the music industry “let’s do this, let’s do that”. And then, Sammy reached out to me for Boston House of Blues. But, he still had his other DJ at that point. So, I went out, opened up, did the same thing, crushed it. And then…I met with his management…and I was like, “wow, I would love to be a part of that.”
Since, I started working with him we’ve done two mixtapes that I A&R’ed the whole project, half the record I produced on there and found the beats for. And when we perform, a lot of those songs I do with him are some of the bigger songs. And it’s just been crazy. Since he’s been on the major label, he’s had to do the major label dance, because they want a pop hit, but we also release doper music for the real heads. So, it’s been a journey and it’s still going on. But working with Sammy has been great. He’s so super talented, he can do anything. I’ve been really impressed. Because I told myself I wouldn’t go on tour with another artist, unless, they had that “it factor” or potential to really be huge. And I believe that Sammy does.
And I gotta ask about the Super 7 mixtape, because before the show that’s how a lot of people knew you. How did that come along?
The Super 7 mixtape, I started it just because I had so many dope DJ homies…so, I was like let me think of a concept for a mixtape where I can collab with as many homies as possible. A CD is like 70-80 minutes, if I have 7 DJ’s do 10 minutes each, we can fit that all in. And 10 minutes is a good amount of time to like get some sh*t off. And I called up just my immediate homies who were all my friends, but also well respected DJ’s. And I dropped the first one and the response was just amazing, the whole DJ community, internationally, was like “yo this is crazy.” And DJ’s I’d been looking up to for years were reaching out to me to get on the next one. And it just kept growing and kept growing, to where this last volume I hit up Jazzy Jeff like, “Yo man, I met you once before, like I got this thing called Super 7, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but I would love to have you on it”. And within 2 minutes he hits me back like, “Hell yeah, I’m down”. And I don’t pay anyone, it’s all for the love of the craft, because the whole purpose of Super 7 is to reinforce the art form of the DJ, and mixtapes, and blends, and cuts and scratches. I try and make mixtapes timeless pieces of music. If I gave you a mix I made five years ago and you put it in your whip today, you’d run through the whole thing and be like this is dope.
So like, I tell each DJ the only rules (for Super 7), is do whatever you want just make the most creative ten minutes that you can possibly do. And on the last one I had Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip, Revolution, Gaslamp Killer, Mick Boogie, and Chris Karns as Vajra, which was his DJ name before the show. And it’s done a lot for my career, and a lot for DJ culture, because no one’s putting out mixtapes like that. And it’s so dope, because I pick dope DJ’s who all have their own different followings. So, when it gets released and they all push it to their own following, it’s such a crazy effect, because it just spreads like 6-degrees of separation, but x7. So everyone hears it and it’s great. And I plan on doing 7 volumes, I did volume 5 last year, and volume 6 is gonna come out later this year. And once I do 7, I’m gonna do like a dope box set. And I’m gonna start, hopefully, doing some Super 7 tours with like the top guys on the series; get like 3 or 4 of them and do like a 7 city tour.
I know on the show one of the judges said, “I can see you having a bright future in production”. Is that a direction that you’re going to be moving towards in the future?
Since that judge said that, since that second, that’s been my main focus. I just proved to the world that I’m one of the best DJs, right? Because, the guys who are making the most money are Producer/DJs. Like the guys that are playing festivals, getting $100,000 for one hour, they aren’t even great DJs, but they have one or two records that people latch onto and they get these bookings. So, my focus is 100% on producing right now, because if I can get that one record, and then I bring how I DJ to festivals, it’s gonna sh*t on everyone. So, that’s my focus right now, producing not only Hip-Hop and Trap stuff, but I also have a ton of like Electronic music produced and ready to go. I’ve been meeting with some labels and stuff. And now that I’m officially the champ and everyone knows, I’m gonna start really letting it out. I just did this French Montana remix of his song “F*ck What Happens” and it’s been doing really well. I took the Mavado sample and just flipped that and it’s crazy, and then I flipped it on some Trap sh*t. Like I incorporated three styles of music in one song (Hip-Hop, Reggae, and Trap).
And lastly, why is music so important to you?
Music is my driving force in life, pretty much. The second I wake up, I’m thinking about music, or DJing, or “How am I going to advance my career?”, “What’s the best newest song?”, “What’s a song I haven’t heard?”, “What’s this guy playing that’s working, that I don’t even know about?”. It’s nonstop. Literally, the passion I had in 8th grade is exactly the same as right now, I’m as excited as I was the first day I saw a DJ rip it, right now. But, now I got the world looking at me, but I got the skill set to back it up. So, it’s a great feeling to be in the position I am at right now.
Check out DJ Jayceeoh’s remix of French Montana Ft. Mavado “F*ck What Happens”