DJ Alkimist to Mix Up Your Best Night Ever

A little Q P & A (Pelonkey & Alkimist) with another of our fave DJs, DJ Alkimist. She’s classically trained in viola, and didn’t you know formal teaching translates nicely into rockin’ deep house parties? Read on.

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P: How long have you been DJing?

A: Professionally, for about five years now. I’m actually a classically trained musician. I’ve been playing viola for almost my entire life, and I taught myself violin shortly after that. When I moved out to DC [from Washington state] I had for whatever reason stopped playing. I missed music. The Beat Refinery had just opened; I took classes, and I learned from other Pelonkey DJs; Stylus Chris & As-One taught me how to DJ and how to get back into music.

It’s totally different from the classical scene. When I moved out here I was just looking for adventure. Getting into the artist and DJ scene, those have been so fun. The more I get involved with it, the more people I meet… it’s a really solid good group of people.

P: How did you go from taking classes to playing professionally?

A: I had a job in DC – I was an executive assistant and hated it – but the timing worked out really well. When I was finishing up my education at Beat Refinery I got fired from my other job. There was a moment of me sitting in my apartment thinking Wow, I have no job, and I’m living in one of the most expensive cities. With nothing to fall back on, what if I just try the DJ thing? I’m going to roll with it and see what happens. I put myself out there. I was writing my information on napkins for people, crashing gigs, crashing places where corporate people were, saying “If you need a DJ for your party, call me!” Stuff like that. For some crazy reason it all worked out.

P: What was your first official DJ spot where you realized, “I’m making a name for myself”?

A: I got an opening spot at Josephine for DJ Impulse, which was really cool, and I booked a company holiday party.

This is a wild story: It was my birthday, and I was celebrating at the 9:30 Backbar, and there was a guy there who had heard of Beat Refinery. I said, “I’m a DJ!” and he said “Really? Our company is looking for a DJ for our holiday party.” I wrote my email address on a napkin and gave it to him. He asked me what my rate was, I named a number that at the time I thought was really high, and they said, “Great! You’re hired!” That’s when I thought, Woah, I could make this work, but I need to organize it better.

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P: Have you been able to combine your viola training with DJing?

A: DJing is all music theory. Everything I studied as a classical artist has come into play. In terms of combining the two, it’s still an experiment. I have an electric viola, and it’s been fun to plug that in to crazy pedals, loop pedals, and beats – I also produce music – and I’ve been thinking of putting together beats that I’ve made and doing crazy effects and viola stuff on top of that. Maybe adding in a vocal element too.

P: DJing is music theory?

A: A really good DJ, whether they’ve been trained or not, has a good understanding of keys that sound good together when you’re mixing or blending songs, keeping things in complementary keys, and all of the counting and phrasing and beat matching. All of that is music theory.

P: What genre do you play?

A: Right now I play everything. I have a lot of open format gigs, so depending on the crowd, you could literally be playing everything from reggaeton to EDM to hip-hop. For a year and a half to two years, I had a deep house party that was a weekly thing that was really cool.

P: What do you love to play most?

A: I really love super underground stuff that people hear and go, “Oh my God, what is this?” and you’ve been digging for weeks to find the coolest tunes that no one has heard before. I really like bass [jungle bass] and new funk, alternative R&B, some latin music, future house, all of that stuff.

P: What kinds of gigs do you play?

A: I do a lot of clubs and bars, I’ve done fashion shows and artist exhibitions, a lot of private parties, corporate parties, birthday parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, divorce parties. Just everything and anything. In-store gigs. I love just watching people come in, and they’re grooving and dancing. You never see people dancing while they’re shopping; it’s so fun.

P: Anything crazy that has happened that stands out?

A: Recently I opened at Soundcheck for Anevo. I’d never spun at Soundcheck, and I rolled in and they had this huge LED screen. They put my logo up there, and the crowd was amazing. They were all loving it, having so much fun. I don’t know if I’ve ever played for a group where 100% of them were super happy, wanted to be there, loved the music. I didn’t even know how to contain myself. I was really happy with the whole thing. Then Anevo showed up, and he was like, “Hey, do you wanna keep going for another half hour?” He could tell I was out of my mind having so much fun. And I got to play all deep and future house, so that was fun, too.

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P: What’s it like hunting for new songs all the time?

A: Oh man, I love it. Before I had lots of gigs, in the beginning days when I had one gig a week, I would spend 40 hours a week getting music. I’ve become more efficient with how I find it. I’m part of a couple record pools, but for the cool underground stuff, you have to dig for it. I scour music blogs, Soundcloud, cool YouTube channels that will put up artists that nobody has heard of but are making cool music. I look at sites like beatport, but mostly I just have a list of blogs I go through.

P: Do you plan out your set before your gig?

A: [Laughs] No, I usually roll in and do it all on the fly.

P: Even with thousands of songs?

A: My organizational systems need some work, but I start with the venue; sometimes they’ll give you guidelines: ‘we want to hear these genres,’ but if it’s an open format, I already know like 5,200 songs that are good party starters but aren’t bangers, so you won’t be giving everything away in the beginning. A lot of times I’ll sneak in stuff that I like that’s still dance-y to test it out. I squeeze it in between two good songs that I know they’ll love, so just in case it fails I can say, “Just kidding!”

P: Favorite song right now

A: The Major Lazer remix of Nobody Has to Know by Kranium – I love listening to it, dancing, playing, watching people dance to it. I’ve been addicted to it ever since I heard it first come out.

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Ready to book DJ Alkimist yet? We know, we know, she’s fantastic. No really, we know. One of our featured entertainers and a sweetheart to boot, she will rock your party socks off.

Follow her! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

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Spotlight on Our Amazing DJ Stylus Chris

We here at Pelonkey love to spotlight some of our original supporters and entertainers, and DJ Stylus Chris has been bomb from the beginning. Also a Pelonkey partner with the Beat Refinery DJ School, Stylus sports both real talent with his art and commitment to making the industry better every day.

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Over the holiday season, Stylus performed for a super fun casino-themed corporate party. Representing Pelonkey well, the client had rave reviews. You da man, Chris, and we can’t wait to collab on some more awesome events with you!

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If you’re interested in having Stylus Chris at your next event, please reach out to ciera@pelonkey.com for more details.

Our DJs really know how to make Heist pop!

Last month, a few of our incredible DC DJs stole the scene at Heist in DuPont!

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As one of Pelonkey‘s partner venues in DC, Heist is one of the most unique nightclubs in the city. It has a fun bank robbery scene (hence the name!) and all gold embellished decor. Including Dirty Hands and Neekola, the music was bumping! One of our other partners, the Beat Refinery, had their main lady DJ Alkimist pop in to party as well! Selfie time!

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All around another amazing night at Heist for their Industry Tuesdays. Catch you there next time!

Pelonkey Board, BAM, & Partners celebratory happy hour!

On Tuesday, our wonderful Pelonkey team celebrated our amazing new tech partnership with a fun come and go happy hour! BAMtech members were able to meet and interact with our amazing Advisory Board, partners, and lawyers.

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The whole team had a blast making friends! Pelonkey’s partners the Beat Refinery DJ school and Heist were there to sip in the celebrations!

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Our amazing CEO DJ Neekola made a toast to a glorious future where Pelonkey will disrupt the beans out of the events and entertainment industry!

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We are beyond thrilled to welcome BAM on to the Pelonkey team, and we can’t wait to make this app a success together!

What we learned in Vegas at Tech Cocktail Celebrate

The Pelonkey Team had an amazing time out in Vegas this past week for Tech Cocktail Celebrate! We easily had the coolest booth at the expo, and Max Major and DJ Neekola tore up the pitch competition, impressing all the attendees, judges, and mentors with their passion and vision for the company.

We learned some very important tips and lessons from the many great speakers and panelists at the conference, including 1776 Co-Founder, Donna Harris! Some of these pointers that we felt were especially applicable for our company, we have shared below.

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1. Make your own path. We do not want to mimic or follow the rules and boundaries set by other companies, whether similar to Pelonkey’s goals or not. Pelonkey plans to completely revolutionize the event and entertainment industry, changing the way entertainers and party planners do biz together – that will take risks and traveling down the unbeaten path, a challenge we are more than excited to face!

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2. Be selective about whom you choose to partner with. The Pelonkey Team has worked very hard to bring our customers only the best in local partnerships for the company. We chose one of the most popular night venues in the city, Heist, to host our awesome entertainer events at; the Beat Refinery DJ school offers discounted classes and sessions to local DJs, who can also test to become Beat Refinery certified; Chuck Levin’s offers discounted equipment specials to Pelonkey musicians; Digital DC is our connect with the local DC government; EventsDC brings Pelonkey all the latest in events around the area as well as an in to the party planner side of things. We are always looking out for the best interests of our Pelonkey peeps!

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3. Know your audience and constantly customize your product to their needs. We want to know all the good stuff as well as what we can improve on here at Pelonkey – please reach out to us with any feedback! This site is for you all, so we want it to be the best experience possible.

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4. Be responsive on social media. Pelonkey’s company values focus our priorities on customer service. If you need something, we try to be as accessible as possible to your request, whether it’s in a tweet, email, FB message, text, you name it!

There are many other awesome tips we received from the pros at the Celebrate Conference, and we wanted to outline these four super important lessons we learned for all of our great supporters and users! Vegas was awesome, and we can’t wait to launch Pelonkey officially in early 2015! For more deets into what we did while at Tech Cocktail Celebrate, check out our previous blog post here.

Pelonkey Partners & Advisory Board Happy Hour!

On Wednesday, Pelonkey brought together its fabulous partners and Advisory Board members together for a meet and greet group happy hour! One of our great Advisory Board members, Tony Cord with DC Innovates, hosted the happy hour at his beautiful penthouse over in Thomas Circle, with yummy food sponsored by Chix (Eat Responsibly).

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Stylus Chris and DJ Alkimist came out from the Beat Refinery DJ school to meet our awesome Pelonkey Board! The Beat Refinery teaches people how to be an awesome DJ, and they have partnered with Pelonkey because they believe in the mission – this business will disrupt the events and entertainment industry! Performing artists aren’t always the savviest on the business end. Pelonkey provides a secure business platform for the entertainers and puts the power of their contracts back into their own hands. The Beat Refinery is completely on board with that! Another Pelonkey partner, Heist Lounge owner DJ Dirty Hands came out for the celebration! Heist allows Pelonkey to host sponsored events at their venue at no additional fee, with a heavy emphasis on the DJ market for entertainers.

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Other awesome Board members that came out were Victoria Michael with VM Relations, Rich Shea with HiBall Events, Eddie Fam with Meant 2 Live Foundation, and Steve Britt with Leach Travell Britt Law. DJ Neekola gave a quick update to everyone about all the exciting things that have been happening for Pelonkey, including our most recent win at Tech Cocktail in Vegas a couple weeks ago!

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It was an awesome evening, and everyone had a wonderful time getting to know each other and being the DREAM TEAM that they are! Thank you, guys! Pelonkey wouldn’t be what it is today without all of your awesome support!

1776 DC Member Spotlight on Pelonkey!

Pelonkey’s startup incubator, 1776, did a spotlight blog on our very own CEO, Nicole Gallub!

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With emphasis on her other full-time job as DJ Neekola, 1776 did a quick interview with her, asking questions about Pelonkey, the startup life, our awesome partnerships with the Beat Refinery DJ school and Heist Lounge, as well as her work-life balance between running Pelonkey and her DJ Career.

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Check out the article, and tell us what you think!

#PelonkeyPartners the @BeatRefinery BIG #FourthOfJuly Deals!

Pelonkey’s awesome partner, the Beat Refinery DJ school, is having a HUGE sale on their classes throughout the month of July! Check it out —

Photo: Look at the awesome deals our #PelonkeyPartners at the Beat Refinery are offering!

Make sure you tell them Pelonkey sent you! Learn on, future DJs!

Beat Refinery: http://beatrefinery.com

Pelonkey: https://pelonkey.com

@BeatRefinery #DJcertification Hosted by @Pelonkey at @1776DC

The pros of DC came out to get their musical skills tested at the esteemed tech start-up office, 1776! All for the honor of sporting a Beat Refinery badge on their Pelonkey profile, these DJs wanted to prove to the event world that they know their art.

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The Beat Refinery has been an excellent partnership with Pelonkey, offering classes, tips, and certifications to all interested in perfecting their art of being a DJ.

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A great group of some of DC’s finest DJs came out to the exclusive event! DJ Stylus Chris and DJ Geometrix tested the group, consisting of the noteworthy elite within the DC nightlife. This included…

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Dirty Hands

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Vicious

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Biks

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All of these talented artists spun their hardest, earning themselves an awesome badge and boost in their rankings on Pelonkey!

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Interested in getting your cert on? Hit up the Beat Refinery, and tell them you want a Pelonkey DJ certification. Best of luck!!

Pelonkey: https://pelonkey.com

Beat Refinery: http://www.beatrefinery.com/beat-refinery/

1776 DC: http://1776dc.com

DJ Launch at Heist!

DJ Neekola has been working tirelessly to build Pelonkey, an online booking agency connecting quality talent in the industry to clients under a secure market. Heist hosted our soft launch for DJs!

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The awesome underground lounge opened early on a Tuesday night, welcoming the awesome influx of great industry peeps, offering Bacardi sponsored drink specials and raffles, with the proceeds benefiting the Meant 2 Live Foundation.

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CliqTrio’s Hallmark Herman (Greg Law) took some amazing pics from the event – thanks, Greg!!

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Victoria Michael (of VM Public Relations and Pelonkey Board member) celebrated her birthday with us – sparklers and cupcakes for everybody!

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Neekola gave a great little speech to all the stoked DJs about what Pelonkey can do for them and their business, getting everyone fired up about the app!

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As a perk for the DJs who came out, ACS offered a special discount on their earplug services, making sure each DJ had the opportunity to spare themselves from long-term hearing damage.

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Pelonkey partnered up with Beat Refinery, offering every DJ the chance to take their DJ certification test, which would provide them an official Beat Refinery Certified badge on their Pelonkey profiles. These guys are awesome and really understand the dedication, hard work, and art that go into the beat mixing and performance process.

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It was an awesome event, and everyone had such a great time! Though the event officially ended at 11pm, everyone raged well past 2am when Heist had to close.

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Pelonkey can’t wait to host another event at Heist next month, spotlighting our top artists and performers to hit the decks for a special performance! See you there!

Pelonkey: https://pelonkey.com

Heist: http://www.heistdc.com

Meant 2 Live Foundation: http://www.meant2live.org/#!/home-page

ACS Custom USA: http://www.acscustom.com/us/

Bacardi: http://www.bacardiusa.com/lda_us.aspx?ReturnUrl=/