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.

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DJ Fanci: For when a casual night in just won’t do

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DJ Fanci is fierce, energetic, charming, and talented. I’ll let her do the talking.

How long have you been DJing?

I’ve been DJing for five years now. It definitely was supposed to be something I started for fun – my first job out of school was in radio, so I had already formed an interest starting in college – but when I could finally afford to buy my first set of equipment, I started playing around and realized it could be a career. I’m all self-taught. I looked at a lot of videos on YouTube, but never formally took a class.

When did you realize you were good enough to go pro?

A few months in. I was doing mixes and having my friends listen to them, and they were saying, “Hey this is really good,” and it turned into a few gigs. I already knew my music, and I realized I could really rock a party.

How did you move from amateur to pro status?

I just linked up with another DJ who heard one of my mixes; he was one of my cowers, so we were both beginner DJs, and we wanted to get into lounges. I started doing hookah spots and lounges where [the DJ] is more of the background music. Then somebody had a birthday party there, and that brought the biggest crowd I had ever played for. They were dancing the whole night, and I thought, Oh my God, I am doing this! This is me right now! So I started to do clubs after that.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to break into the club scene?

Link up with somebody! I feel like a lot of people are always so scared of people taking something from them or stealing their stuff… Link up with someone to become a dynamic duo or with someone who is where you want to be. I knew this was something I wanted to do, but having somebody to link up with in general made the pressure less intense. That’s a lot to have on your shoulders [when you’re just starting out].

And just do it! [Practice DJing.] That’s so basic, but truly, if it wasn’t for my homeboy, who was like, “Hey, do this gig with me,” I wouldn’t have gotten out of my bedroom. I was too scared to mix live in front of people. I would make a prerecorded mix and send it to people, but you have to put yourself out there. You have to fall.

Do you have times where you fall?

Sure! Recently this happened to me during the holidays. I don’t know what I was playing, but the guests were looking at me like, “Girl don’t ever play that again.” I have go-to songs and go-to playlists. I used to have a joke: “When in doubt, play Beyoncé.” There are certain hits that no matter how many times they’ve heard it, the crowd loves it. Those help me reset and go into another mix.

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What is your preparation like before gigs?

I don’t create a playlist. I do have a collection of “new shit,” anything that’s really hot that just came out. I strategically play that stuff because some people know it, some people don’t. I do prepare a lot with new music, practice how I would transition. For the most part I’ve been doing it so long I feel very prepared when I go in there. I know I have the music so I can go in any direction I want to go. If it’s less club and lounge then I will prepare a bit more; especially with an all-ages event, I want the flow to be right. Sometimes I do think we get into a flow that we are used to at clubs, but it’s a different type of flow for a corporate event.

What’s it like when you’re a guest at a club?

I just like the party. I started DJing because I love to party, so as long as [the DJ] is paying attention [to the crowd,] I’m good Sometimes I feel like DJs DJ for themselves, but it’s for us! Not you. As long as they can keep me dancing.

I do love when DJs randomly throw it back. Some of the time DJs get into default mode, so we [in the audience] think, Now they’re probably going to play this song. Well, when they can throw you a curve ball, throw some old Nelly in there, then I’m like “Heeeey!” That’s when I start paying attention. When they start playing something cool, then I want to know who the DJ is.

What might surprise people to learn about a DJ?

There’s a lot of music out there – people don’t realize how much – and it takes a long time to really get your library up. I know a lot of DJs are just like, “Oh, you need a few popular songs, and you’ll be good to go,” but some of the stuff people ask you for, the reactions you get to those good hits, that stuff takes a lot of time. It’s a constant thing. You’re constantly looking for music.

Where do you find your music?

I’m on MP3 websites. I’m registered to a couple of sites where DJs share music. A lot of times I like going out and listening to other DJs because then I say, “Hey, what’s that? Is that a mashup or your original?” Of course, Soundcloud. Exchanging music with other people. I just recently had a gig where I had to play a lot of house – non-vocal house – so I reached out to Neekola and said, “I know house is your thing, shoot me some artists you’re looking into.” I like to link up with those people who have a niche to find some cool stuff.

Top three songs you’re loving right now

Work” by Rihanna; I love that song right now! “Alingo” by P-Square; he’s an African artist, oh my God, he’s amazing. Also “$ave Dat Money” by Lil’ Dicky.

What genre do you specialize in?

“I love remixes. I’m hip hop at heart. But I love pop-type dance music. I spend a lot of time researching hip hop remixes that have a dance movement. Something that gets a lot of attention. Even among other DJs, they’ll say, “Where do you get these remixes, these are crazy!” I spend a lot of time looking for those crossover trackers.

What type of events do you do?

All types. Lounge, club, retail. I’ve been booked for fashion shows, and I do regular in-store DJing. Exclusive retail events with giveaways; I do that kind of stuff.

What should people know about you?

I am a girl power enthusiast. I am all about women doing great things. I love when I meet girls and they say, “Oh I wanna be a DJ…I could never do that!”— Yes you can! You can do that! I love doing awesome women things.

 

Go book this fine DJ immediately! No doubt you’ll be in good hands tunes.

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What it’s like to work with DJ Sean J

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You’re planning a party. A blowout. A major shindig for all your peeps at the hottest club you rented out in DC. You need someone to start the party and keep it going. You say to yourself, Self, who do I know that is talented and awesome besides me? And it hits you. DJ Sean J. Obviously. He’s performed all over the DMV. Rams Head Live, Hippodrome Theater, Liv Nightclub, the list goes on. You must book him. But how? So you email, and he asks you to sign up with Pelonkey. Simple, secure. You make your account. Oh, I am so coming back here to browse more performers for my next gig. And next thing you know, Sean J is sending you a contract through the site, you’re signing it, and your event is booked. Two months later, the party goes off without a hitch, and Sean J has you and your guests rockin’ all night long.

Sean J is an open-format rockstar and officially our first Entertainer to push his outside work & contacts to Pelonkey and book a gig! For that he deserves all of the high fives. And our weekly entertainer feature spot. And probably some cupcakes, which you should send to him ASAP.

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So after the contract went through we hit him up. Asked him how the booking process was. (Easy-peasy, he said). Will he suggest the site to his other friends & contacts? (Already did, he said.) Is he pumped to book more gigs through Pelonkey in the future? Let us quote: “I see soooooooooooo much potential here, and I’ve decided I’m going all in on this…you’re awesome for building this.” No, you’re awesome, Sean J.

We love us some DJ Sean J, and we’re jazzed to have him on our side. He’s got the musical stylings of a high-energy, cross-genre genius, always keeping his audience dancing. And ohhh, you’ll be dancing. Your legs may not be thanking us the next morning, but your ears will.

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!

Industry Tuesdays at Heist!

Tuesday night was crazy at Heist! We had a great line up with four of our sweet Pelonkey DJs who spin it to win it: DJ Neekola, DJ Oz, Phlipz, and Carlos DeLarosa!

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The entire lounge was packed, and everyone wanted to dance to the amazing beats of the DJs!

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It was a house and hip-hop kind of night.

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Heist is always crazy on Tuesday nights, and everyone was looking to get in one more big night before Thanksgiving festivities began.

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Thanks to Heist for always having all of our super dope DJs come out and perform!

DJ Charity and DJ Neekola steal the scene at the new iPic Theaters in North Bethesda!

Last Friday night, our awesome Pelonkey DC DJ babes rocked out the new iPic Theaters in North Bethesda!

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DJ Neekola and DJ Charity were on fire! Not only did they keep the movie-goers and City Perch patrons in a great mood with fabulous tunes, these two beautiful ladies stole the show – people were late to their movies stopping to watch the pretty DJs spin!

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Thank you to TAA PR and iPic for having both DJ Neekola and DJ Charity perform last weekend – what a fun night!

Pelonkey DJs rock the decks at Heist for Industry Tuesdays!

Written by Ciera Gallub, COO and Staff Writer

Our amazing DC DJs were back at it again last Tuesday night! DJ Oz, DJ Vicious, Phlipz, and Pelonkey‘s very own CEO DJ Neekola shredded the decks at Heist for their Industry Tuesdays!

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Switching back and forth for various sets, some heavy house, hip hop, electro, and modern hits were mixed and mashed, keeping the bottles popping, the tables full, and the dance floor packed the entire night! We can’t wait to have our awesome Pelonkey DJs rock the night at Heist again! Catch different peeps every Tuesday night, making magic happen. To make your table reservations, click here – see you there!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Charles Koch (aka: DJ Dirty Hands)

Written by Ciera Gallub, Pelonkey COO

His name is certainly popular around DC, known by his night time role as DJ Dirty Hands! Our awesome Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Charles (Chuck) Koch is a hard-spinning disk jockey as well as a savvy business man. He is a partner at Heist Lounge in DuPont, which he generously allows us to use for Pelonkey events.

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Chuck has the great ability to connect people together and is an excellent networker. He believes that Pelonkey will help to stabilize the industry, especially pertaining to nightlife. The growing trend of becoming a DJ has been increasingly prominent in the DC nightclub scene, and Chuck feels Pelonkey will really help both the entertainers and the clients navigate the growing industry. Dirty Hands plans to use his awesome DJ network and connection skills to help Pelonkey scale and continue to grow, offering great insight from the DJ world, nightlife scene, and venue owner perspectives.

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Heist has been doing so well this summer that Chuck is excited to see what the cooler months will bring! I asked him what one of the most ratchet moments DJing was like. One time while he was spinning at a club, six girls got into a huge fight behind him at the booth! Good beats can make people go bananas sometimes.

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Outside of his Advisor role and his other occupations, Chuck enjoys flying (planes!), golf (FORE), and snowboarding (watch out for the yeti!). He rolls out to Cabo every year for vacation and says he could live on a beach, easily.

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We love having Chuck on our Pelonkey Advisory Board! He gives us great insight, excellent advice, and graciously opens his venue to us for Pelonkey events, which is the perfect atmosphere for getting up close and personal with the DC DJ scene. Thank you, Chuck!

Digital DC teams up with Pelonkey for the Summer Kickoff Reception at Capitale!

Last month, Pelonkey provided two of our awesome DC DJs, DJ Costi and DJ Hi Def, to mix and mash up some super dope beats for Digital DC‘s Summer Kickoff Reception!

Hosted by Carlos Gray, Mayor Vincent Gray‘s son, the event brought together awesome people from the DC government, including 1776 mentor Erin Horne McKinney!

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Starting off the night was Pelonkey’s DJ Costi, feeling out the crowd with some upbeat lounge and house music. Halfway through, DJ Hi Def kicked into club mode, mixing in some hip hop and a little modern house. What a great vibe from the two of them!

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Capitale proved to be an excellent space for the networking party, which consisted of NFL Pro Sports, startups (mostly from WeWork, another event sponsor), and real estate members.

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St. Louis Rams Safety, Rodney McLeod, was in attendance with a few of his football buddies, attracting quite a crowd!

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With Lulu’s ice cream also in attendance sharing the delicious love, it was quite a successful event all around!

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Pelonkey was happy to be a part of the Summer Kickoff Reception!

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!