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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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!

Our CEO, DJ Neekola, had an amazing birthday party at Heist last month!

Content modified from Ciera Gallub‘s post on DJ Neekola’s blog on 11/5/14.

Were you there at Pelonkey CEO DJ Neekola‘s birthday party at Heist last month? What a great night!

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Not only did Neekola want to celebrate turning 21, she also wanted to show off her amazing tech startup, Pelonkey!

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We were giving away awesome swag and raffling off some super cool prizes! Chuck Levin’s sponsored a couple pairs of headphones as well as an entire JBL sound system!

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Congrats to our Pelonkey winners!

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All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales went to both the Meant 2 Live Foundation and Pelonkey’s crowdfunding efforts!

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Neekola had such a great time rocking out with all of the Pelonkey DJs on the decks that night, and she even hopped on herself for a minute!

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A big thanks to all of our DC DJ’s that played that night at Heist – Hi Def, Wizdom, Welbot, Oz, Alkimist, Vicious, Phlipz, Ri5e, Dirty Hands, you’re all amazing!!

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And thank you to Heist for hosting such a great event!

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Huge shoutout to everyone who came out and partied with us – you’re all the best!

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Make sure you all sign up for Pelonkey! We want your talent and your party needs – our Pelonkey team will take care of you!!

Pelonkey DJs Neekola, Alkimist, Phlipz, and Vicious spin at Heist for DJ Beaini’s birthday bash!

Modified from Ciera Gallub‘s post on DJNeekola.com 9/18/14.

Last Tuesday night at Heist was off the chain! Not only did a handful of Pelonkey‘s best DJs get together for the infamous Heist Industry Tuesdays evening of shenanigans, it was DJ Beaini‘s birthday bash celebration!

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Heist was stuffed with dancing people all night long, popping bottles, sparklers flying, and nuttiness ensuing, all thanks to Neekola, Vicious, Phlipz, and Alkimist bustin’ out their killer jams. It was such a great party!

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Tuesdays are always awesome nights at Heist, and celebrating DJ Beaini’s birthday only made it that much more fun for our awesome Pelonkey DJs to perform! Make sure you catch the next Industry Tuesday at Heist! They are not nights to be missed!

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!

#IndustryTuesdays at @HeistDC with @DJNeekola, @DJ_Vicious, @DJPhlipz, and @DJAlkimist!

Last Tuesday night, the awesome DC DJs of Pelonkey rocked the decks at Heist! DJ Neekola, DJ Alkimist, Phlipz, and Vicious shredded the vinyl, keeping the dance floor full the entire night!

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Tuesdays nights at Heist are the best nights for all the city industry people to go out, and by the time midnight rolls around, the entire lounge is packed! People were popping bottles and dancing til the club closed! These awesome Pelonkey DJs totally rocked it out!

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Great job, ladies and gents, with another excellent performance at Heist! Don’t miss this coming Tuesday’s DJ Takeover at Heist, with upwards of 10 DJs rotating on the decks! See you there!

Heist: http://www.heistdc.com