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 Charity rocks out iPic Theaters!

Last week, Pelonkey CEO DJ Neekola and Pelonkey artist DJ Charity totally rocked out the new iPic Theaters in North Bethesda with TAA PR! Each night featured a stellar DJ performance, and proceeds from ticket sales went to select local charities, making the opening parties both fun and fulfilling.

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DJ Charity really knows how to make people bounce! She was spinning and remixing all of Monday night, much to the delight of the theater-goers! Pelonkey is proud to have such a beautiful, talented lady DJ on board, keepin’ it cool every time!

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A big thanks to the new iPic Theaters and The Aba Agency PR for having her!

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Interested in booking DJ Charity for your next event? Hit up ciera@pelonkey.com for any inquiries, and we will make sure to match you with her quickly!

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 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!

Pelonkey’s DJ Gio spins for Nordstrom!

Last week, our awesome DJ Gio was contracted to spin for Nordstrom over at Towson for an in-store specialty event!

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Playing for the local shoppers was a lot of fun for Gio, and he mentioned that the whole store had great energy and a good vibe.

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We are proud to have DJ Gio as one of our great Pelonkey DC DJs! To book Gio, send him an inquiry on his Pelonkey profile!

Pelonkey’s CEO, DJ Neekola, Performs at the RAMMY Awards 2014!

At one of the most exciting events of the year, Pelonkey CEO DJ Neekola was booked to perform at this year’s RAMMY awards!

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Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, this year’s event was bigger and better than ever!

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Hosted by RJ Whyte’s fabulous event planners, the convention center looked immaculate.

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Neekola’s booth stood above the main bar area, where various whiskeys, spirits, craft beers, and cocktails were being served to the guests.

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The night started with a live band, keeping the crowd in a fun, upbeat mood to eat, drink, and socialize!

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During their awesome performance, DJ Neekola took the opportunity to go network with some of the biggest socialites in the city.

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She even ran into a Pelonkey Board member, Victoria Michael with VM Public Relations!

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Catch a spotlight post on her in the Pelonkey blog soon!

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We also ran into a great friend of ours, Daniel Mahdavian, partnered with a couple new restaurant ideas launching soon – stay tuned!

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Those are bound to be incredible new eating spots in the city!

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With a different theme at each station, all of the chefs from various restaurants and eateries in the area represented a different country.

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The hand-written chalk decor for these food stations was nothing short of stunning!

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Once we had our fun running around, munching on some delicious eats and chatting with some of the best people you will ever meet, it was Neekola’s turn to take over the dance floor!

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Starting off the dance and party portion of the evening was a live flash mob!

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As always, DJ Neekola used her superior skills to read the crowd and rouse everyone to the dance floor!

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This was a fun task after the incredible flash mob dancers busted their moves, but she managed just fine to get everyone into the dancing mood!

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Keeping the crowd packed the whole night, she had to end the night with Andrea Bocelli remixed with Imogen Heap to clear the floor for cleanup, and people still found a way to dance to it!

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Her rhythms are just too good.

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A big thanks to all of our great photographers, such as Ben Droz, Brightest Young Things, and Washington Life Magazine the for some of these wonderful photos!

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Thank you to RJ Whyte for booking Neekola for this amazing event!

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The RAMMYS always promise good memories and great times with awesome people, and we very much appreciated being a part of it all!