By Ruth Jiang
For this month’s artist profile, we’re focusing our attention on DJ SNAX. Having DJ’d at some of Boston’s most popular venues and clubs such as Royale, Whisky Saigon, and many more, the 22 year old SNAX is a self-taught DJ who mixes together Caribbean and Moonbahton vibes together to creating a sound that you can’t help but move your body to. Check out our interview with DJ SNAX below.
1. How did you get started in DJing/Producing?
I started teaching myself how to DJ at the end of high school. I had just been exposed to big music festivals like Ultra and have always loved Hip Hop. The idea of rocking a party and making people dance moved me, so I began teaching myself the basics. I quickly became addicted to it and stayed up all night practicing and strengthening my library. In college I started doing house parties, then larger events. I played at venues and on air in New York, and returned to Boston where I’ve played at the best bars and clubs.
2. How has your style changed over the years? What draws you to the sound of “Caribbean bass rhythms”?
I try and show my Latin roots in all of my sets. I’ve always been so interested in Caribbean and Latin music because people can’t help but dance to it, and that’s what’s most important to me. I began fusing that music with big drums and drops and that has ultimately developed into my sound. No matter how my set starts there’s typically a section where I go back to my roots.
3. Where is your favorite place to DJ? Why?
I really like Ascend Nightclub. Aesthetically, it’s really nice looking. But the balcony, stairs, and DJ booth make everything very intimate. While the DJ seems “closed off” there’s people standing every which way so it’s like we’re all partying together.
4. If you could pick one place outside of Boston to perform at, where would it be and why?
I really want to DJ in LA. The east coast scene is heavily driven by mainstream music – which is fine. But I know that LA has more niche communities where I could play more high risk tracks comfortably. I think I could have a lot of fun out west.
5. What are some challenges you’ve faced as a DJ?
The biggest challenge is the competition, which is obvious. Nowadays there’s so many DJs and events going on all at once. Everyone’s “the next big thing” or throwing the biggest party – it’s getting saturated. Nowadays, people are becoming successful just because they’re connected to the right people. It’s frustrating sometimes but that’s the business.
6. Have there been any weird/crazy/interesting stories that have happened while at one of your shows? Care to share?
Probably one of the scariest things that has happened to me happened during my first ever set at Royale. For some reason one of the CDJs stopped working mid set, so I had to put the other one on a really long loop. I was definitely freaking out but people just kept partying, luckily. Besides that, it’s crazy people jumping, pulling, and screaming at me…which isn’t out of the ordinary at this point.
7. What music and/or which people have inspired you throughout your time as a DJ?
My two biggest musical inspirations are probably Diplo & Kanye West. They’ve inspired me to take risks with high energy sets. Usually when I get on I think “how many different genres can I play in this one set?” And I just go all over the place. I don’t care if it’s the #1 song in the world, or the hottest track in Africa 6 years ago… if it bangs, it bangs. DJ’s might not be “creating music” on the spot, but we are definitely manipulating music for a memorable experience.
8. Is there anything you’d want to improve on with your DJ skills?
I’m trying to improve my scratching. I want to get on A-Trak’s level haha. I just think it’ll legitimize my DJing.
9. Has there been any moment that you have been really proud of yourself for something you’ve accomplished as a DJ?
I’m very grateful for every opportunity. Any time I see someone really rocking out and having a great time because of my set, I get really happy. But if I had to choose a single moment I would have to say that every time I’ve played at Royale has been a “wow” moment.
10. What’s something listeners don’t know about your creative process when it comes to producing and DJing?
I don’t think listeners understand the preparation that goes into DJing. I make a lot of edits on Ableton – like A LOT. I really try to stand out and the best way to do it, in my eyes, is make tracks that no other person has heard of or will every be able to play.
11. What are your plans for 2017 and beyond?
I’m trying to play at every major venue in Boston. I only have a handful left. I plan to play at a festival or a concert in the near future, and I want a residency somewhere. We’ll see where we go.