He could introduce himself to you as his given name Jay Bozich, "Grumpy Jay" or even "Brother Jay," but for the purposes of this here column, he's King Fader. The Crown Fader talks school dances, KBOO and Berbati's over the course of his Hang the DJ installment. Dive in if you dare:
How did you decide on your DJ name? What's your real name?
The bass player for the dub band Systemwide came up with it. I was house sound at the Ohm and had one of those plastic crowns that come with Crown Royal bottles stuck on the console for some reason. He put the two together and it made sense given my sound and DJ background. Before that I was DJ E.K.O., but that kinda sucked.
As the Rapture say: "People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this." How often do you encounter this?
Lately I've had no problem getting people to dance. If I do have trouble, I'm a pro, and know the guaranteed cuts to get people to come my way. I also know how to clear a floor when necessary, or thin it out so the bar gets more business, which you need to do throughout the night. I've also been known to get people dancing when they shouldn't be, such as a lounge set at the old Tiger Bar or East.
People that get what I'm doing and appreciate it. And the people that dance and let the DJ be the DJ and stay all night with me. I take people on a journey. My sets, and mini-sets, make sense and my transitions and mixing are part of a lost art, it seems almost. I prefer to play four-plus hour sets. I barely get into it in two hours.
How do you feel about requests?
Weird subject lately. Now I just say no, at least for my Berbati's gig. If it was a wedding or some weird house party then I'd consider. In this semi-commercial zone, 'cause it's downtown (but it's Berbati's you know), it's a little different. I can get away with the most amazing things there and I love it, but I get these people that request the same Top 40 crap they just heard in their car. I'm like Come ON! First of all, I'm actually working and they distract me and shit -- makin' me miss my break down or something. I tried a clip board like Gregarious does but that got ridiculous too. Now I just say "no, I'm the DJ
, not you. I know what I'm doing and I know where I'm going and you're gonna like what I play anyway. You can leave if you don't like it." The staff at Berbati's backs me up on that. "How much did you pay to get in here...?" right.
Do you have a story about a particular request or requester?
Oh, years ago, at Berbati's, I was set up over by the pool section -- no flown system, just decks on table on old wood floors. I sprayed almost a whole bottle of water on this dude and some girl from like 20 feet away 'cause I thought the guy was purposely trying to make my records skip by stomping his foot on the floor. Oh, by the way, when you squeeze the bottle while shaking it a lot
more comes out. I was actually trying to be subtle...
He freaked all out - like complaining I ruined his shirt and ruined his chances of mackin' on the girl he was trying to score with. This was the height of the "white striped shirt guy" era. If it's even passed? I was asked to go around the corner and wait in the kitchen while things cooled down and they kicked the guy and his friends out.
Recently, this kinda straight, kinda old white woman came up to me - nice really - with a smile on her face, asked me to 'play some black music'. I was playing Parliament!
Do you DJ full time? / What do you do outside of DJing?
For the most part. I'm also looking for more! One-offs, loungey nights, monthlies, weeklies, private shows? I am also one of the top well known sound engineers in town, live and studio.
I have always made a living at doing the things I love to do.
Where can we find you?
Currently the big night is Night Moves: "a dance party for real people," at Berbati's Restaurant 2nd Avenue entrance [with] no cover, no pretension, no ridiculous dress codes, no problems. Real people please, not plastic people. Also I do 3rd Fridays with Gregarious at Shut Up and Dance at the Fez.
In the past, I've had residencies at Ohm, Tube, Tiger Bar, East, Cafe' Wonder, Queerbait. I've done weddings, parties, after hours, fashion shows, art openings, garden parties, solstice events. Wouldn't mind DJ'ing a funeral or a wake. That'd be kinda fun.
How'd you get your current main gig?
I was doing sound for the Five Fingers Of Funk back in the mid-90s and they played at Berbati's restaurant, back before the club side opened. I have been part of the Berbati's family ever since. I was the first to bring the DJ'ing concept into that room back when it was fine dining.
How did KBOO come about?
As a teen, I listened to and recorded late night radio programs and learned about music on KBOO while living in Metzger, which is a 'ghetto' part of Tigard in a way, surrounded by SW Portland and Beaverton. A friend said he went down there late night one time and did a show with this lady DJ and I was jealous, like he knew that was MY thing, I am suppose to do that! So I did once, and then on my own a couple times, then she said "you should really be a volunteer here."
So eventually, I went in and did the volunteer orientation, late 1988 or so. Got involved with the Engineering department, did a little on-air training, a few substitutions, hanging out during other peoples programs. I met the DJ's I 'idolized' in a way, because I had recorded their shows and listened to them all the time. I eventually got a late-night time slot: 3-6am Thursday nights. I called it The Parallax View and went on to make history. I'd play all kinds of music and had regular listeners (the airport car rental guys that'd always call in), had bands on, regular phone-in's from friends at the SW Ghetto and had live on the phone a pot and pan drum improv. And vocal freakout by then Sweaty Nipples drummer Brad Mowen, while him and others worked making croûtons at an Italian restaurant late at night.
I also started mixing live bands on the air and eventually co-hosting/engineering the NW Music Show w/ Rhoda X and Fiona Martin(the Dread from 2nd Avenue Records) that later became the Church of NW Music w/ Rhoda and "Wreverend Wreckless" Marc Baker. I was "Brother Jay."
Since those days, I've been a staff Interim Chief Engineer, twice, and remain a "glorified volunteer." I currently am responsible for how clean, open and natural KBOO sounds compared to all the other stations in town.
KBOO is in the process of reformatting the 7 pm to midnight (Monday through Friday) time slots and one of the goals is to get more younger people interested in KBOO and one way is a focus on the urban/dance/hiphop/electronic/DJ-mixed format for a couple hours a day of that and I'm involved in that development and am also trying to get a time slot again to showcase not only my skills, but other DJs I know as well, and to promote Portland DJ culture in general.
How long have you been spinning?
Officially, I say since 1988.
What drew you to DJing originally?
Sound and DJ'ing kinda all come from my childhood. I've been messing with stereos and records since I could walk. Played bass and cello. But WKRP really opened my eyes to the radio-DJ thing -- what was that, 2nd grade or something? By 7th grade I discovered what DJ'ing while in front of people - school dances. So by 8th grade I wanted to do that and eventually started DJ'ing school dances. I was already buying records and learning to mix at home. I saw this cable access show called DJ88 with a DJ who turned out to be DJ Chill's cousin, both whom I'd meet later in life. He had a classic bedroom 80's setup in the studio, 19" mixer, cassette decks, drum machines, a 1200 or 2 he made beats, scratched. I was fascinated and that was it! I still have a copy of that show.
Around this time I was introduced to KBOO by the cool kids at school and started listening and taping the late night shows and some of the mix shows that were on at the time. A friend at school also gave me a copy of a tape from the Warehouse club (under Rotture) that she had got somehow. It had all this hip-hop and electro-of-the-time on it, and by today's standards, not great mixing, but still, it was non-stop and I wore that tape out. Still have it.
Eventually I made it downtown and started buying records at 2nd Avenue and seeing the cool dread lady that worked there, whom I would meet and work with later on KBOO. That was back when they were in the tiny single storefront; I think it was cooler that way. Around the corner though, I discovered the only dance music shop in town, Turntable Mary's, which was owned by old-schooler disco-DJ, Jerry Miller. He gave me encouraging advice as a beginner DJ, one with hardly any proper DJ equipment: a 4-track cassette recorder and a direct-drive turntable. That's what I started on and did several school dances and mix tapes with.
What are your thoughts on vinyl vs CDs vs laptops?
Vinyl, originally, as CD's and laptops weren't an option. Before Serato, I had one CD player I'd use along with turntables, mainly 'cause I play so much different stuff. I just needed to go there and wanted to play stuff on CD as well as remixes and mash-ups that were so popular at the time (2003). But going solely CDs-only was NEVER a thought.
But I've been on Serato for the past 3 years or so, and am very comfortable with it and don't plan on going back. I play so many different styles within a set that it's really the kinda thing ideal for someone like me. I mix things that shouldn't, by typical DJ standards, be mixed together. I guess that's how the whole mash-up thing started, but I've been doing it before it had a name. DJ Chill introduced me to the common hip-hop technique of mixing different capellas with different instrumentals back in '94. But that was just hip hop, I ran with it from there. It puts my vast and eclectic music all in one place, BPM'd and fanatically organized, as I do, and of the highest quality. So I come up with things like Prince/Dead Can Dance/Missy Elliot/The Police, and then some dub track or something.
What songs will we find ourselves dancing to with you?
"Romance" - An obscure 80's song I just came across, kinda Duran Duran sounding. It's amazing though. Cool first verse.
RAF - "Self Control"
A cover, by some Italian pop guy, of a Laura Branigan song. Solomon, DJ, introduced me to this one - way better than the original.
Nirvana vs Dirty Funker - "Smells Like Teen Spirit (Ruffnek Edit)"
The Jackson 5 - "I Want You Back (Z-Trip Remix)"
Santogold - "L.E.S Artistes (Molecule Remix)" Dub. Remix. Tight.
How would you describe yourself in five words or less - complete sentence or not:
Complicated, Like Denise Richard's Colon.
How do you describe the genre you play?
I don't play A
genre. I do not discriminate! I get bored easily with one genre - I play all genres. When you start out by doing school dances you have too. No such thing as a 'hip-hop DJ'. Back then you had to please everyone. So I made friends with all the social cliques, art kids, wavers, rockers, jocks, freaks and geeks, The Thessspians.
I was usually everyone's favorite DJ 'cause I'd play what they wanted, as opposed to the times where they'd bring in like a Z100 DJ or something. I also created MTV video mixes for Friday lunchtimes in junior high, playing videos and Apple IIe visual shows during dances too. Ahh yeah. Funny, back in the early gangster 90's, I was playing a mixtape of hip-hop for DJ Chill when we were on the road.He was like, "Man, you're mixing East Coast with West Coast. You don't give a fuck!" A very DJ Chill moment and very true.
How long have you resided in Portland?
I'm a native. Please don't feed us.
Photo care of King Fader