DJ UMAMI | THE INTERVIEW

State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJ Umami, professional DJ.

I think that’s the first time I called myself that.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I’ve owned turntables for a little over 12 years. Originally just bought them to let off some steam during a really crazy period in my life. The good homie Cutso was patient enough to show me how to beat match and I just kept going.

I was working the door at Gwrex’s party at Poleng called Strut. One day he asked me if I was down to do an opening set the following month. I laughed at first, and he was like, “why not? Fuck it, man.” So I did. That was my first gig. Strut in May 2008.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I don’t really want to give away my age, but as soon as I was old enough to go out, I was drooling over sets from Music Machine when it was at SOFA lounge. I can’t really pinpoint a specific time, but I know that past vibe is still hanging on by a thread. Where DJs were playing golden era hip hop, soul and funk and it was nutty from front to back.

I remember going there by myself just to catch The Bangerz play. I would also hit up PST a lot when it was at Levende (now Brick & Mortar) and followed it to 330 Ritch. In Oakland, I remember catching The Oakland Faders at Luka’s and wondering where has this party been all my life. I used to follow most of Fran Boogie’s Parties, so I was no stranger to the legendary Triple Threat DJs.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

I’m extremely blessed to know and call most of my influential DJs my big brothers. I’ve learned so much and have been put on by them. When I’m up and playing with some of these cats, trust that I’m nervous AF. The thought of trying to find self-worth next to (usually) men that have been killing the game for years gets me sweating bullets and is a setup for failure.

The only thing that gets me in the right headspace is usually focusing on the crowd rather than which DJ is behind me or in the building listening to my selection or transitions. When the crowd is fuckin with you, that’s when you prove your worthiness. I know that doesn’t directly answer your question, but I guess it’s because it depends.


“When the crowd is fuckin’ with you, that’s when you prove your worthiness.”


Peaches Crew has undoubtedly become an institution. Talk about the history and influence y’all have had and what it means to be a part of such an important collective in Bay Area DJ history.

The Peaches Crew was started by Masaye Waugh at Skylark in SF. She wanted to do a weekly party that featured women DJs, so we were handpicked by her and essentially became a family more than a crew. The core group was Deeandriod, Lady Fingaz, DJ That Girl, and myself. We’ve then since added members Pony P, Deejay Andre, and Lady Ryan and some have also left because they’ve had to move. In our going on 8 years together, we’ve established multiple residencies around The Bay that we all rotate.

It’s been so important to have theses badass women in my corner in this male-dominated field, as they have been such a motivating force within my life (I know I just quoted Aaliyah). From time to time, we get together in a non-club environment and shoot the shit, eat, drink, share music, have mini scratch sessions, and update each other with our dating lives. It’s so hard to get anything productive done though because we have so much fun when we’re together.

Favorite burrito joint?

I try to stay away from burritos these days because they make me hella sleepy. They are, in fact nature’s giant sleeping pill. But if I’m going to spoil myself, Papalote’s adobo burrito with avocado, extra Papalote Salsa please.

Curry or Kobe?

No disrespect to the Black Mamba and the career that he’s had, but Curry all day. Curry’s already had one more MVP awards than Kobe has, one being unanimous, and his career is still pretty young. But, people would say my opinion is totally biased, which it is.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

I love going up to wine country for little staycations. I recently visited Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga for a couple days after a seven gig in four days weekend, and it was just what I needed to reboot. But most of the time, I really love just being at home chillin’ with a cup of tea.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now and why?

This changes a lot. I’ve had Goldlink’s “Crew” on heavy rotation lately. I tend to lean towards R&B rather than hip hop. I feel like it’s a perfect balance of both, or maybe just enough for me. Music that is timeless versus trendy tends to resonate more with me, so I get juiced when I find soulful artists these days.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shout out to my sisters in the Peaches Crew. Follow us on IG to stay updated with our shenanigans @peaches_crew.

Shout out to my kids, Demarcus & Ajrien because they’re awesome and maybe one of their friends will read this and my kids will finally think I’m a little cool…or not. Whatever. Love you guys.

Follow me on Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat at @djumami
Like me on Facebook at Facebook.com/djumami
Check out some of my mixes at djumami.com

DJ LazyBoy | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

DJLAZYBOY aka GREG FRESSSH aka GREGORY THE GREAT aka GANGSTA SUSHI aka HARDBOILED GREGG aka YOUR MOM’S FAVORITE DJ

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I started djing in December 1999. My first gig was at this teen center. They had a dance night and I had a dope collection of cds. I asked to rock one night and when I dropped my songs and the girlies screamed, I knew I found what I wanted to do. My first paying steady dj gig was at a bowling alley in Santa Rosa, Ca. on Saturday nights called Continental Lanes. My homie from 1st grade Forrest hooked it up. It was definitely an open format gig, and all I really had was house and radio hits on vinyl. They had tons of DVD’s and CD’s though so I would drop music videos, take requests, and try and slip in as much radio house hits as I could. My jam at the time was “Papi Chulo” by Funkdoobiest. They could only handle so much of that Wild 94.9 stuff there.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I’d have to say the battle era. Even though I wasn’t a part of it, looking back, some of the most legendary relationships were made during that era. All of the gods were in the battle circuit and became friends just like I am with folks in the battle circuit today. The difference is that djing was so young that many of the folks were pioneering techniques and styles. I mean ISP, Beat Junkie Sound, Oakland Faderz, Triple Threat Djs, Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, FourOneFunk. I WISH I could cruise down the street and see cats in their garage juggling, scratching, mixing, and that’s how it was in Daly City back then. For me being from West Sonoma County me and the homies would travel down to San Bruno every Sunday to see Ales1 and Teeko mix it up and talk about their week at Ultra Sounz. That’s what life was for us. We just wanted to be accepted and more connected with our “older brothers” in the game. Shout to Rob, Ajax, and Kendo (I don’t think kendo worked there but he would always ask “so what do you think of Amen” LOL). Good times.


“That’s what life was for us. We just wanted to be accepted and more connected with our ‘older brothers’ in the game.”


You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

First of all… I’m a “Control Vinyl Purist” so you probably wouldn’t catch me rocking an all vinyl set, unless I came into some serious money and could afford it! If I did rock it… I have some seriously dope transitions like this one from “My Thang” to “Funky Child” to “Sideways” that puts a look on your face like you smell some piss! So I’d just do creative transitions, and be super different. I got to open for Z-Trip 3 years ago and in my set I rocked an auctioneer selling over a bass heavy beat into some other tracks about money. He’s definitely my dj hero. Lately cats in Oakland have been coming out with cases of fresh vinyl, carrying themselves like they are the shit, but can’t even mix with them. I saw one guy out of a crew of 5 actually mix. I immediately went up and offered him free one on one mentoring because it felt like I needed to feed the hunger that separated him from his homies. Perhaps that would help them to step it up and find a desire to push themselves further into the rabbit hole. Back in my day (2000’s LOL) if you went up and let a song play and then just dropped the next track you would get kicked off the tables. I never heard from him. I definitely want to dig through my vinyl go out and show them how it can be done. I am probably coming off super arrogant right now, but those of you who grew up on vinyl and see these types of newcomer djs doing this know how cringing it is to be in the same room and watch this go down.

You’re known as a fierce competitor in the battle scene. Do you identify with being a battle DJ first and foremost or something else? Which do you like doing more, showcasing, competing, or party rockin’? Why is still important for DJs to showcase skill in their sets, i.e., scratching, trick mixing, etc.?

HAHA! I didn’t know that I was! I guess now that I look at it I suppose I am. I’m just a dj who sees the battle scene as an opportunity to showcase talent. It’s like a recital for djs, where we get to write our own show and perform it. I don’t battle to prove I’m the best. I don’t think I’m the best at all, but I know that I’m dope! I know that I’m creative. I know my place is to entertain the people who paid to have a great time and hear great music, so I do it with skill, precision, and a style that only lazyboy can. The dj scene here in the bay and many other places is super clicky. I’ve been trying to earn my stripes for years here, and even with Shortkut vouching for me, and many others who stand by me, I am just starting to get the recognition I’ve been working so hard for. I give it to the battle scene for providing me that platform. I still haven’t gotten booked at many of the places I want to spin at, with many of my favorite bay area legends I’d love to share the crowd with. So I use the battle platform to show everyone what I’ve got in hopes to finally be accepted and invited to rock a crowd. So to answer your questions, I identify as a well rounded dj first and foremost. I mostly enjoy party rocking which allows me to showcase with a competitive mindset. See what I did there? LOL. Here’s why I feel it’s important. This day in age there are a blahzillian amount of “DJs” out there undercutting those of us who have dedicated our lives to this as an art form and career. The way that we differentiate ourselves is by how we get down. Selection will ALWAYS be first, but your style is what the listener will use to separate you from the next guy with a laptop and a library.

Favorite burrito joint?

Hmmm… Papalote, but I’m more of a taco guy really and I’ve gotta shout a spot you may never have guessed to have one of the best tacos ever. Eastside West on taco tuesdays. Get “The Vampiro”. I know it sounds like a strange place, but trust me. Go there, get that, and thank me later.

Curry or Kobe?

Curry. C’mon son!

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

To unwind sometimes I enjoy going where the people are. Downtown San Francisco on a sunny day feels great. Also hiking in Marin, Sonoma County. Taking a drive through the wine country back roads. Hitting up random food spots in cities I’ve never been. Hopping on a train or a bus and ending up wherever. I’m a very spontaneous person and that’s the best way for me to unwind.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

I listen to a lot of playlists, mixes, and podcasts. Mostly self help books on dating an socializing. LOL I’m such a dj nerd. I’m a drake fan and I could definitely hear “Take Care” 10 years from now. I can ALWAYS listen to “Uptown Saturday Night” Camp Lo, “Dookie” Green Day, “Smash” The Offspring. “They’re all gonna laugh at you” Adam Sandler.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

I def gotta shout Platurn for this dope interview and giving me a spotlight to share some of what goes on in the mind of the boy they call lazy, thank you! Shortkut, Gordo/MOM DJS, Chuy and Hugo Gomez, Dinga, Sizzlak and Casa Rasta, Eddie Marz, Patrick Malone, Beset, Ousa, Mr. Murdock, Classic, Samantha Mineo, Crimson, TypeOne, Antriks, Ajaxx, Illborn, Expo, Ynot, Luis Orozco, JB, Tamayo, Cal, Fabian, Mark Maiden, Kendo, Dan Rosenbach, all for putting me on. Zhaldee, MytyMyke, Phil Drummond, Ease for keeping me informed on dj battles. GoldenChyld, Z-Trip, Ferno, Danny West, David Neito for offering help guiding myself in this career, Cutso for saving my ass, Marvell for ALWAYS being there for me. Apollo, Jam, Mr. Choc, Rectangle, Revolution, Spinbad, Icewater, Jazzy Jeff, JFB, Rafik, PriMO, Tony Tone, J. Espinosa, Byte, Four Color Zack, Craze, Enferno and many more for inspiration. Shout to my sponsor Class Acts 93 y’all should carry some of the gear at TRUE. It would be a nice fit. Shout to all the groupies and cuties out there! If it wasn’t for y’all it would be that much less fun for us! A MASSIVE SHOUT OUT to ALL of my fans and those who believe in the boy they call Lazy! You help me each and everyday and what is a dj without a crowd?!

Catch me on social media FB/IG/TWITTER : @djlazyboy

www.djlazyboy.net

MIXCLOUD: @djlazyboy23

Lean Rock | The Interview

State your stage name and profession for the record.

What up! My name is Lean Rock and I’m a bboy/dj.

How long have you been DJing? Do you remember your first DJ gig?

I’ve been playing music for about 12 years but honestly I would say I didn’t really start djing until about 6 years ago. My first gig was Ken Swift’s Raiders of the Lost Art back in 2005. Looking back at that gig I wouldn’t really consider myself a DJ.

What’s your favorite DJ era in the Bay Area and why?

I’m originally from Boston so I grew up around more djs from the New York/Philly/Boston area. I didn’t really know much about the Bay Area dj scene until I met Paulskee. He put me on to a lot of gems and Bay Area legends mainly from early 80s to late 90s (Bullet Proof Scratch Hamsters, Apollo, the Filipino mobile Dj movement, etc.). I was familiar with Qbert, Mixmaster Mike, and Dj Shadow as a kid but I didn’t really know much about the Bay until Paul schooled me. Derrick D, Shortkut, and Swiftrock (R.I.P) were probably the first Bay Area djs I heard play out live. The moment I heard them play, I knew the Bay was on another level. I really appreciated hearing how tasteful they were with selection and how skillful they were. On the skilled dj tip they were better than most djs I’ve ever heard… they could also rock a party and they could also kill it at the bboy jam. You know that saying jack-of- all-trades… master of none… a lot of Bay Area dj legends I know are the master of all trades. I’m going with the 90s generation but don’t take my word on that because my knowledge isn’t so deep on Bay Area dj history.

You’re on stage in front of all your heroes and you gotta rock a 10 minute all vinyl set to prove your worthiness. What records do you choose?

I think it’s safe to say that my specialty is playing obscure breaks. So I’m definitely going to rock out some obscure joints that most peeps probably aren’t hip to. I’m definitely “nerding” out in this situation. Most of my dj heroes are hip hop heads, so I think they would definitely appreciate hearing some breaks. I mean that is the foundation of hip hop culture right? I’ve been fortunate enough to play at the Tools of War park jams in NYC every year and play with most of my dj heroes…I’m not really big on sharing titles of breaks but I’ll give you a little something:

3rd Avenue Blues Band – Come On and Get It
Keef James – Find Your Own Way
Kaleidoscope – Tempe Arizona
Mandrill – Get It All
XXXXXXX – Hey Hey Na Na

Talk about what it’s like to DJ for b-boys and battles in general. Is it challenging? How different is it from rockin’ clubs? What methods do you use to prepare for specific gigs? Any other insight for DJs that want to get more into the b-boy scene?

This is going to be long because there is just so much to bring up…. I feel like just like anything else in life… it’s as challenging as you make it. You can either play it safe and play all the known joints or you can be righteous to the people and put them on to something dope they aren’t up on. It’s either you’re in it for the quick fix or you’re in it for the long run. Just like anything else you have to put in the time if you want to do it right. The basic dj mixing skills are definitely required to play bboy battles but in general most dancers get annoyed with over the top scratching/juggling when they’re dancing. Most bboys and bgirls aren’t too keen of it because when it’s overdone it overpowers the music. It’s better to be funky and clean on the cuts. It’s also best to keep the beat steady on the juggles. Rocking a party is definitely the same in this sense. It’s about BALANCE. Through my experience, I would say selection is most important to the dancers. As long as you keep a nice flow going on the mix and you’re playing the right joints for them, they will go off. There are 2 approaches you need to learn in order do well at a bboy event.

The first approach is the cypher approach, which is pretty much like rocking a party. This is considered the “down time” at most bboy events but for me it’s the time to go in. Cypher time is a true testament to how well you control the vibe and how well you’re really rocking the jam. This is your time to shine. There is nothing forced at this moment. This is the perfect time to take people on a journey. Your job is to play music that will touch different feelings and different emotions. I usually play more feel good classic/unknown boom bap hip hop joints and classic funk/breaks joints during the cypher time. Depending on the crowd at the event (mixture of dance styles or just normal folks), I will go even a little further with my music selection (maybe some House, Future Funk, etc.).

The second approach is the battle approach. Bboys and bgirls are kind of forced to dance to what’s given to them in a battle. So the battle approach is definitely more about giving the dancers something a little more energetic to keep the spirits up. So I tend to play my more up-tempo breaks and up-tempo funky joints (JB style) for battles. I try my best to keep it funky and not too fast. For battles I usually play tracks in the bpm range of 110 – 125. I’m personally not a fan of dancing to stiff drums. As a bboy, I need to be just as loose as that drummer is. I need that natural swing or it just doesn’t that funky feel to it.

I highly suggest keeping the music going in between battles. This keeps the vibe and flow of the event going. When you cut the music off the vibe dies down and I feel like the host goes a little overboard with the talking. So keep that music playing to keep everyone in check. Quick mixing is also very important to playing bboy battles. You want to make sure you’re not playing the same track for too long (unless there are multiple sections on the song you can flip). I would say play a track no longer than 2 minutes. You want to also make sure you bring in the next record at the right time during a bboy battle. You don’t want to interrupt the dancer’s flow or energy in a battle. So you bring in the next record either as soon that bboy finishes his round or as soon as that next dancer comes out. It’s very important to pay attention to the dancers and try your best to read their movement. The next song you bring in should also match in energy. This is important when it comes to keeping the energy up in a battle. Most djs are all over the place with this. So it’s all about putting the right pieces together to the puzzle.


“You don’t want to interrupt the dancer’s flow or energy in a battle. So you bring in the next record either as soon that bboy finishes his round or as soon as that next dancer comes out. It’s very important to pay attention to the dancers and try your best to read their movement. The next song you bring in should also match in energy. This is important when it comes to keeping the energy up in a battle. Most djs are all over the place with this. So it’s all about putting the right pieces together to the puzzle.”


Since playing at bboy events are so focused on one particular crowd (bboys & bgirls), the idea of playing at a bboy event is pretty simple. As long as you keep it in the realms of up-tempo hip hop and funk you will be good. The hardest part of it is finding the music for it since there really isn’t a lot of good music made specifically for breaking. Apache and Its Just Begun are considered bboy classics, but these records weren’t made with bboys in mind. They just happen to have the feel that was needed to make bboys go off. Digging is key.

As far as preparation goes, if I’m not familiar with the party or the city I do my research on the party and city. I’m asking people I know that might have attended/played the party/gig and I’m also getting info from the promoter. In the breaking world, I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work through experience and travel. It’s not as complicated as a party is for me because I’m definitely more known in the bboy community. As far as the set goes, I tend to prepare micro sets but I’m freestyling. You will never know the exact mood of any gig until you feel it out. Bboy events are usually very long too (much longer than most parties are). So you definitely need to prep up to play tons of tracks (at least 6-10 hours worth of tracks).. There isn’t a great variety of music that will be played at a bboy event compared to the variety being played at most parties… so digging is key in the bboy world.

The edits, remixes, and original production thing are also cool as long as it’s done right (and tastefully). Relying too much on remixes and edits gets a little corny considering a lot of the songs we dance to are already masterpieces (Kon makes some really good remixes though). You’re probably not going to make a James Brown song better than what it already is. As far as edits go, don’t just have the track looping the whole time… it’s boring. Give it a little flavor. As a dancer, I really feel like these remixes don’t give as much new inspiration as new music does. New music brings new feeling. Most remixes and edits are done in lazy fashion (especially in the bboy scene), usually with too many layers of drum breaks on top of the main groove. I think when some people make remixes they’re relying on the popularity/catchiness of a song rather than how well how they can be creative and flip it better to the point where it is almost unrecognizable. This is why I really appreciated hip hop remixes back in the days… because people actually made the effort to flip the original. They weren’t just throwing in a extra verse over the same beat and calling it a day. They were giving the songs new life. As far as original production, you need to spend loads of time on it and hire real musicians if you’re plugins aren’t cutting it. I personally hate it when the instruments sound super generic and unreal especially with horns and drums. Your drums need to be knocking….. I will just leave it at that.

Lastly, most bboy events lack females. I think this makes a lot of bboy events boring compared to parties. I feel like females bring a very dynamic energy that is needed to set the mood right. The female presence definitely lightens up the mood and definitely makes the environment more fun. So the party rocking scene is definitely miles ahead on that. So yeah rocking a party and bboy events are two different animals with plenty of similarities.

Favorite burrito joint?

My burrito game is weak out here (LA). I spend more time eating tacos. My go to spots for tacos are Guisados and Leo’s Taco Truck. The only spot I go to consistently for burritos is Papalote’s in SF and I’m barely ever in SF. (I have to add that I was really disappointed in the OG El Farolito).

Curry or Kobe?

I’m a Boston guy so this kind of a difficult question to answer. I can’t front though…I got a lot of respect for Kobe and Curry. Kobe has proved himself as one of the most fierce competitors in the NBA ever. Kobe definitely stepped up his game when it mattered most. He had the killer instinct that most players lack today. I think Curry is great role model on & off the court and I feel like he’s improved on his game faster than anyone I’ve ever seen in the NBA. I’m just not so sure if Curry has that same killer instinct that Kobe or Jordan had. I mean it’s really hard to compare them because they both play the game differently. They both can score but Curry relies more on shooting outside (Curry is a much better 3pt shooter). Kobe relied more on jump shots and driving to the hole. I think Westbrook would probably be the better comparison for Kobe. I think Kobe at his prime was a better all around basketball player than Curry is in his prime. I think this also comes down to size. Kobe has leverage on size…so typically you’re going to get more defensive attributes with size. Curry still has some years left in the NBA, so there’s still plenty left to prove. Curry is probably better for team chemistry and probably a better fit in most team rotations in today’s NBA. Kobe’s competitive attitude was his strong point but it also his downfall. So I feel like Kobe really thrives depending on who’s coaching him, his teammates and what system he’s playing under… while Curry would probably thrive under more coaches and thrive under more systems than Kobe would.

What’s one of your favorite places to go unplug and unwind on the West Coast?

I love going to Point Dume in Malibu. There is nothing that clears the mind better than the ocean. There aren’t a lot of tourist that go to Point Dume because it’s kind of a mission to get to and it’s also difficult to find.

What’s a current favorite album you’re listening to now that you think you’ll still be listening to 10 years from now?

My taste in music has changed drastically since I’ve moved to LA. I think I got exposed to loads of great music well beyond the funk & hip hop realm since moving here. My standards are a bit higher because the musical inspiration here in LA is much better than it was in Boston. Boston is a much smaller city with less going on in the arts & entertainment world. I’ve gained more of an open ear to different genres of music and I’ve went to more shows that made me feel uncomfortable (which I think is very important as a music lover). You know I’m a hip hop head but I really feel like hip hop music has really been inconsistent with the word “timeless” in recent years. I feel like it’s really shifting into sub genres. Most albums don’t provide the middle ground that’s needed to make a classic. There have definitely been some solid releases (ATCQ, De La Soul, Kendrick, etc.) in recent years but there really isn’t any hip hop album that has stayed in my rotation after a few months in. Everything kind of seems rushed out and the standards are just really low right now. It all feels like some flavor of the month type thing. I feel like most people are peer pressured into feeling like some of these solid rap albums are classics just because most albums that have came out in recent years have been subpar. I’m trying my best to enjoy music for what it is not even use the word classic…because only time can tell. I don’t really have one favorite album at the moment…. but I will say these 3 albums have definitely been in my rotation steadily the past 2 years… Anderson Paak’s “Malibu”, Kaytranada “99.9”, and Hiatus Kaiyote “Choose Your Weapon”… they’re hip hop influenced.

Drop some shout outs and where folks can find you on social media.

Shout out to Platurn and True for the interview. Shout out to God, my family, my crew, my friends, and all the people that I’ve ever got to vibe out with. One love.

Insta: @djleanrock
Twitter: @djleanrock
Facebook: @djleanrock