Dance like Nobody is Watching!
>> The other day Krit and I sat down with DJ Alykhan to talk about his career as a DJ and his event we are cosponsoring for this upcoming Saturday (December 17th), the Prince vs. MJ dance party. The event is free and DJ Ease will also be there spinning some fresh beats!
“My name is DJ Alykhan. I’m more or less a Rochestarian at this point. I moved here from outside of Philly. I came out here for school originally”, said Alykhan, “I ended up going to the U of R (University of Rochester)... I studied public health and I did minors in gender studies and religion. I’ve been djing since highschool but I didn’t take it seriously till college.”
Alykhan was boosted to local fame after being nominated as “best live DJ” in the fall of 2014 in City Newspaper, and has subsequently been awarded the nomination In 2015 and 2016. We talked about how his interest in DJing stems from a love for bringing people together. “ Ultimately, I want people from diverse cultural, social, and economic backgrounds to find commonality at my parties” says Alykhan. If you’ve been to any of his events, you will see a vast array of people. “I fell in love with classic hip hop culture at an early age” DJ Alykhan reminisced. “I was just drawn to DJ’ing, especially turntables...the scratching.” His first DJ setup in seventh grade was a CD Walkman and a belt-drive turntable. He started out playing sweet sixteen’s and graduation parties. He first cut his teeth playing cocktail hour and dinner hour sets, which taught him how to cater to a broad crowd and helped to develop the eclectic edge that has come to define his style. As Alykhan started to make his way into the downtown scene, his penchant for mashing up rap and indie songs caught the ear of local promoter Tim Avery. With Tim’s help, DJ Alykhan and his friend Rob started spinning on Tuesday nights at the Bug Jar. “Turnt Up Tuesdays at the Bug Jar grew into a solid industry night .We were packing 80 to 100 people in a small dive bar on a weeknight in the dead of winter” he said. The popularity of that night gave Alykhan the leverage he needed to start booking weekend nights around the city.
DJ Alykhan’s style of DJing is unique in that he constantly seeks to combine and mashup genres and mix in-and-out of various decades. DJ Alykhan explained, “The goal of open format DJ’ing is to incorporate multiple genres, tastes, and flavors in novel and entertaining ways. First and foremost, I mix by tempo. So whether it is a salsa track or a hip hop track or an indie rock track if it’s in a particular tempo range and I like the songs I’m going to mix them together. I’ll jump from a funk or disco tune to an indie pop song then I’ll scratch a hip-hop acapella over it. I’ve been lucky. Growing up outside Philly and hearing open-format DJs on some of the local college radio stations plus spending time in Toronto has really shaped my perspective on music and DJ’ing - Toronto, especially. It’s metropolitan nature means DJ’s really have to be on their toes and well-rounded. I am trying to elevate the artistry of DJ’ing in Rochester and bring that metropolitan flavor home.”
We finally got to talking about the idea for the event this coming Saturday, the Prince vs. MJ dance party! DJ Alykhan’s passion for Prince’s music was really started by his parents and their attraction to funk, soul, and disco music. In fact, DJ Alykhan worked with DJ Dave Wrangler from Houston, TX, to produce the Prince tribute mixtape Purple Life, released for free online in 2014. “The mix was an instant hit. USA Today picked it up and posted about it, which drove the play-count sky high. Dave and I have a running joke that Prince must’ve heard it and approved, since the mix is still online – given that Prince has always been very protective of having his work featured on any streaming medium and (his estate) still pursues copyright claims vigorously”. Shortly after Prince’s death in April 2016, DJ Alykhan was spun a Prince tribute party at The Playhouse. “With little to no time for any real promotion, both floors were packed and people were screaming the lyrics to every song. It was a beautiful experience” said Alykhan. ”Massive amounts of people came out to celebrate his legacy and for the next few weeks my inbox was flooded with people asking about ‘the next one’ so I knew that I had to do another tribute night at some point”. This desire to honor music legends has spawned the upcoming Prince vs. MJ event at ButaPub. “It’s not an uncommon thing. There are a lot of cities that do Prince vs. MJ parties but the difference with this event is that instead of just playing Prince and Michael Jackson songs, we’re going to be blending and remixing all night. It’s a party-rocking DJ’s take on a Prince vs. Michael Jackson replete with A/V treats at an intimate venue” says Alykhan.
As mentioned earlier, turntablist and Redbull Thre3style champion from Las Vegas DJ Ease will be joining DJ Alykhan this Saturday. Alykhan was visibly excited as he discussed this upcoming collaboration, “Ease is nightlife veteran with a great deal of international touring experience. While his roots are in Rochester, he’s a staple in the NYC and Las Vegas club scenes. We’re going to deconstruct and reconstruct Prince and MJ hits and b-sides live on four turntables.”
We hope to see you there! <<
Link to RSVP for the event: www.PRINCEvsMJ.party
Purple Life mix: www.djalykhan.com/purplelife