Inner Circle : KevLove
What got you into DJ-ing?
I didn’t know DJing was an actual thing until I witnessed my uncle doing it for my cousin’s sweet 16. I was really fascinated by the artistry and musical connection between my uncle and guests. Next thing you know, I was bringing my mix CDs that I would personally make to all my friends house parties and play them on the boom box. Let me tell you, there was no better feeling than seeing them dance and trust my musical taste. From then on, I knew this was something I’d be interested in doing, but didn’t think it would be possible to make a career out of it.
What defines your sound?
What defines my sound is the influence from my musically inclined family, friends who have great taste in music, and all the DJs who inspire me.
What keeps you motivated?
As a full time creative, artist, and entrepreneur, being secure and comfortable doesn’t exist in this space. That insecurity turns into my motivation and keeps me on my toes, always figuring out ways to adapt to the times, but also staying true to what I believe in. This can be challenging at times, but you’ll always reap the fruits of your labor.
Is there anyone/anything that you look to for inspiration?
The answer to my second question briefly touches up on this, but in general, I can be inspired by a simple conversation with someone, traveling, and reflecting.
What kind of music do you feel the most connected to?
I love all types of music and can find something I appreciate in all genres, but if I had to narrow it down, I’m definitely most connected to any uptempo genres such as electronic dance remix type stuff, deep and classic house, uk garage/2-step, to international genres from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and anything R&B.
Who’s on your radar that’s up and coming from your area (or in general)?
DJ Scott Lauren. He's Sheck Wes's touring DJ. Also, the Chilltown DJ homies Jedd Kristjan, DJ Obvious, Eric Joseph, and Davalz who represents Uncrowned Sounds also based out of Jersey.
Favorite spot to grab a bite in Jersey?
There’s a bunch of places to eat in Jersey City and the surrounding cities/towns. My number one go to in JC is Ibby’s Falafel. You HAVE to order the shawafel with chicken kebab and a lentil soup. Quality ingredients, always fresh, and the perfect place for a quick and cheap bite. Also, there’s this spot I’ve recently discovered in Hoboken, NJ called Fiore’s. It’s an Italian deli known for their roast beef and fresh mozzarella with gravy sandwich. Bomb AF.
What was the first thing you noticed about Boston?
First thing I noticed about Boston was the creative community and their work ethic. I love that everyone collaborates with each other. I was very lucky to be surrounded by great people and feel like I was part of the family. Shout out Yvng Paul, Big Bear, and the whole CLLCTV team!
What was your perception of Boston before you played the Wave?
Being from the NJ/NY area, I was always told that Boston doesn’t get love mainly because of sports, but I was never one to have the hater mentality to begin with, so having those negative feelings is totally irrelevant. Plus, I’m always cordial to everyone regardless of where they’re from.
After playing the Wave, I appreciated how open minded everyone was. It was also dope to see the crowd getting down to the sounds of Jersey. The energy that night was insane! I got a natural high from the great vibes that I haven't felt in a really long time. I wish I can rewind time and relive that moment all over again.
Digital or vinyl?
Digital. I started DJing on digital and for some reason that is always looked down on by the OG DJs who started on vinyl. However, I do own vinyl that I enjoy playing at the crib. I also have vinyl that has been passed down to me from my DJ crew that I practiced on before I officially became a member. It’s always good to practice mixing without being dependent on technology.
One thing you can’t travel without?
My laptop for sure.
How has your experience been being an Asian-American DJ? Having an Asian parent myself, I know have a “non-traditional” career in the creative space can be difficult for them to support.
My parents are a little bit more on the traditional side, but over the past 8 years I’ve been DJing professionally, they’ve seen how much my career has flourished and have been nothing but supportive and proud.
Have you encountered any barriers because of your race? And how’d you over come them? How do you overcome stereo-types that come with your background in today’s picture-perfect social media era?
When it comes to stereotypes being Asian, I’m definitely an introvert. But that doesn’t get in the way or stop me once I get behind the decks. The best part is when I’m the only Asian at the club and the crowd is shocked on my musical taste and knowledge because they don't expect it coming from me. After that, it’s nothing but love and respect.
How is it having a partner who is in the same lane as you?
We’re constantly learning about each other both professionally and personally every day. It’s important to know when to separate the two. It can definitely be challenging at times, but when you really care about someone or something, you always find a way to make it work.
What’s the story behind some of the parties you’ve created like body talk, cuffin’ and the elite camp?
Body Talk was formerly known as a party called Tuesbooty (yes funny name I know lol) that I did with my DJ partner, Kid Chalupa in the Lower Eastside of NYC. We recently decided to do business separately to reach certain career goals, so I ended up taking over the night solo and Chalupa started doing his own thing, working more on production and doing gigs geared towards Latin music.
Cuffin is a no frills R&B party that started on the west coast. The brand has expanded to different cities all over the country. Me and Luv represent the Jersey chapter. We do the party every first Saturday of the month at Red Lounge in downtown Jersey City and feature local guest DJs as well as DJs from NYC.
The Elite Camp is my DJ crew. They’re my big brothers and have a huge influence on how I DJ and approach music. They helped refine my skills as a DJ and play a part in my introduction to the party scene in NYC.