Up Close & Intimate, A Interview With: Joe K

So You Think You Can DJ?

Recently we organized our very first DJ contest, it wasn’t a big one but is was a dope one since we had a lot of submissions from DJ’s from all over the world and we got the luxury position to listen to all of them 😉 Yes there were some bad ones but the good ones between all mixes were worth listening to the bad mixes to. Our first So You Think You Can DJ Contest was a big hit, a lot of DJ’s sended their demo’s in and a few made it through the selection. One of those DJ’s is our DJ contest winner Joe K from Lebanon, Beirut. Joe will be playing in our weekly Radio show / podcast Dirty Disco Radio that is hosted weekly on 5 different radio stations world wide and available as a English podcast on all platforms: Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Our Youtube Channel and in the Itunes store. You can listen to the podcast on your favorite platform, if you do please subscribe follow us and leave some feedback. I always say support the movement! 😉

The show always kicks off live on our Dutch radio station Deep Fm on a Monday  19:00 CET. This Monday the 16th of March 2015 Joe K will take the responsibility of the exclusive guest mix in our Dirty Disco show. Make sure to be there with a nice drink along your side and the volume turned up high.

Because of the occasion and Joe winning the contest we did a little bit of Q & A with Joe, just to understand what his drive is and what his view is on the whole Dj / music scene.
Take some time to enjoy the interview and please share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below the page.

Up Close & Intimate, A Interview With: Joe K

1.Let’s start with little introduction, what is your real name and when did you start DJ’ing, what or who were your early passions and influences?

My real name is Joseph Kanaan and I got into DJing around 16. During that time I was mainly influenced by electro and progressive house. But later down the line I worked my way into deep house/nu disco/indie dance.

2.What are the most special moments in your artistic career?

The most special moments are looking at the crowd just letting the music take control of them, letting their inhibitions go and just having an amazing time!

3.How did you know that music production and DJ’ing were things you definitely wanted to pursue in life?

Music has always been a big part of my life. Before DJing, I learned piano and drums and my father is huge rock/metal fan so pretty much music has been around me all throughout my life. Also, music has always been a getaway for me, so I always knew it would be a big part of my life.

4.What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJ’ing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

Well I guess the main challenges for DJs everywhere is trying to find the right tracks that express what that DJ is all about. Comp aring this to a producer, a producer would simply create what is going on in his mind and play it where as a DJ would have to search endlessly through A-tracks and B-tracks to find the ones that really paint the picture he visualizes in his or her head.

5.What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

Generally, each set I create has a certain theme so depending on the theme I have in mind, I carefully select the pool of tracks I want to use to achieve this mood I want to create through my set.

Joe K

6.How do you prepare for a gig? Is there a ritual that you always do?

Preparing for a gig is always an exciting thing for me because no two gigs are the same. So I would say that the first step is figuring out to what type of crowd I would be playing, because this would greatly affect the type of tracks I’d play. After that’s done, I like to get to the venue early to setup and make sure everything is running smoothly. Finally, I try my best to get as much rest as I can before each gig.

7.What makes you decide to play a particular track during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?

Generally I have an idea of what I will be playing at gigs, however I don’t like to set strict playlists to play because I usually use the crowd to help me direct my sets. It’s much more fun this way and plus you really end up making sure the crowd has the best time they can have.

8.When there’s more music than one can possibly take in, it is becoming increasingly hard to know what constitutes an original and a remake anymore. What’s your opinion on the importance of roots, traditions, respecting originals and sources?

Respecting sources is very important. Yes, the world of music is about creativity and using pieces of music to combine them into your own, but at the same time all those pieces you are using came from the hard work of someone and it’s very important to acknowledge that.

9.Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJ’ing, if they don’t actually know what, precisely, is happening behind the decks

Definitely! The crowd doesn’t need to explicitly understand what is going on behind the decks to really appreciate the music being played. A well-crafted set intrinsically speaks to people’s subconscious and takes them on a powerful music high without requiring them to consciously understand how exactly that’s happening. It’s just like being in a good mood for no apparent reason.

10.The relationship with the audience is crucial for a DJ, and yet it seems to be a fragile one. How do you see the balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new?

When a certain crowd shows up to a certain DJ’s performance, they expect to hear what they normally do from that DJ. It is the DJ’s job to ensure that he or she essentially give the crowd what they want. However, the crowd also looks to the DJ as a source of something fresh, something new. The crowd puts its faith in DJs’ taste so it is also the DJ’s responsibility to drop something new every now and then to keep the crowd on their feet and introduce them to the constant growth of the world of music.

11.DJs that just press play on their laptop may have given technology a bad name, but without technology, there’d be no DJ’ing in the first place. What’s your perspective on the relationship and the balance between technological advances, music and the art of DJ’ing? How have particular technologies changed your style of DJ’ing?

Technology has definitely given room to better innovation and creativity on DJs’ side. For example, before this surge in technology, the main concern of
DJs was to start playing a song, then select a new song, beat matching and phrase matching. Today, with the introduction of auto-sync, key detection and so many more features, DJs are free to explore new horizons in live performances such as use of effectors, live remixing , live mashups and such.

12.Can you give us a hint of the musical treats and surprises (new tracks, edits etc.) you’re going to serve us any time soon?

I started getting into producing almost a year ago and my first track is underway. No ETA for the track yet but there are a few mashups coming soon. You can stay tuned to my mixcloud channel for

13.What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

Most people get surprised when they learn that I don’t drink, smoke, or use substances!

15.If you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

There are so many artists I’d like to collaborate with, but I’ll try to choose one. I guess at the moment I really love Mark Lower’s sound so If I had to choose an artist for a collaboration at the moment, I’d choose him.

Thank you for having this little interview with us Joe, we really loved it, and we love your mixes to, keep that vibe going on!

Follow Joe on his Mixcloud.

Very soon we will also launch the second DJ contest so watch our website for information about that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.