What was the highight from your performance last night at the Blu and Exile show?
Man, just being able to share the stage with my brothers, The Horror Show, Cookbook, and seeing Blu and Exile rock shit from Below The Heavens. Also there was this girl with glasses and this scarf thing and every time I was dancing or something on stage, she started doing her own moves and stuff. That was fun. I’ll give homegirl a high five if I ever see her. Haha. It’s cool having people who will personally interact with you at shows like that. I like connecting with the people, you know? That’s one of the best parts of all this shit.
What behind the scene stories would you like to share that took place OR led to the final product that is “Listen and Share.”
Well, I went in to record the song “Sometimes” and my homegirl came through because she had the green. So we go ahead and get lifted, and I was all out. So I kinda just forced her to give me the rest of hers. Haha. I gave her 10 bucks tho. Haha. Then I put her on the song. She’s the voice saying sometimes with me in the hook.
Briefly about your roots in Hawaii and your first memories as a performer and supporter of Hawaii hip hop?
My father retired from the military here and I graduated from Kapolei High School. I first started performing when I was 15, but didn’t really start dipping my toe into our actual hip hop scene til I was 18. First time I went to a show was at a spot called Bliss Cafe. It’s something else now. Used to be called Grumpy’s. I went to go see LA Symphony. It’s funny how this all comes full circle, Cookbook of LA Symphony rocked the same show as me. We both rocked at the Blu and Exile show. It was crazy packed and too fun. Anyway, that was my first 18+ show and Creed Chameleon, Kavet the Catalyst and Amphibious Tungs opened. I was stoked on the whole show. I thought it was hilarious that Creed yelled out “Fuck Myspace!” when the show was actually sponsored by MySpace and there was a huge banner or theirs behind him. Haha.
First time I actually stepped on a stage was a little later that year, I believe. Sharlock Poems also of LA Symphony and Propaganda of TunnelRats came down and did a show. The Perfect Median and Bless opened. They killed it. Then at the end Prop invited up emcees to cypher. So I went up and that was the first time people in the scene really heard me rap. Bless knew though. Bless been the homie since ever since. Haha. I met Grip H that night. And that was the first connection I made to someone in the scene. Eventually that led to me performing more and making more music and then I linked with my homie Joncozy. We kicked it in high school. He was already making a name for himself as a DJ, and he was starting to rap. We linked up and did a couple mixtape tracks over some Blue Scholars beats and then we did another one with his homie that he introduced me to named Christian Viernes (RockZa) they made a couple songs together too and we made one with all 3 of us. From there Ill Hill was born. We met Bone, he gave us our first show together ever at Tropics and it was a wrap after that. Really grateful for that chance.
How often do you write rhymes, where do you keep them?
I write pretty often. Maybe not whole songs or even whole verses. Just bits and pieces I’ll want to remember. I’ll keep that in my head, then when I have beats that I’m gonna actually put songs to, I’ll finish the verses. I’ll write’em in my phone usually now. Just because it’s convenient. I never have pens anymore. (lol) I write in my rhyme books still too. Sometimes you just gotta write it out though.
You end of shirtless on stage a lot, is that intended from the jump or does it just kinda happen?
(lol) Definitely wasn’t intended from the jump. One night Ill Hill was rocking a show at Nextdoor and it was hot as hell. Like super hot. So I made up my mind to rap without a shirt on. I decided that I was just gonna go hella crazy on stage and do it shirtless. Haha. I started doing it more because it was better than always sweating up my shirts. Haha. Then it became like a joke amongst me an the homies kinda and then even something I was known for. Haha. So now it’s almost expected at shows. Haha. When I don’t do it, people ask why I didn’t. (lol)
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Out of 100 percent. What percent do you dedicate to the crowd, to yourself and own personal tastes in music and to the club owner/venue?
I would say 70% for the crowd and 30% for me. most of the time i like to play to the crowd but sometimes I like to do me and mix it up a little. So I wouldn’t be the same as the DJ that plays the same hits. That’s how people know you cause the certain way you DJ and pick and mix songs.
Talk about the busiest time of your DJ career and how it compares to your schedule now.
I would have to say this year has been the busiest cause I’ve sometimes been working 14 days straight because I work for everyone, but now its slowing down cause there are a lot of upcoming DJs undercutting for $50 or less.
Networking is everything these days. How has networking in Hawaii and outside of Hawaii helped you. What has your recent networking efforts taught you?
Everyone outside of Hawaii that had made it has told me networking is the most important thing to be successful. You never know how the other person can help you. Hawaii is small compare to the mainland and the mainland is kinda the next level to be at.
What are some things you might do that other DJs may not?
Well I try to be different by being unpredictable so people don’t get bored with the music and the energy is like a roller coaster ride. Hopefully everyone that is there has a good time.
1. WORKING WITH CHINO XL
“It wasn’t the easiest of processes but to get a chance to work with one of my “literal” idols growing up as an emcee was incredible. Buy the mixtape!!”
2. WORKING WITH JIK
“In all honestly I was done rapping for good when dude drug(ged) me back into making music, it’s been a ride of pretty epic s@%t and dope music ever since.”
3. MY BATTLE WITH MUSHMOUF
“not because of the outcome cause it wasn’t about the winning or losing(I won tho’) but the feeling and the energy that he had for this music. It was infectious and inspiring and fueled my hunger to become a better lyricist. Shout out to all the rappers and DJs from those Wave, and Buddah Bar days fareal!!”
4.MY BATTLE AT ROUGH RYDERS
“Again not about the winning and losing but more the energy thing. I didn’t win, but I did my thing and realized these rapper “cheat” rapping writtens in freestyle battles, WTH? Made my first real impression in the so called “industry” Which helped fuel my drive to go forward.
“Hammer Brothers, Gotthos, Stone Groove Family, Primaphonix, Black Baldwins … All for similar reasons, all because they played a huge role in the artist I am today.”
What were some of your hobbies before DJing and When did DJ become a serious thing for you?
Before DJing I spent my free time playing Semi-Pro football in and out of local leagues. Like Djing, I have a true passion for the sport and I love the adrenalin it brings me to Ball So Hard! DJing became serious to me the moment I spent all my money on my equipment when I began. lol. Once I made my first transition while mixing, That was it, I was on a mission.
Talk about how you got involved in nightlife and eventually into Djing?
My AGN brothers Thaddeus Park and Chris Meheula brought me into the nightlife as a Videographer /editor for their club events. This eventually led to me becoming a promoter with AGN. As I was learning the nightlife I also always kept a close eye on all the djs we hired, learning what to do and what not to do. Nothing but a lot of practice, I slowly eased my way into the DJ side of the nightlife.
How did you get involved with Skull Candy?
I’ve always used and repped Skullcandy from the beginning. When I got the chance to do so legitimently, I took it and ran! The Logo is on everything I own, and I drop skullcandy press 24/7. Its so easy for me to market beause the products are so awesome. Thanks to Ernie Yagi, he got myself and Artist Groove Network “Bringing The Noise” where ever we go!
How have you improved as a DJ to the point where you can really showcase your abilities?
I’ve noticed a lot of DJ’s now days are one sided towards their music selection, sticking to a certain genre just because. To me, being a DJ is not just playing music, especially since “playing music” is so user friendly, but it’s about entertaining ANY crowd and putting on a show. When I perform I naturally vibe with my own music. If I can’t dance to my own beat, why the hell would anyone else want to is the way i see it. Every time I DJ I learn a thing or two from the crowd, and they O.E.N.O.
How important is genuine support to you?
Any support for something that I love to do is always appreciated. That moment someone random comes up to me and tells me how good my set was or how much fun they had at one of my events is the best fuel to my fire. I know exactly who genuinely supports me and I’m more than thankful and blessed to have those people behind me than anything else. Those people help me go above and beyond.