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DJ Risk One

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

Starting out his DJ career in high school by unknowingly signing up for a DJ class taught by Seattle legend DV One, it seems DJ Risk One has always been destined for the decks. After pushing hard after that into the uncertain world of DJ battles, he now rocks parties all around the nation including the Wynn in Las Vegas to SF favorites like Ambassador (July 1st) and Medjool (July 3rd).

SF Station (SFS): How did you connect with the famous Crooklyn Clan?

DJ Risk One (RO): Back in Seattle I opened for Riz at my resident spot Last Supper Club, my first time meeting him in person. That same night DJ AM, Kevin Scott, and Tina T were all in town so I we all ended up hanging out back at their hotel. A few days later I sent Riz an e-mail with a link to a handful of my tracks saying I was interested in being a part of the site. He hit me right back and said he liked my stuff and wanted to put me on.

SFS: What goes into making a mixtape for you? Is there a certain formula?

RO: Mixtapes are a pain! Haha ... I usually make a huge list of songs that I might want to go on there, and also decide on the first track. From there, I decide the order one-by-one, and ditch any songs that won't fit. I really spend of a lot of time on the process, because I want each song to relate to the one before and after in some sort of way. Also, I try to have as much diversity of sound as possible, while still sounding cohesive as a whole. I'm actually finishing up a new mix as we speak called FourOne5ive, my first project since moving to the Bay!

SFS: You recently took a trip to Canada that went wrong. Tell us what happened?

RO: Oh boy ... Basically, I had a few gigs lined up in Canada but didn't get a work permit because of the hassle. I got into Vancouver no sweat, but I flew from Vegas to Ottawa a few days later and they were all up in my grill with questions. They weren't buying that I flew across the country just to hang out with my buddy for a couple days.

They searched my laptop and found my newsletter with my full schedule on it, and it was a wrap. They held me for 5 hours and then denied me access to the country. I stayed overnight because there were no flights, and they put me on the first flight home the next morning. All bad!

SFS: Do you think the difference is doing it full-time versus part-time?

RO: Well, DJing part time can still be considered a hobby for fun. DJing full time is a straight business, and hence more work involved. At that point there are a million other aspects of DJing that are realistically more important than how well you actually mix records.

Branding, marketing, networking, socializing, etc., are necessary for a successful full-time DJ — on top of keeping up with the mountains of new music coming out daily in all genres. Also, if you eat off this, eventually you will have take on gigs you don't want to do, and play music you don't like.

SFS: So what's a key hustle and grind motto?

RO: Always know that somewhere, someone is out there working harder than you, waiting to take your spot.

SFS: What's currently your favorite song to spin?

RO: Snaps! Good question. I've been running the Deadmau5 "Moar Ghosts" track a lot lately at peak hour. People are finally up on it so it gets a great reaction, and i have a lot of cool remixes and ways to drop it so its fun. Also, the new Pharrell and Uffie track "Add SUV" is amazing. That's one of those where I don't care if you don't know it — you need to be dancing to this song!

SFS: Lastly, what was a moment in your DJ career in that you knew you could do this forever?

RO: I'm sure a lot of people say this, but the first time I saw DJ AM really changed the way I thought about DJing. This was the pre-mash-up movement when he was really the only one doing what he was doing. Back then, I was really into making hip-hop beats for artists; I was just DJing clubs because it paid better than selling beats at the time. After seeing him live, my head exploded with new ideas for rocking parties, making remixes, and setting a new bar for how far you can go with this as a career.

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