How did you get started? Tell us your story!
I am, DJ 0ceanz_ (with the zero, z and _) I started off in radio as a radio personality, my mentor suggested that I become a DJ and the rest is history. I was born in Atlanta, GA (Crawford Long to be exact). I mainly grew up to R&B my mom always played Anthony Hamilton, Alicia Keys, and Usher. I also took a liking to Kanye West as a kid. I've been in love with music since I started playing the piano at the age of 3. I started making music when I realized that music was the one thing I loved the most. I love doing it because music is the soundtrack to life. Your music can be a part of millions of people's memories. You can touch so many people's lives without ever meeting them. Industry-wise, I got started in music in 2016. I've always taken music seriously; I received a music scholarship to Valdosta State. Some of the biggest moments in my career: DJing on the main stage for A3C, DJing in Vancouver, Rolling Loud Twice, Performing with Waka Flocka, Meeting Diddy, and many more.
What is your experience in the music industry? Do you have any formal training or schooling? If not, are you self-taught and how did you learn your craft? What is your learning style? What are your favorite educational resources (ex. college, YouTube, etc.)?
I would say I have a thorough amount of experience in the industry. I have done dozens of festivals and I have gone on tour as well. I have 0 formal training. I learn best from watching. So, I would always just stand by DJs in the club and just watch them and then try it myself at home. YouTube is cool, but my favorite educational resource is real-life experiences.
What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criterion other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?
I don't preplan any of my sets. My decision can be something like a new song that I personally like, or I may see someone in the crowd, and I know it's their favorite song. I read the crowd and every set is completely improvised.
Who are your biggest influences growing up and why? Who do you like to listen to now and why? Who’s on your playlist right now?
Kanye taught me to be confident in my imperfections, Kobe taught me how to be the best no matter what, Diddy taught me how to be ambitious and Tupac taught me that it is okay to be intellectual everywhere that you go. I currently listen to Frank Ocean, Brent Faiyaz, Smino, Soyouhim, Ample K, and Young Q just to name a few.
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry?
Staying true to your style of DJing is one thing that is difficult. I prefer only DJing certain gigs, but sometimes I overwork myself because I am typically underpaid. The only challenge that I am personally facing is being paid my worth and I am perfectly fine with not DJing for those not willing to pay me. DJing is interesting to me simply for the memories that you can create for others. You start the new year of someone's life (birthdays) or the new year in general off for people. You are more than a sound selector; you are a memory maker. When you are no longer here, the only thing people have left of you is their memories of you.
How would you describe your sound and style?
Energetic, on 10 the entire time. No low moments unless it is on purpose to build up the momentum.
What are some of your goals this year?
Getting paid my worth. Getting more placements as a producer. Throwing the biggest FREE party in the city (RAW).
Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Artists: Smino, Brent, Chance the Rapper Producers: Tay Keith, Monte Booker, Kanye West Engineers: Alex Tumay, Dos Dias, DJ BJ Videographers: Spudds Mckenzie, Ty Smith, Planet Shubh
What is your creative process like?
I like to be very present. Connect with the crowd and put my personal touch into everything.
What’s your favorite go-to order?
10 pc lemon pepper!