DJ Crizis

How did you get started? Tell us everything!

My name is TaDarol Bates II aka DJ Crizis (crisis). I started DJing in the 7th grade when I got tired of the teachers always playing music at the school dances. My friend was also starting to DJ at the time, so we began to do a lot of events. My parents are real music heads because they were both in the marching band in college. My middle school and high school band directors were actually in the same college marching band as my parents, so that's where I learned my music theory. I grew up listening to artists like Bobby Brown, Luther Vandross, and Usher, so the soul was always there. I started making music because I just wanted to do something different. I've always been good at doing music, but it was difficult to figure out one thing that I could single out and say that it was my thing. Because of this, I took on everything and tried to master it all (DJ, producer, rapper, party promo).

I love being in music because it mirrors life and every feeling that's in it. Music can change your mood or increase the feelings you already have on something. I started DJing in 2011 and expanded over to rapping and producing later on in 2015. I started to take DJing seriously from the beginning because it was something I felt a connection to instantly because it gave me the ability to control a crowd, while also telling a musical story through mixing.

Some of the biggest moments in my career were getting the chance to attend DJ Gunna's mixtape release party at Clark Atlanta University which was powered by AUC Who's Got Next (CEOs Tyra B. & Vinnie). I got the chance to DJ all of CAU's Home Basketball games, which was a blessing. I got the chance to DJ a set alongside DJ Lavishlee, who is YFN Lucci's DJ. I knew of him because he was a great DJ at Cascade skating rink when I was 13 and going up there every Saturday night for teen night. I also got the chance to host my own parties which were better and more packed than I ever expected. I've DJ'd at numerous clubs around Atlanta (Kiss Ultra Lounge, Buckhead Loft, Diamonds Strip Club, etc.); I never even dreamed I could take my talent that far. Lastly, I've become the DJ, alongside DJ SaiTheProphet, for the next big underground festival in the world, Lotus Rosery.

I've DJ'd countless events from weddings, fashion shows, clubs, college parties, lounges, concerts, etc. I feel like I've done it all, and I won't stop now. My next goal is to find an artist that I can rock with and DJ for at Rolling Loud. There are so many things that I can do and I will continue to push myself and improve on my craft. It's an honor to be recognized because DJs are one of the most important people to the music business. I have a line in one of my songs that says, "Y'all are the lives of the party, but I'm the lifeline". That applies to all DJs: we are the lifelines of every party. Let's keep working!

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.)?

My experience in the music industry so far is exactly what my mentors and heroes said it would be. It's a lot of people who will love what you do and a lot of people who will disagree with what you do. You have to believe in yourself and not let other people sway your thinking. The music industry is not for the weak-minded. On the other hand, the music industry is great because of the genuine people that you get to work with and it's great to be creative with other creatives. I taught myself how to do everything (DJ, engineer, piano, rap, write, etc). Of course, YouTube tutorials are where I learned more advanced techniques, but it's always great to play around with the software and see where it takes you. My learning style consists of trying to do it myself, failing, getting angry, quitting, and then going back to it and try to do something different. YouTube and Google are the best tools in the world as far as trying to learn something specific.

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

I like to listen to music before a gig and try to memorize a lot of the songs because I like playing songs where I know when to cut them. Knowing your audience and observing the crowd reactions is the best way to figure out if you should or shouldn't continue to play a record.

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?

My biggest influence is Future and Skooly. I chose them because I grew up listening to them and it was always cool to see their grind and how they worked hard for years and it eventually paid off. We're all from because from Atlanta, and even though I grew up miles away from them, Atlanta is just one big family.

My favorite artists to listen to now are Drake, Future, Gunna, Young Thug, The Weeknd, etc. These are my favorite artists to listen to because they all create music for completely different emotions and times in your life. Drake (feeling down), Future (feeling shattered about a relationship, but wanting to push thru), Gunna (party vibe), Young Thug (feeling lit), and The Weeknd (wanting to escape reality) all give off different vibes.

What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered or faced in this industry? What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your music, that makes it interesting for you?

One of the biggest obstacles I've faced is just how competitive the music industry is. I've been told "No" many more times than "Yes". My current challenges right now in DJ'ing are expanding to a more pop crowd from what I grew up on (Trap, r&b, soul, etc). I'm not a fan of pop music at all, but there are a lot of people who are. DJing is different from producing because it's on the spot. No recordings, no do-overs, no rules: there's just you, the crowd, and your mind. You have to just be you and control that crowd the best way you can. There will always be people who ask for requests and won't like the songs you're playing, but be you.

How would you describe your sound and style?

My sound and style are very dark, eerie, but having that element of partying. I don't go for just straight-up sad or straight-up happy, it all depends on which one I'm feeling. If the beat is turnt, then I'm writing sad lyrics. If the beat is dark, I'm writing happy lyrics. I like to switch it up and try new things.

What are some of your goals this year?

I want to DJ at a lot more clubs and want to DJ in Miami, Florida for the spring break.

Who are the top 3 artists, producers, engineers, videographers, or others you would want to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?

I want to work with Future, 40, and Travis Scott for sure: 3 different people with 3 different sounds can teach me a lot.

What is your creative process like?

My creative process is just feeling the vibe and creating as I go along. I don't have a specific ritual, I just keep changing things as I go along.

What’s your favorite to-go order? (food-wise)

Zaxby's for sure! That 5 Chicken Finger Combo with the Zax Sauce and Hi-Ci hit a little bit different.