Not All Heroes Wear Capes: A Conversation with DJ VICE

Written by Triana Jackson

Meet David Alejandro Victor (aka DJ VICE): Despite a rigorous academic career in applied physics and computer engineering, David manages to hit the club and share his musical talent on the turntable. This up-and-coming DJ infuses his Guyanese and Ecuadorian culture into the music he loves and guarantees a good time.

Triana Jackson (TJ): What drew you into pursuing the life of a DJ? Can you draw any comparisons? DAV: I just have a ton of hobbies. I grew up in Jersey (home of Jersey Club) and I love to dance. For me, dance is the physical embodiment of the music. I started to DJ just recently, a short while after one of my cousins stopped, and she was getting rid of some equipment. One day, she said, “Hey look, do you want this turntable I got?” I said sure.

TJ: How did you learn the turntables? DAV: The DJ controller -- my cousin gave it to me. Her name is Khiana Duncan (DJ Khid), and she gave me a very basic tutorial on how to use them. I learned beat matching from her and YouTube, but mainly I’ve been teaching myself. I work on building my library and learning new transitions and staying up to date with all of the music that’s out. And I just practice a lot. I’m still practicing to master all of this. I’m working on learning to scratch my own stuff, as well. When I’m not working outside of my 2 jobs and all of the other outside clubs, and classes I have, I like to work on my craft. I’m all in during the breaks.

TJ: You’ve invested a ton of time and effort and money into this passion already. You could’ve taken your turntable and just fucked with it at your house. What is it about DJ-ing that made you passionate enough to go out and pursue it forreal? DAV: For two reasons. First of all, anybody on the aux knows that when they’re having a good time, there’s no better feeling than when everyone is enjoying the music and having a good time, as well. DJ-ing is sort of doing that and taking it to the next level. Also... I’ve been to a bunch of NYU parties and the ones that I’ve been to... the music is, ehhh, not that great. Really wack in my opinion. I figure if I’m the DJ, I could change that.

TJ: Hell yeah. What are the most important elements of hosting as a DJ at events for you? DAV: I think it’s very important to keep a consistent vibe. Also ending songs before they’re over when everyone is clearly enjoying the song... a no-no. You still have to be methodical and organized with your set.

TJ: What’s the process for you to get prepared for your gigs? DAV: I ask my hires what they want to hear, for one, so I can have a set focus. I take the client into account first. Then I take all of the popular bops that they will enjoy. There’s a fine line between music you don’t like and should play, and music you do like but don’t have to play.

TJ: What is it that YOU bring as DJVice that makes you unique? DAV: For one, my song selection is good. I can cater to a bunch of different groups of people. I grew up in this town called Oradell. You can’t think of a more white suburban town. I’m also half black, so anything related to black culture and West Indian culture, specifically, is something I’m well versed in because of my dad. Then there’s my other side which is half Latino. I grew up on merengue, bachata, cumbia, and salsa. My repertoire of music that I’ve grown up listening to allows me translate it into a live set for any occasion. I’m also on the come up and it’s something I really like to do, so I find that I can DJ for my friends and other major events on the low-low. A lot of DJ’s charge an arm and a leg for their sets. Most DJs are getting upwards of $1000 a night. And it gives me a chance to gain more exposure and master what I do. I just want to do what I love and, hopefully, I continue to get those opportunities.

TJ: Favorite thing about DJ-ing?

DAV: I get to be creative and make a live set. I mean, if I had the same library of music as another DJ, we would have completely different sets, effects, and transitions. You get to be completely different than anybody else and have fun while you’re at it, as well. Other people’s energy is infectious and contagious. If I can contribute to that a little, then I’ll be happy. I’m very confident in my skills to bring peoples' energy up.

TJ: Future plans? DAV: Well, after graduation, my plans include working at Capgemini as a tech analyst. But like I said, I would still like to DJ on the side. I wanna DJ college parties, and this age range for a while. You know, the CEO of Goldman SAX is also a DJ. And, for him, you know work comes first. But if a friend has a wedding, he’ll DJ. Idris Elba, as well; he’s a big time DJ. He gets called specially to come out to clubs all the time. That’s the level I want to be at. But I still want it to be a side hustle while I pursue my main career.

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