As one of the resident DJs at the Cardiff Lounge’s popular party Return of the Boom Zap and a regular at several other Silicon Valley parties, San Jose DJ AJ Orbit’s selections can range anywhere from house to Jersey bass to all vinyl 90s R&B/Hip Hop sets.
In addition to ROTBZ, he can often be found at Last Call at the Motif Lounge and GNAR at Nomikai. We had a chance to chat with him for a bit on his life as a DJ and being part of the San Jose scene.
When did you get into DJing/producing & what sparked your desire to pursue it?
It started in the 4th grade when I was at my friend Jarold’s house and I got to first put a vinyl record on the turntable. It changed my life. I was already a dancer and music lifted me to another level. My great grandfather was a piano tuner. Music just always hit me.
What are some challenges you face as a DJ/Producer?
I personally have ADD when it comes to genres and developing my sound. I love everything. Djing comes easy to me and I want to challenge myself by playing live. I have always wanted to push for live performances.
Describe one of your memorable gigs?
There are so many. But a recent one was DJing at FanimeCon. It was a younger crowd and I started my set by carrying the energy from the previous DJ. He was playing some hip-hop and I continued with that and then I played a song from the 60s and the crowd loved it. The crowd ate up everything I played. Right after the gig, I had a few stickers of mine on hand and there was a line of people waiting to get stickers from me. In that same line was a guy and a girl who told me they had just met each other during my set and they fell in love each other and fell in love with me while I was DJing.
You have been busy lately, doing Return of the Boom Zap twice a month, GNAR, Last Call, The Tech Museum After Hours etc. and you just came back from doing a few shows in Midwest. Tell us about that experience.
It was a culture shock but very awesome and life-changing. I barter skills with the person who does my hair. She is a rapper by the name of Shines Fresh and I make beats for her and show her some technical things in exchange for her doing my hair.Her friend Tmac (also a rapper) from the Midwest needed a DJ to go on tour with him. He ended up flying me out there. They turned a sports bar into a club and the subwoofers were so powerful that you can see the dust fly off the countertops. People out in the Midwest were so nice that they even held doors open for me. It is very laid back there and when I came back I found myself in less of a hurry.
You are known for having nearly endless amounts of energy and a vibrant style in both dress and music. What are some of your biggest influence in life?
Well first I have to thank the master of all of this, but as far as influence goes art really influences me. Art museums, performance art, dance, paintings and even yoga. Musically, I am really into this guy named AWE and local talents like B. Lewis.
What are a few things we can expect to hear/see from you in the near future?
Live performances, an album and more music.
Being from San Jose, do you feel growing up here plays a role in your work?
Yes, there is much going on in SJ, not just in music but also in technology. There is a lot of artistic energy here. Most of the DJs and artists are intertwined and connected in some way. There is a lot of talent and really good people putting great stuff out there. San Jose is my home.
So you are just getting out of a gig in the South Bay, where do you stop to grab a bite to eat?
Bo De Vegetarian off Silver Creek, but they close at 9pm, or Curry Pundits in DTSJ.
What are some of your other favorite hangouts?
What advice would you give to DJs starting out in the San Jose scene?
Advice I would give is to be out there and be outside of the bedroom. Interact with those who are paving the way. I would love to help people. Create your own music and be original. People want to hear what is in your head and feel human again.