No, Hugo Weaving didn’t have a midlife crisis and decide to start spinning at parties. DJ SmithAgentSmith was the creation of the DJ formerly known as djDOYOU, whose former persona was just as movie-referential (the latter was famous for ‘Stuntin’ Like Musafa’ after all). Smith has played at the States’ hottest venues like Supperclub (Hollywood), Manor West (SF), and Wall (South Beach). He is also no stranger to corporate gigs, having spun at K-Swiss‘ party for Jamie Chung of Sucker Punch fame and hosted the HTC EVO 3D launch party. Tomorrow we will see SmithAgentSmith spinning at Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge, but before that JUICE had a little chat with the party rockin’ DJ…
How has the hip hop scene evolved since you started DJing?
I think hip hop as music and culture is playing catch up right now to dance. House, electro and even dubstep have burst on the scene with such popularity that hip-hop is really trying to find its way back into the mainstream. Hip-hop music is still popular among the urban community, but the reach it used to have into other demographics has crucially declined. Because everything goes in cycles, it would be short sighted to think that hip-hop won’t become popular again, but it is going to take something very fresh to reenergize the masses in that direction. The social-political landscape in America has also changed a lot, which has lent success to artists who 5 years ago would not have been deemed authentic enough to be a part of the genre. And those artists are the ones carrying hip-hop right now giving it what little amount of mass appeal that it still has.
Was it difficult to start your career?
What were some of the challenges you faced? At this point, I still feel like I am in the infancy stages of my career. I love playing music. I love singing along to music. I love partying, dancing and I have a good time when I drink (responsibly of course). All that being said, I am DJing because it is the logical way for me to make money doing all the things that I love. But when I think of my career, I think of the empire I want to build on top of this DJing thing. And that hasn’t even begun yet. Right now I’m just having fun and trying to position myself in the scene so that when I am ready to build an empire, all of the pieces will be in place.
How do you think the internet has helped musicians put themselves and their music out there?
The internet makes it so that I can put out a song, mix, video, or even just a thought, and have people all over the world instantly listen, watch, or read it. Everyone is accessible through the internet. It makes artists more exposed, but if they are willing to consistently share themselves with their fans, the bond is that much stronger. The internet is a very powerful tool to help fans understand and relate to artists.
What do you love and hate about your job?
I love traveling. I have friends who have moved to different parts of the world, and sometimes I book gigs there just to visit them. That is the best thing about my job is the freedom it allows me. When I left corporate sales, I told myself that I never wanted to have a boss again. And I haven’t. It is the best feeling in the world. There is a ton of responsibility and I never feel like I have enough time in the day, but the best thing is that my work is constantly to better myself as a DJ and as a person. I don’t hate anything about my job. I hated things about my last job. That’s why I left!
5 things you can’t live without, and why?
1. Ableton Live – it’s how i create, organise, an play my music.
2. Facebook – When I was at UCLA, it was the 13th school to get Facebook and I was an early adopter. People ask how many times a day do you check your facebook. What they should ask is how many times a day do you get off Facebook? The answer is NEVER!
I think my list ends at 2. Friends and family is just too cliché to say, and I am not materialistic enough to think I can’t live without any physical possessions. I love wearing Jordans, Levi’s jeans, and jerseys, but it isn’t anything I couldn’t live without. I am a pretty simple person.
Tell us a bit about your DJ moniker. Are you a huge fan of The Matrix?
I am a fan of The Matrix for sure. But I can’t call myself a “huge fan.” I am a huge fan of Spaceballs, The Sandlot, Braveheart, The Lion King, The Rock, and Star Trek. Although the name Agent Smith definitely comes from The Matrix, it is also my last name. I used to go by the DJ name djDOYOU, but I didn’t think the brand I had developed fit me as a person. So I decided to start fresh and reinvent myself. That’s when I grew my hair out and developed a completely new style and sound.
What can we expect from you at Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge?
In the words of Beanie in the movie Old School, “just make sure you can see the stage.”
Find more of DJ SmithAgentSmith by clicking here.
The Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge will be held on 21 March 2012 in Halls C, Maeps, Serdang (event details here).