DJay Jung Interview

January 6, 2016

As a DJ, you're expected to know how to handle a crowd of up to a few thousand easily. Otherwise, why did you become a DJ? So imagine if you know that 41 of your gigs for the year will have five times that in attendance right off the bat. And we're not even talking about possible festivals. Welcome to the life of DJay Jung. As the official DJ for the Brooklyn Nets, he's the guy getting crowds and players pumped at the Barclays Center. But the new residency didn't just fall into his lap. He's put in 20 years of hard work. See how his track record stacks up against yours if you have plans on succeeding him in future seasons.

DJay Jung, born Jason Jung, received his exposure to music as a kid from MTV. When online streaming music wasn't even an idea, television was the source of music discovery for most kids in the 80s. And for Jung, what particularly drew him in was the combination of videos with the music. He remembers first hearing about and seeing Dire Straits, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears, Guns N' Roses, and Prince through the popular channel. He would then find an outlet that would allow him to translate his knowledge of and interest in this mix of genres after attending one house party in 1994:

"I knew the DJs but never heard them spin before. I remember they didn't have a table for the equipment so they put their coffin case on the floor of the living room. What fascinated me so much was their ability to control the crowd with the music they played. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be a DJ."

After that house party, Jay worked on saving up money for a year before he could buy his first Technics turntable from a friend. He assembled the rest of his first set up by making his second turntable a home stereo one: "TEAC was the brand I think." His mixer was a 19" 4 channel MTX with a less than ideal fader but it did the job at the time. Another year later, he completed his set up by finally purchasing a second Technics 1200 turntable. Jung received his first lessons on DJing from a high school friend, who's still close today, DJ Jayvee. Jayvee also happened to be one of the DJs at the fateful house party that gave him the idea of becoming a DJ in the first place.

When you think of DJs who are also turntablists, you may automatically assume that their initial love was Hip-Hop. But for DJay Jung, he followed a different path. His first genre of choice was House music. As is the case with most fans initially drawn to House, Jung was hooked on the power of artists like Armand Van Helden, Cajmere, Masters at Work, and DJ Sneak who appeal to human emotions and spark high levels of energy with their music. Whether it was Pop, underground, or club oriented, as long as the right elements were present, Jung moved with it.

While Jung has already built up an impressive list of clients and residencies (Hudson Hotel, Le Poisson Rouge, Mister H, Martha Stewart, Salt N Pepa, VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, US Open, H&M, MTV, Fuse TV, Scion, BBC Radio), arguably his most impressive one yet came in October last year--becoming the official DJ for the Brooklyn Nets. He describes the experience thus far as so:

"For one thing, I’m playing for an arena that will have anywhere from 15,000-18,000 people so the very sight of that is incredible and a little intimidating. Secondly, I do DJ (i.e. mixing, scratching, song selecting) but other aspects that they need me for include in-game prompts. For example if you hear the 'Defense' snares or 'Let’s go Nets' drums, that's me playing them. Whenever I do prompts, it's more about speed and playing the right ones at the right time. Being a basketball fan definitely helps out a lot."

DJay Jung also belongs to a family of DJs called The Elite Camp. They celebrated their 20 year anniversary in 2014 and will continue to rock parties together as they are a "family first and just so happen to be amazing DJs." For 2016, Jung plans to keep up the trend of DJing sports events and touring more. And while his high standards as a musician and fan mean he is the harshest when it comes to his own edits, he'll continue to create more. You can also bet that he'll be heeding his own advice when it comes to operating like a professional in the DJing industry:

"Never burn bridges and treat DJing like any other professional person in the workforce would. I can't tell you how many times I hear about DJs who are good but won't get hired again because they don't show up on time or they’re just hard to work with."

Last Call

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?Coming to America

2. As a young DJ, who was the one DJ you looked up to?DJ Babu

3. As a DJ, what's your biggest pet peeve?Requests

4. What is your current set up at home?DJ setup at home: 2 Technics 1200's; Pioneer DJM S9
Production setup: Ableton Live 9 with Akai MPK249 and a few other MIDI controllers

5. What's your favorite record of all time?That’s really tough to answer but one of my top ones is Notorious BIG - "Gimme The Loot."

Keep up with DJay Jung on his Instagram, website, and Twitter. You can also check out his other edits on his profile page.