Hanging on Her Every Word

DJ88 is turning the tables on DJ interviews

Countless DJ interviews on the ’net cover the basics. But have you ever wanted to get inside the mind of a DJ with interviews conducted by another DJ? Bree Cohen—also known on the scene as DJ88, with residencies including Insert Coin(s), Hyde and Marquee—is using her new online interview series to dig deep. And now that she’s talked to some of her favorites about the ins and outs of the biz, “Hang the DJ” is becoming the life of the party.

How did your Hang the DJ blog come about?

I wanted to inject some sarcasm and inside information and all the things that go on behind the DJ booth that most people don’t know about. We all share the good, the bad and the ugly—so to speak—of what we do. My first interview was Jazzy Jeff, which was amazing that I got to kick it off that way.

What kind of questions do you ask?

A lot of these guys started off in hip-hop, so there’s a lot of funny hip-hop questions such as, “What’s your response when you’re playing hip-hop and somebody comes up and asks you to play hip-hop?” or “Why do people think the DJ booth is a coat-check?” All the little things that we go through. One of the questions is, “What do you love to play that you don’t get booked for or that you’re not known for?” Just so that followers of these DJs can understand that regardless of what you hear when you go to the nightclub, most of the guys who are older or just more seasoned or have more years under their belt are completely multidimensional.

Where does the name “Hang the DJ” come from?

First and foremost, it comes from one of my favorite Smiths songs, but I also used it as a flip side for the interview series just to let everybody kind of vent.

What would you ask if you were interviewing yourself?

I love asking how DJs deal with requests. So if I were to answer that myself, I would probably have to say it really depends on how I’m asked, because sometimes I may be in a zone and somebody may come up to me and, if they do it in the right way, they may ding me in the head with something that fits perfectly I wouldn’t have even thought of at that moment, where it’s actually helpful to my set. … And everybody usually talks about the birthday girl or the bachelorette. I ask, “What’s one of your worst moments DJing?”

What would your answer be?

I would definitely have to say that one night, where the drunk bachelorette chick turned around and threw up all over the entire booth. Right in the middle of a packed room in the middle of my set literally sprayed all over the floor, all over the DJ booth, got on my shoe, got on one of my Serato vinyls—God bless it wasn’t all over the equipment—but there definitely was a spray factor that was unreal!

The concept of the interview series is now becoming a weekly party called Versus that kicked off Jan. 4 with DJs Dave Fogg and Warren Peace. How did your blog turn into a live event?

I ended up getting so many responses off of the interview series that Insert Coin(s) asked me if I wanted to create a couple of nights. We are going to be turning “Hang the DJ” into a night in which every Wednesday these guys take a break from their regular rigmarole and play whatever they want and go back to that house-party/basement vibe, where DJs go to hear other DJs because they’re not gonna hear the same shit that everybody plays every week. And it doesn’t matter what kind of music they want to play, whether it be classic rock, indie, reggae, whatever. So it’ll be nice to have people come in on Wednesdays and not know what’s going to happen, but know that the music’s going to be amazing.

Check out HangTheDJ at IAmDJ88.tumblr.com and join DJ88 at Versus along with DJ Tendaji Lathan plus some special guests, the legendary De La Soul hosting and performing at Insert Coin(s) on Jan. 11.