I got a chance to rap with my man Killaka5 from Miami recently. If you haven’t been following this dude, you haven’t been paying attention. He’s on the rise in the Southeast, and he’s got some touring under his belt. With a good attitude, friendly demeanor, and the skills to pay the bills – he’s headed places. We’ve featured his edits on the blog in the past and we’re proud to hit you with another 2000Down exclusive. Enjoy.
Killaka5 (pronounced Killah-Kas), tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in Miami, raised here and in Nicaragua. I come from a very diverse musical background, which is one of the reasons i always wanted to DJ growing up. I always wanted to DJ ever since I was a kid, the thing was that growing up in Nicaragua made it very hard to come across turntables, so i wasn’t able to get my first tables until I was 18 living back in Miami. I started to “DJ” at these parties in high school, but I didn’t know anything about mixing, it was on a dual numark cd player, one of those all in one things. I would just do stutter effects with the cues, and fade songs in and out LMAO! A lot has changed since, that was about 12 years ago. Been back in Miami for about 5 years, before that San Antonio, Texas. Currently a resident at Mansion, Mokai, Set, FDR @ Delano, Wood Tavern, Cafeina, W @ Fort Lauderdale and a few other spots I do here and there.
Miami is a tough market to cut your teeth in – for those of us who haven’t been on the other side of it – what’s that like?
Miami is insane, like i mentioned I been back for about 5 years, and when I moved back I was really caught by surprise. I was DJ’ing in San Antonio at some of the top venues, and thought I had it together, when I moved here I had a rude awakening lol. Most venues close at 5 AM(11PM-5AM), you have your opening from 11-1ish, prime time is typically 1230ish-3ish and your closing 3-5 (sometimes before that). The thing about Miami is the energy, you have to keep people on their feet from the moment they walk through the door. It’s tricky though, not high energy cheesy hype edits, but more of straight music.
Favorite Venues to play it in Miami?
I’m thankful enough that I get to play at a few venues, each with their own taste in music. I would have to say that my 2 favorite venues to play at are Wood tavern in Wynwood, and FDR @ Delano on South Beach. Wood Tavern is a laid back indoor/outdoor bar in Wynwood (art district), which is covered with graffiti, stickers, etc. The Wynwood area has its own feel. Mixed crowd of hipsters, yuppies, latin, older happuy hour crowd, etc. I play there on Thursdays (and sometimes Sundays for the day party). The best thing about me playing there is the format of the night, which is a mix of indie, indie dance, 80s, 90s, rock, some hiphop, and kind of whatever fits the mold. I get to do what I want with some of my favorite genres. My other favorite venue would be FDR @ Delano. I play there on Mondays for the #FDRmondays hip-hop party, hosted by @yesjulz. Been playing that party for almost 2 years. It’s a hiphop party, but not your generic yell on the mic hiphop party. We play a lot of new stuff, and also older stuff that you wouldn’t normally hear at a generic hiphop party. When’s the last time you heard master p in the club? well thats the kind of things you can expect at FDR.
As an open-format DJ, does Miami’s club scene cramp your style?
The open-format club scene in Miami is changing, a year or two ago it was very EDM-ish. A large demand for the Showtek DM & LM bangers, but that’s slowly fading away. There’s been a demand of the more open format stuff as of late. What use to be the golden era of crooklyn clan (06-09), but without the unnecessary Fat Man Scoop yelling acapella. So the scene coming back to this gives me the artistic freedom that I like to show.
How (if at all) has the national EDM trend affected the club scene in Miami – which has a rich history of bass and house music?
Like I mentioned there was a high demand for it, but (in the open-format world) its not hitting as hard. People start to hear all these songs sound the same, and it just doesn’t have that effect on the crowd. I always try to find different sounds, stuff with good drums and that has a good vibe to it. You have a lot of those influences when you hear ppl like GTA, Hendrix, Digital lab, Sluggers, Paul E and other local producers.
Rockwell talent – what’s that experience been like?
It’s been great man, I love my team. Rockwell started about a year ago and it’s a collective of 4 DJ’s: myself, DJ Zea, DJ Vinni Soul and Paul E. We’ve all been good friends for years and have been working hard trying to leave our mark. We’ve all worked under different “management”/promoters/clubs/etc, and weren’t happy with what was going on, so we came together and started our own agency. We all had different connects/plugs, so we brought that to the table and established an even bigger name.
When you have a night off – and you’re not at home surfing netflix – where in Miami can you be found?
A night off is a night I’m not making money. I usually work about 5 nights a week, give or take. If i’m off 2 nights, I will usually go out one and lay low on the other. If I’m laying low I’m working on edits, sending emails, looking at venues to approach (in and out of Miami), listening to other DJ’s mixes or doing something music related. Don’t get me wrong when I’m laying low – i also binge watch TV shows, but ill randomly come up with a transition, world play etc, and then I go back to work.
What’s the deal with “Keep it Anglo” ?
My main purpose when I started djing was to play the music I like. I grew u listening to a lot of rock, 90s alternative, 80s new wave, stuff like U2, INXS, the police, genesis, etc. I always wanted to make a mix with just rock music, and not the stuff you hear at the club. Back when you could post mixes on beezo, I would listen to a new mix everyday, and was tired of the same lady gaga and BEP song on every mix. If i did hear a rock mix, it was a bunch of quantized redrums, holla back girl drums LOL. So i decided to do a mix where it was mainly the original songs, or edits i had made. all recorded live. the name keeping it anglo was kind of an inside joke, but it actually caught on. I did the first one in 07, knocked out the second one shortly after, didn’t do the 3rd one until 2010, and the 4th one i just recently did, which was recorded live at Wood Tavern. I have a crate with the original 4th one, but i just haven’t gotten around to do it I have a bunch of those unfinished mixes
Who do you look up to as a DJ? How have you grown over the last couple of years?
I look up to pretty much all my peers, any DJ around me (that takes it seriously). I’m a product of my environment, and i feel like every dj (good or bad) has influenced me in a certain way. I grew up watching craze and atrak DMC videos, actually met craze for the very first time in 2002 when he came to dj in Nicaragua, i knew one of the promoters and asked to meet him, he signed a flyer for me (which i still have, framed) and told him how much of an inspiration he was for me, 12 years later he’s a homie, lol, just saw him last night. In 2003 I was visiting family in NYC and I was handed a mixtape called “CHALLAH BACK VOL 2″, i took a listen and was BLOWN AWAY, never realized another dj had the idea to mix so much random music and make it sound good. This mixtape was by the one and only DJ AM (featuring Samantha Ronson). Since then on i followed AM, had the pleasure of seeing him live a few times, and also meeting him. He was so ahead of his time and open doors for so many of us. Another huge influence in my dj career has been my good friend dj Konflikt (@myfavoritedj). Like i mentioned when I moved to Miami i realized this was the big leagues and he was one of the reasons why. He constantly raises the bar and when you think you heard it all he’ll surprise you. Joe Maz was another dj who really made me look at djing differently. The thing about JM is that he’s so clean with his mixes. JM will mix 2-3 songs because they have the same snare or drums, little things that only djs will pick up. JM and Konflikt (which make up Discotech) have been a HUGE reason why I’ve grown. There are so many djs that impress me every time i see/hear them, dudes like Four Color Zack, Excel, Graham Funke, Five, Fashen, A-rock, EU, the list goes on and on. A dj that I really look up to as well is my good friend Louie Arson. Dude has to be one of the most underrated djs in Miami. he can cut better than most djs I know, song selection mixes and blends are always on point.
You’ve done some international touring – where did you go and what was it like?
Traveling is dope. i’m truly blessed to have gone the places I have thru djing. I travel to Nicaragua often. I do events for the liquor companies and some venues. The main party I do is for NYE (every 2 years) called Beyond. This party is right on the beach, a stage, tables, decorations etc is all built from the ground up on a deserted beach. This is a 12 hr party, starts at 8PM and ends around 8AM. Party is intense. You have about 2,000 partying on the beach bringing in the new year. I’m currently working on going back for this NYE, also looking at going to Costa RIca and Colombia.
Finals words? Shoutouts?
Want to thank you for featuring me on the site. Wanna just shout out everyone who actual read the whole interview, LMAO. i know I talk a lot. All I wanna say to any DJ reading this, is keep pushing, if you’re dedicated and set your short and long term goals, things will happen. It’s normal to look up to DJs, but be original, practice and find your sound. Too many djs now want to be the next _____, im just trying to be myself.