We are staying in Seattle this week as we pay a visit to Twitch hero, DJ K-Zar for a catch up and chat!
Where are you from and where are you living now?
I currently live in Seattle, WA, but being in a military family growing up, I’ve lived in Bremerton, Japan, Alameda, and San Diego.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
My real name is actually Kazar(“Kay-zar”). When I was trying to think of a DJ name, one of my closest friends and old school Seattle DJ legend, Whistler asked why don’t I use my actual name since it’s pretty unique, and that’s how it ended up panning out. Funny thing is I added the hyphen (K-Zar) to make sure people pronounce it correctly, but even to this day, people pronounce it Kuh-zar all the time, so I’m used to it at this point 🙂
What’s your equipment list?
2 x XDJ-1000’s digital turntables
2 x Technics 1200 MK5’s for vinyl
2 x Ortofon Qbert concordes stylus
1 x Pioneer DJM-750 mixer
1 x Pioneer DDJ-SX controller (as a back up)
Where did your musical journey begin?
Growing up in the 1990’s, some of the best R&B, Hip Hop, Pop and Rock came out during that time. It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle in the early 2000’s that the group of friends I had (and still do) introduced me to raves and electronic music. I found my first love in Trance, but as I went to more shows and listened to more music, my love and appreciation for all other genres grew from there.
What made you decide to take up DJing?
Back then, DJing was an expensive hobby to get into. A good pair of industry standard technics, needles, and a mixer was way out of my price range, but I still collected vinyls when I could afford it (imagine paying $15+ for one track!). Luckily one of my DJ friends was in the process of upgrading his gear, and he was willing to pass down his old set up to me for a good price(entry level stantons and a 2-channel denon mixer). I remember playing the only 4 vinyls I had for hours every day just learning how to beat match, and from there it became an addiction I’m still not tired of 15+ years later.
Side note for anyone at all interested in learning to DJ, a Pioneer DDJ-400 is a super affordable controller(that will require a PC) that will teach you all the basics, and also be very functional if you decide to stream!
When did you start streaming on Twitch?
Just as the pandemic started ramping up two years ago and no one could see each other in person, a bunch of my DJ friends started throwing virtual shows on Twitch, and fellow Team Brisk member SpinSpinSuper (SK) invited me to play one called commUNITY playground. Before then, Twitch in my mind was this foreign, scary place only hardcore gamers or those with dedicated onlilne followings would frequent. But being locked down and bored, I agreed to play, and I’m so glad I did. I found the Twitch community the most welcoming of any I had ever been exposed to, the artistic/tech-y part of me loved fixing up my stream and making custom emotes, and I got to play music I loved but never had an opportunity to play during any of my live gigs!
Is there anything you really hope to accomplish in your life, whether it be related to music or not?
I just want to strive to be happy, to make my wife and our two corgis happy, and strive to be a positive influence to all those around me. Social media and the internet has given everyone a venue to spread misinformation and hate, and if there’s one thing I want anyone to take away from knowing me is that you are loved, you do matter, and we all belong.
Oh, and traveling and eating everything around the world! I love eating 🙂
Who are some of your favourite streamers?
I’ve loved DJ Brisk and all the Team Brisk members streams that I’ve had the pleasure of listening in on. Everyone has their own unique style, rapport with their chat, and banging tunes so you should follow ALL of them!!
But Jimnicricket hands down has the best hour long show on Twitch called ‘Hardcore HodgePodge’. Her community votes on a theme before every show, and she tailors her set/emotes/music/graphics around that theme. It really is amazing how much effort and love goes into each one.
What is your favourite genre to play? Why?
I’ve been playing Hands Up/Hard Dance for most of my 15+ years DJing, and it’ll always be at the top of my list, but one of the best parts of Twitch is that I’ve been able to expand my musical horizons as a DJ in so many different directions. I now love and play all kinds of House, Liquid DnB, and Trance. My current favorite of the latter I’ve dubbed ‘brunch house’ which is uplifting, chill, piano heavy house you could listen to while sipping on mimosas to get rid of that hangover at brunch!
What does Team Brisk mean to you?
Every single person that’s on Team Brisk has been a genuinely good person to hang out with at its core. There’s not one member’s stream I’ve hopped in on and not felt welcome. Then you add all the awesome music, over the top showmanship, crazy tech, and you have this gathering of amazing talent that I’m thankful to be a part of.
What’s your favourite thing about DJing on Twitch?
Hands down it’s chatting and connecting with so many awesome people and playing music I’ve hoarded for years, but never had an opportunity to play at a show. Live gigs are great, and they have their own sense of satisfaction, but depending on the booking, you’re locked in to playing a certain type of genre, a certain energy level, a certain vibe depending on the crowd. For a majority of my 15+ years Djing, I played predominantly Hands Up/Hard Dance because that’s what I was booked for.
DJjing on Twitch has given me the opportunity to play anything and everything I’ve ever wanted, and have an audience for it! I now play all different types of House, liquid DnB, Trance and I feel I’m only scratching the surface of what else I can dive into.
It also can’t be overstated how awesome it is to chat with your audience. You’d never be able to throw down a crazy mash up of Daft Punk x Dua Lipa or a House version of Above and Beyond’s Satellite, and then turn to your chat and see them go wild along with you! Being able to talk and interact with your community is something you can’t reproduce anywhere else, and I love it!
What is a challenge you’ve faced as a DJ/streamer?
It’s hard not to look at stats. It’s such a sobering fact when you think you’ve played an amazing set, played a bunch of new tracks you found and loved, or thought of an amazing theme that got everyone chatting and engaged, but the numbers say otherwise. I have to remind myself that the reason I’m doing this is that I am having fun, I’m connecting with people in a way I would never be able to at a live show, and the moment that isn’t the case is the moment I quit. It’s been over 2 years later, so that must mean something!
Do you have any special projects, streams or events you would like to tell us about?
Seattle Sunday Streams and Team Brisk Moist Monday! We started SSS at the beginning of the pandemic as a way for all of our friends to have a virtual safe space to hang out, chat about life, and play tunes together; friends playing music for friends. Through it, we’ve made so many amazing connections, met so many awesome people, and we’ve really built a family I’m happy to spend every Sunday with. Over two years later, and it’s still a day people can rely on for great tunes, great chat, and just a place to come vibe. Come say hi!
Moist Monday is my other stream day along with a bunch of other Team Brisk members, where I tend to play my faster music like hands up, liquid dnb, hard dance, higher bpm trance, etc. Also come say hi 🙂
Is there anyone you’d like to shout out and/or thank?
I have to thank the man himself DJ Brisk and all the awesome Team Brisk members for making this one amazing ride, my better half DJ J-Note for really embracing this whole experience with me, and all the friends, new and old, we’ve made along the way. Whether it’s 1 or 100 of you in chat, talking and connecting with you has really revitalized my love for music and djing to such a personal level, I can’t imagine my life without it now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Give us your links!