DJ Dossier

DJ Dossier: Phlava from 101.5 Jamz

Name: Michael Johnson

AKA: DJ Phlava

Current club nights: Right now I'm doing every Friday night at Myst for Dream Fridays, and on Wednesdays at Bar Smith. During the week it kinda varies.

Preferred genres: You can catch me anywhere doing hip-hop, but I also spin everything else. I spin house, electro, Baltimore club music, and I've been doing dancehall/reggae for a very long time as well. I'll spin anything, rap mashups or whatever I get hired to spin.

How did you get started as a DJ: I started in 10th or 11th grade in this little rap group. I was like the drummer/percussion guy and was DJing on the side a little bit with them, doing house parties and high school parties back in the 80s. I sat in for Alvie D. who used to be on the air in Washington D.C. for some guests spots and opened up for at clubs when he was late. It kinda opened that door up to getting to a few places and doing some radio guest spots, the I moved to Phoenix.

Background in Valley radio: The first station I was on in Phoenix was Magic 107 FM. It was me, Dark Vader, Fashen, and Z-Trip. We started doing Saturday nights and were there for a couple years. I eventually went over to Power 98.3 and Mikee Mike eventually had me doing guest spots on holiday weekends. Then they put me on every Friday night. I was doing 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. shifts, which is actually a really good when you're a club guy. Then I was in Tucson on Hot 98 for ten years, and went to 101.5 Jamz when it came along.

When are you on air: Every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. until midnight with Sugarbear.

DC vs. Phoenix: Coming from where I came from, you spin as large a variety that you have to spin if you want to work. DJing in Phoenix is really narrow in what you spin at a club.

Explanation of DJ Name: It was actually given to me. I used to work a lot of what we called "island spots" or "Caribbean spots" [a.k.a. Latin clubs] in Maryland. And no matter where I DJ'd I'd do a set where it was half English and half Spanish. And this guy who was MCing said, 'Man you got all the flavors, you're like Baskin Robbins." So I kinda adopted that name and it stuck. I started it with a "ph" because that's what everyone was doing back then.

Who are the Bumsquad DJz: It's kinda a fraternity of more than 100 DJs around the world. You're nominated by other DJs to get into it. There are over 300 of us across the world. We've got many here in Phoenix - myself, M2, Dark Vader, Astonish, Big Latin, Illmatic, Sugarbear, DJ Rocko, Area Four, Chill the Hustla. There's a lot. It's a diverse group of guys and ladies, a lot of talent. It's just another group of DJs trying to get to the next level. We've got chapters in Thailand, Bankok, and Paris.

Track currently stuck in your head: "Imma Bee" by the Black Eyed Peas.

Latest mix: The Phlava In Ya Ear Mixshow - Episode 4.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.