DMC Phoenix DJ Battle to Take Place Saturday; Ordinary Club DJs Need Not Apply

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"DJs lock themselves in their bedrooms and give up, school, social life, girlfriends, etc., and practice for hours, days, weeks, and months for a whole year, just for six minutes," Akshen says. "Sometimes their whole DJ career is riding on a needle that is smaller than a tip of a ballpoint pen. The pressure is so intense sometimes that you can actually feel it when you walk into the green room where the DJs are before they get on stage. Very little conversation, very little smiles, and mostly silence."

David Dimmick, who DJs as Fact 135 and will also judge Saturday's competition, told Up on the Sun that competitors will be evaluated on their abilities in a number of categories, such as their stage presence, scratching skills, creativity, and overall showmanship. As he mentioned in this week's music section of Phoenix New Times, it also helps if they "own that shit onstage."

"There's just a lot of things involved. You have to be up technically and you want to try to be as creative as possible," Dimmick says. "It's very easy to get overly influenced by stuff that you're watching on YouTube, or by other routines and shit, so its like you definitely want to be very original and set yourself apart from other routines that people have done. You want showmanship, you want people that work with the crowd just like a singer or something."

Needless to say, he adds, competitors "really just have to be good at everything."

"A lot of people think you've got to be this crazy scratch DJ or crazy beat-juggling guy," Dimmick says. "There's a lot more to it than that."

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