justSPIN! Powerful Relik

Words by Ryan Mitchell
Photography by Jarvis Ho and Andy Fang
Check out DJ RELIK’s website HERE

DJ Relik is a powerful name in the Vancouver DJ scene. He has spun on stages of moguls like Ne-Yo, Nas and Justin Timberlake. One of the most recognized DJs in Vancouver, DJ Relik is nothing close to antiquated, as his name might suggest. Rather, he lives up to his name of something that is of significance, and that is to the Vancouver and world wide DJ scene. With residency and nights across the week, DJ Relik is definitely an established force in the clubs. Read more about DJ Relik.

Describe Yourself.

Filipino, good looking…

I see entertainment as my job; it’s to make sure that a club has the right vibe, right atmosphere, and that a club is bumping-when it should be bumping. Growing up, I moved around a lot. First to Winnipeg, back then I was pretty poor, went to Toronto, was pretty poor and moved to Vancouver, and I’m still pretty poor. I guess you can say I wasn’t well off so I learnt how to appreciate what I had later on. Maybe in that I figured how to appreciate what I wanted to do and I really didn’t want to go to college, I wanted to be myself, which led me to be a DJ.

Pick one word to label your style of spin

Edgy?  Is that a good word?

What is ‘One Love’ you had to sacrifice in order to spin?

Reading books, generally education.

Which way would you spin the world and why?

What is it spinning right now? Counter? I would spin it clockwise, just to see what happens.

You started to DJ because of a constant grief about what the DJs before you were playing. What didn’t you like about the music?

What I didn’t like was the fact that sometimes, you would go to a place and listen to good music and you would enjoy the music, but sometimes they play music just for themselves. If there are a ton of women there, and the guys want to get with the women, but the girls aren’t having a good time because the DJ isn’t playing the music –then for them, that was my biggest thing. I spin more for the girls and for the audience to enjoy.

How have you portrayed this?

I have no fear in playing music that some may consider ‘girly music.’ Back in the day if Britney Spears came on with a track, others would be like, “Eww I don’t want to  play Britney Spears.” I’m like, “Fuck it, man, Britney Spears is produced by the Neptunes, and this shit is hot. Obviously there is a line I won’t cross; there are certain songs that are catchy, but if girls like it and I can’t see why they would, I wouldn’t touch it. They can save that for the car ride home.

What do you bring to the crowd when you spin (other than music)?

What I bring is new flare and that little extra ‘oomph’. A lot of scratching and a lot of different things, rather than the typical transition another DJ would do. I’d do the transition and try to put a little icing to make it sound a little cooler, like my own personal style.

What do you see when you look at a turntable?

I see my life and everything that has been given to me.  If I had the balls to get a tattoo, I’d get a turntable on my chest. Yeah I use to go to toy stores and look for toy DJ stuff for my daughter and I kind of phased out of it, but I still do I enjoy picking them out.

Were you ever at a crossroad with your career path?

I always am because I have a family, I ask myself, “Should I take that road where I quit DJing, and work a nine to five job?” But that’s not me. The reason why my wife fell in love with me is because I am who I am. The reason why my kids are the way they are, again, is influenced and contributed from my DJing. With DJing, I work at night and play with my family in the day. With me, I don’t sleep; there is always something for me to do. I live off three hours of sleep, plus three or four fifteen minute naps.

Where in the world would you like to have your residency?

I like it here, actually I love it here. If I could choose anywhere, it would be everywhere. But when it comes down to it, Vancouver is my life and I’m going to stick around.

What do you think is wrong with the nightlife in Vancouver?

It’s just unappreciated, that’s all. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. People complain about, “We need this, we need that”, but it’s our fault! If Vancouver wasn’t Vancouver, it wouldn’t be Vancouver. We are just a laid back people.  In Toronto its go, go, go. Here, everyone is relaxed, nothing is wrong, aside from the fact that we don’t have as much nightlife population. I heard Montreal is a crazy party scene. If you have complaints, do what I do, start your own night, hire a place, some DJs and you won’t have anything to complain about.

How have you contributed to the scene?

As far as contributing, adding turntables to the mainstream. When I first started, there weren’t too many DJs working doing live blends in the clubs. Maybe just awareness, I had a little bit of an influence; get them out of that underground hip hop shell. The guy that was dissing me for playing Britney Spears a decade ago, is the same guy in the club, that is now asking me to collabo gigs with. Music always changes; you can’t keep playing the same shit over and over again. Electronic is blowing up. Now, when you go to a club you’ll hear hip hop, electro, techno, house etc. I think that’s how everything is progressing. It can’t strictly be a house DJ or a hip hop DJ; you have to be versatile.

What does HYPE mean to you?

HYPE can be good or bad. Is that good? That’s cool?