Interview by Jenkin Au & Alan Ng
Words by Ryan Goldade and Amie Nguyen
Photography by Jenkin Au
Location: Montreal[Show Text Only Version][Hide Text Only Version]
The justalilhype! Crew caught up with DJ New Money. He is one third of the infamous Mustache Men DJ crew and can be found DJ’ing all throughout Canada. Although he didn’t start out with DJ’ing, his involvement in the Montreal nightlife scene eventually led him to his calling and eventually his career. He shows lots of love for our hometown of Vancouver because of his time spent here and explains how life is in the Montreal scene. He also explains what it’s like to be a DJ in the “party city” of Canada; a city with a ton of demand for DJs and unfortunately far too much supply of them.
Please tell our readers about yourself.
DJ New Money. Montreal born and bred. I play residency at Bluedog every Thursday night: Grilled Cheese Thursdays. I’m better at answering questions than talking about myself.
How did you end up with the DJ name New Money?
The name came from the night before the first gig I ever played. A buddy of mine just gave me that name. We were just messing around on the turn tables and practicing. I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. He came up with that name. New Money is the English translation of ‘nouveau riche’ which is loosely bourgeoisie and all kinds of young people making it on their own as opposed to old money which is inherited. Like the aristocracy. New Money is more do-it-yourself and represents me more so than anything else. And all the good DJ names were taken.
A lot of people think that a name should be given to you.
Yeah, absolutely. I was lucky enough that it was given to me. I don’t know what I would have thought of. It would have definitely taken a lot longer than the night before to come up with it. A lot of people use their real names but I just didn’t feel it.
What is your style of DJ’ing?
I play rap music. I play some house, disco, electro. I kind of jump around the board. Some motown. All kinds of music. When you think of New Money, you probably think of someone from Houston. That’s not at all how I play or perform though. I like a lot of music.
As one third of the Mustache Men crew, can you tell us a bit more about the formation of the crew?
Mustache Men crew is myself, DJ Classi Assi and DJ F-U-N-K. I actually just shaved this morning so I’m not sporting a proper mustache. The three of us come from really different backgrounds and different parts of the country. We kind of connected over working at a radio station and we were the only three people at the radio station that actually DJ’d in clubs and parties. We bonded over that and had a common ground of enjoying parties and rocking parties. Classi Assi is a very skilled turntablist and producer. Funk is an awesome producer and really great at reading crowds. They both taught me a lot about DJ’ing.
What’s the direction for the group?
We don’t really focus too heavily on things like that. One of the things that we definitely do is sit and wait for the right project. Anything you hear coming from the Mustache Men is really clever, well branded and thought out. We did a mixtape with Faction Soundcrew as music designed to BBQ to. It was really well received throughout the entire summer and this year I got a lot of requests for a sequel. We had another one that we put together for a charity for Movember called Barber Shop. Again, with that, we had a lot of great samples and sound bites. Under pressure, we put together something really unique that I don’t think other DJ crews are putting together and putting time into. There were almost no club bangers but it’s really fun and entertaining music.
Tell us more about your Thursday night at Bluedog.
Classi Assi and I have been doing it for two years now. It wasn’t called Grilled Cheese Thursdays at that point. I had the night and had Assi come join me. We called it Grilled Cheese Thursdays because we actually gave away grilled cheese in the DJ booth. You would see us spinning and cooking. People would be walking around the club eating grilled cheese which is definitely not common place for a dance club. We’re heavily involved in that. We do marketing, promotion and booking for the night. It’s a labor of love but we have a lot of freedom and can do what we like.
It seems like you have a lot of connections with DJ’s from Vancouver. What can you tell us about your relationships with DJ’s out there?
It started in 2007. I went out there for a party and we did the party at Modern with the Eh-Team. It was the first time that the Eh-Team had all been together in Vancouver so it was a big deal. The party was awesome. I had bought a one way ticket to Vancouver and luckily my buddy had an apartment and was going out of town so he left me his keys. Anyways, that night helped a lot and I met a lot of people. I think the Freshest Kids were there so I connected with them. Through going and talking to people and going to clubs, I connected with a lot of people. I met a lot of really great DJ’s. That’s how I ended up doing the mixtape with the Faction Soundcrew (Tanner and Arems). Now I work closely with Jenno Chand who does Go Getters. She helps me out with a lot of the bookings and she’s the shit. I’m connected with Relly Rel, Brendan Butter and DJ Hunt. I loved Vancouver and I got the chance to go back. I was seeing this girl who moved out to Vancouver for school. She had an extra ticket to go scan for apartments so I got a chance to get back out there. Kut Korners hooked me up with the first DJ gig I ever got in Vancouver. Then I got a chance to open for people like Flipout, Jay Swing, and Hedspin. Vancouver is an awesome community and so friendly and welcoming. Even if you don’t know anybody, if you go to Guu on the weekend, you’ll run into every DJ in the city; the one is Gastown is the spot before playing.
Are there any spots like that in Montreal?
There’s a spot that we go to and bring our guests to. It’s a Portuguese chicken place. Around Bluedog there are a lot of really good food spots. The Main at the end of the night in Montreal would be the equivalent of Guu at eight or nine o’clock in Vancouver.
Who was one of the DJ’s that humbled you the most?
That would be DJ Psychology. He’s the guy that taught me how to DJ. I was playing a party in Vancouver and I was on BBM with him and he gave me some really great advice. I remember that entire night and the BBM conversation. It definitely improved me as a person.
What was it about DJ’ing that made you want to pursue it further than just a hobby?
I was really really keen on it at least ten years ago and I just wasn’t able to afford all the equipment and the records and everything. I was always really passionate about music. I once DJ’d a party when I was around 18 using two Discmans and a shitty mixer. There’s no jogging on those things and the fast forward isn’t accurate.
Where do you see your DJ career progressing as you move on?
I’m just trying to enjoy it. This year I had a lot of opportunities come to me instead of having to pursue stuff. That’s really cool because DJ’ing is one thing that is akin to acting where if you’re not employed and working, you could very easily by unemployed for months.
The older cats tend to say that it’s really important to know the history and the background while younger DJ’s tend to want to do their own thing. Where do you stand on the matter?
I got into DJ’ing later than a lot of people but I had years of experience making events, throwing parties and doing club nights. I had conversations and friendships with DJ’s way before I started DJ’ing so I see both sides. I personally am a fan of learning music and going through the history. I think that’s super important but I also understand that it’s daunting at this day and age. There’s just so much music and it’s harder and harder to sift through all the garbage and find good shit. I try to learn about everything but it just takes time. The older DJ that might be upset about it needs to understand that it’s a new day and age and a whole other world out there. Both people need to see the other side. The old DJ needs to know that it’s a whole different game now and the young DJ needs to see where it comes from.
It seems as the DJ culture evolves, turntablism is becoming less important whereas branding and marketing is becoming crucial. Where do you see this trend going?
Montreal is very interesting when it comes to that because there was a big shift where people started fighting for crowds and reducing the price of cover. Promoters started offering free admission guest lists. It’s something you don’t see as often in Toronto or Vancouver. It made it really hard and promoters were making less money. I guess they liked the shine of DJ’ing because promoters started becoming DJ’s. As a DJ in Montreal you have to be a promoter too. Whether you’re inviting people to a night or just improving your brand, you constantly have to get your name out there and promote. So there are a lot of promoters turned DJ’s. If you’re a DJ, you have to become a promoter in Montreal.
What is HYPE?
HYPE is the result of energy being put into a project.