On The Record: DJ Craze
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
What do DJ Craze and LeBron James have in common?
For starters, both rep Miami to the fullest. As far as their respective crafts are concerned, both have an all-around game and a knack for making things look ridiculously easy.
As far as world championships, the legendary DJ has the b-baller beat. Craze has not one, not two, not three, but five world titles to his credit.
Presented by Double-O-Spot, Rick Rock Productions and Go Ventures
» Where: Kakaako Waterfront Park, 102 Ohe St.
At face value, Craze is known as a curator of vibe intense, wig splitting bangers. His booking schedule is worldwide. His DJ/producer profile is extensive and packed with bass-knock blasts of uptempo bounce music — the more crunk, the better.
The Miami mix master will join DJs Flosstradamus, AC Slater and Kam as headliners at the 15th annual “Love Festival” on July 20 at Kakaako Waterfront Park. This will mark the second time the decorated turntablist has played at Hawaii’s longest running electronic music event (he was here in 2006) and his first time back to the island since New Year’s Eve 2011.
“Last time I was at ‘Love Festival’ was special ’cause it was one of the last times I spun with Roc Raida, rest in peace,” Craze said. “Most of the gigs that I’ve done in Hawaii in the past couple of years have been amazing.”
Highly regarded among his peers for his crafty, hype inducing creativity, he’s successfully delved into the depths of drum ‘n’ bass, Baltimore house, dubstep and now trap (a mix of southern hip-hop and crunk, mixed occasionally with gangsta vocals and wompy-sounding synths), but noted that the hip hop vibe of the trap sound that had him hooked.
“Before I was battling, spinning D-n-B, spinning club and house music; I was a hip-hop boy,” he said. “Trap made me fall back in love with the 808s and minimalism in club music.”
It’s as if he takes on the challenge of mastering a genre before moving on to conquer another. Forward thinking is an ongoing theme for the Slow Roast Records co-owner, a venture he started with producer stalwart Kill the Noise and distributed by Fool’s Gold — which happens to be the imprint owned by A-Trak, a another DJ extraordinaire. He cooks up the sounds, you consume.
Craze, who recently teamed up with DJ Klever to form the duo Cafe Con Leche (Spanish for “coffee and milk”), denounced any notion he is trying to meet any demands of what’s popular. The changes resemble a natural evolution of creating energy-fueled beats the way he likes to make them. He is the first to admit his fans have a hard time adjusting to his sound sometimes.
“I think doing what you love is the most important thing in life and your career,” he said. “If you love what you do it’ll never get old and in a business like this you always gotta keep it fresh and love what you’re doing.”
From his early days of serving up the competition to his innovative efforts of the hear and now, Craze promised the 10,000 Kakaako EDM fans getting ready for “Love Fest” can expect nothing less than his full arsenal.
“I get amped when I play larger crowds cause the vibes are more intense,” he revealed. “You really do feel the “love” and there’s nothing more amazing than killing it in front of that many people!”
ALONG WITH the headliners, one more DJ will be added to the lineup as DJs Flip, Blake, Jigga Phat and J.K. duel it out in the finals of “DJ 2 Love Fest” at Dave and Buster’s on Wednesday, July 10. The winning DJ will make his “Love Fest” debut.
In an e-mail last week, “Love Fest” promoter Greg “G-Spot” Dehnert was excited about the number of visiting DJs who will be on hand this year.
“We Have DJs coming in from all over the world, (including) England, UK, Detroit, Chicago, LA, SF, Phoenix (and) Vegas,” he said. “The growth of Hawaii’s Love Festival has been spectacularly amazing. It is way bigger than me. It is a team effort with Hawaii’s ohana all taking on different responsibilities to make it a great world class respected event.
“For me, the fact that my little baby is now 15 years old is hands down the special achievement. ‘Love Fest’ has never been about a headliner or shaped to be based on a headliner; it is about the multiple experiences.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.