On The Record: DJ Strictly Business
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
DJ Strictly Business is a new face caught in the party rage pandemonium of Honolulu’s EDM scene. Positive steps have led to giant leaps forward for Aukai Tirrell, exceeding his own expectations and earning him the title of Breakout DJ of the Year among his peers.
Spinning out and about for about a year, there is no better time to be a DJ on the rise than now for Tirrell. Inspired by the energy of a packed dance floor, he’s found a way to stir up a frenzy on the dance floor while simultaneously embracing his role as the new guy.
“The best part of Hawaii nightlife right now is how crazy the clubs are,” he said. “There are so many big names coming down more often than before with the afterparties at different nightclubs. … It’s cool to be able to see these different artists.”
While the practice of playing predictable club bangers is an essential part of his sets, the challenge of taking things a step further is a must for Tirrell. Led by an uptempo arsenal of big room and progressive house, his rambunctious style and growing club cred fit right in with the wants and desires of youthful island clubgoers.
In a year’s time, he has morphed into a DJ to be reckoned with — so expectations can only rise. His crowning achievement of 2013 was a gig at Marquee in Las Vegas last month. For an upcoming DJ, it doesn’t get any more intimidating — or more epic — than playing in Vegas.
“I never thought I would be playing at a club of (that) caliber, especially (since) I (haven’t) been DJing that long,” he said. “The main thing I took away from playing at Marquee was self confidence. Playing there and knowing I did well kind of made me think that, ‘Hey, if I can play at a club (that) huge and people enjoyed it then the sky is the limit.’”
Currently enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the stress and demands of finals week will be a thing of the past for the finance major (where the “Business” in his DJ name comes from) at Vice Nightclub on Dec. 28 when he opens for hard trance DJ Maor Levy.
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.