We had the good fortune of connecting with DJ KZA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi KZA, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued a creative career in order to be the exception in my family, plus its a strong passion. Growing up filipino, it is natural for us filipinos to be pressured into going into the medical field or joining the military such as the navy. I was blessed enough to have very supportive parents to support for my creative endeavors. My parents, and some of my uncles and aunties grew up being told to go in to the medical field and so on because it was safe, there were benefits. Etc. as opposed to pursuing their passion or hobbies. I hear stories and scenarios of people who had a creative passion but chose the nursing or navy just to satisfy their parents, not themselves. I’m just grateful to be able to pursue a creative passion and also make a name for myself with meeting great like minded individuals along the way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In Brief, I am an open format turntablist DJ. I’ll play almost any genre and then some. Also an aspiring battle DJ and has hopes to be DJing big events in the future. What sets me apart from others is a combination of style, skill, and also energy that I like to put out when rocking a crowd. I’m only here where I am today on a professional level due to the help of my Uncle and Grandpa in the business aspect of DJing, starting off with weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations, and a bit of guidance from my mentor-figure, Acefunk in the turntablism scene. Along with other DJ’s who have helped along the way.
Few bumps in the road during this journey, but nothing was meant to be easy anyway, and it’s all part of the journey to also reflect who I am and who I become.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d find myself a lot over in Little Tokyo, the nice small stores, convenience stores, shops, restaurants with foods that have so much nostalgia for me growing up as a kid. I’ve seen it change over time as I remember shopping at the Illest Store when it was still out there. Along with RIF LA. and other stores that may be gone. Daikokuya Ramen was one of the places I’d like to grab a bite at for their ramen.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout’s go out to most of the community I built on twitch. I would not be where I am today without these people I’m mentioning throughout this article. First and foremost I’d like to give a big shoutout to Nico Blitz for elevating my DJ Career and seeing who I am as a person and a DJ. Another shout out to Foster the Banana, with my partners Nico and Ladysetgo as we have been working together to spread awareness to Stop AAPI hate. I also cannot forget my fellow group “Avenue 5” which is also consists of Nico, Meowington_SD, DatguyRy, and Cassandrea Ho. These are partners I have been working with on twitch and also had a lot of value towards my career in DJing and being ambassadors of helping people, spread awareness and have communities grow. Big ups to twitch for creating a platform to make an impact on the world. I can’t also forget my roots, shoutout to my Uncle Efren, Grandpa Mar for getting me into the DJ business and Kuya AceFunk for being one of my first inspirations in DJing. And lastly my Mom for being very supportive for my careers and endeavors in DJing.
My honorable mentions go out to the Underscore Art Department, Jaymard Parayno for finding me when I started pushing my name out there in the DJ Scene in 2019. More shoutouts to Goodmorning Gabe, DJ Bitesize, DJ Mary Jane, Juls, DJ Cheesy, DJ Rychuu, Austin Millz, Noodles, Cam Girl, Ill Academy, IZE, ESSNCE, 143 Worldwide, HB Entertainment for helping my community grow, with opportunities, new friends and also positive vibes. And cannot forget to mention my community as whole. I would not be where I am and continue to grow without any of you and your relentless support, and I have a lot of love for my supporters.
Brian Calilung, Genesis Garcia