Dj Almighty I.Z
Dj Name: Dj Almighty I.Z
Real Name: Brian
Location: Denver, USA
The Almighty I.Z. enjoys what he does, but not because he considers it art, instead he enjoys the party. Iz’s positive vibe is prevalent when he’s behind the decks and really, there’s no choice but to succumb to the mandatory good time.
When and how did you get your start DJing?
Started DJing in ’95. I heard a mixtape with scratching on it and wanted to build one myself. At the time a couple of my skater friends had just gotten into DJing a few months before. They helped me with a basic list of equipment and I was off running. Started doing house parties and mixtapes in high school. Fell in love.
How’d you pick your name?
I’ve never told this actual story because it seems quite immature but I was smoking herb often early in college and came up with the name Izum. I emcee as well and early on changed my name to a lyric I had written hence Almighty I.Z., but friends call me Iz.
What was your first set-up?
In ’95 I had only a few DJ resources. My original rig was a 4-channel Radio Shack mixer 2 vintage turntables (one direct-drive and one belt-drive which taught me an early lesson about turntables; belt-drives are total garbage for any record manipulation). I didn’t have any slip mats so I made some out of wax paper and plastic record sleeves. A year later I purchased my first pairs of 1200s and rocked that Radio Shack Mixer until buying a Vestax-06 in 1999. Worked well but honestly I was a kid.
What’s your current set-up?
I rock 2 rigs now. The first is the classic Vestax 05 with two Technics 1200 and Serato Scratch. My other rig is the Numark NS-6. It’s a 4-channel MIDI mixer with enough room to run two real turntables or just use the tracking wheels for cutting and cueing themselves using Serato DJ. I also on rare occasion rock the APC40 and Ableton but only in certain settings and never for hip-hop.
Best digging find?
The rules I still have for digging is a ‘find’ isn’t legit unless you buy it for under $10. I used to dig obsessively with DJ Johnra in the late ’90s and early 2000s. I found Babe Ruth First Base with the classic B-Boy track “The Mexican” at Barts CD Cellar for $1 (actually DJ Vajra was working there at the time and was working the register LOL).
Who are your influences as a DJ?
Most Denver DJs and too many to list here. We have a close-knit community that challenges each other often. On the short list are all the Crunk Bros, DJ EarAttent and DJ Vajra of course. On a bigger scene would be A-Track, A Skillz and Wick-It.
Classic must have record?iz
I guess its a classics now, Fugees – The Score.
Current must have record?
Anything with Turner Jackson and Kid Hum.
Vinyl or Serato?
I move too often to be adding more vinyl so it’s now Serato for me.
Requests or no requests?
Requests. They can be annoying but they can be revealing as well; I always want to be able to rock a party no matter the audience. Also, the second I stop playing for the people it’s time for me to quit. For me, it’s more a party than an art.
Worst request you’ve ever gotten?
Anything from anybody that starts off with the phrase “It’s my birthday, will you play_______.”
Best gig you’ve ever played?
Not sure for ever but in the last 6 months, I had a lot of fun at the McNichols building art opening Denver.
What would be the pinnacle of your career as a DJ?
Not sure. Music for everyone has its ups and downs. I’ve met and played with a lot of “famous” people but I’d say any up day is good and any pinnacle is bad. To hit a “pinnacle” would mean that my future holds nothing better. And there’s no better motivation in art, than hope.