Originating from Chicago, but relocated to Seattle, he is one of Seattle’s long time favorites bringing the best of house and hip hop to all the local clubs. Always supportive of local talent someone with a true love for music, give a warm welcome to DEVLIN JENKINS!
You are a DJ originally from Chicago. As we all know, Chicago is the birth place of house music. Were you involved in the club scene when the house sound started to develop? How did you experience that time?
Well house started gaining momentum in Chicago I was in the 5th grade lol. I was just starting to discover music beyond just what I heard in the background at family functions around that time, so my immediate take on it was the same as a kid with a new toy that they’d never seen before. I was introduced to it by friend [Chris] that was a 6th grader. He brought in this tape of the Hot mix 5’s radio show on WBMX 102.7 and told me that I had to hear it…like HAD to hear it lol. I was instantly hooked. I used to rush my mom to get us home so that I could listen to the 4pm show. That was…that was back in ‘85/’86; but unfortunately WBMX changed into V103 [which it is right now] shortly after that so as soon as I had found it…I had lost it. When I found it again it was a few years later in high school and by then it was being played right alongside hip hop, disco & funk so house to me has always been connected to those other genres. And back then a lot of the club & radio DJs spun a lot of teen social parties so in a sense, us kids didn’t miss out on the music that the clubs had, but me and my friends did miss out on the epic parties the warehouse was known for.
You have been living in Seattle for quite some years. How would you describe the club scene? Good or bad and is there room for improvement or is it a leading city?
I’ve been in Seattle for 11 years now. The club scene is still growing in my opinion. I heard stories about NAF in the 90’s and early ‘00s for EDM, but I missed out on that lol. EDM genres like Electro, D&B, Deep House have a firm foothold here, but there’s still plenty of room to grow. There’s also a huge hip hop scene in Seattle that’s been slept on too. For EDM, there’s lots of room for improvement in Seattle. Being that Washington overall is still growing, there’s still not an absolute defined environment here. Seattle’s EDM scene has a little NYC and a lot of LA in it, but not enough of Seattle in it [if that makes any sense]. A lot of clubs don’t stay open more than a couple of years and the ones that do find it difficult to maintain the same formats for a significant period so finding a foothold in the music scene becomes difficult. Overall there’s a lot of good music here, but the general attitude is that Seattle isn’t really a “party town” like Chicago/NYC/LA/Miami etc.
What are your favorite styles to play?
UGHH & House mostly, but I also like playing other styles/genres. UGHH & House are just the ones I connect with the most since that’s what I grew up listening to.
Tell us more about your involvement with the Seattle based record label Magmata.Records.
When I first moved to Seattle, I played a lot of UGHH [underground hip hop] and did a lot of shows backing local rap acts. I met the guys over at Magmata through a local crew the Block Teamsters Union [BTU]. Magmata did a lot of graphics work and PR for some of the talent in the crew, and I was signed on as a dj. Most of the work we’ve done together is for local shows, but we haven’t done much together since BTU split in 2009. I’m still down to help them if they ever need me though. I hear they’re doing some pretty cool stuff right now.
What kind of format do you prefer for mixing regardless to what is available at an event?
It doesn’t matter to be honest. I started with vinyl back in ’92, and moved to cds and then Serato. I would say that for software I prefer Serato, but beyond that I’m super comfy in all formats.
Name three talents form Seattle you expect to break out nationally.
I only get to pick 3 lol? Well [besides myself lol], I would pick Kristina Childs [aka Nastina] & Darrius Washington for the djs and Fly Moon Royalty for live act. I picked these 3 because they haven’t really played too far away from Seattle yet, and they’re driven and have a very unique niche that’s separating them from their peers.
Do you still get shocked by new intense and incredibly creative music that is new? Or do you prefer older sounds?
A little of both. A lot of what’s “new” is just a different spin on older styles, so it’s hard to be absolutely original these days. I like to be shocked and caught off guard though. If the production can grab my attention-you’ll be a winner in my book every time.
Name the most inspiring person you ever met backstage and tell us why this person has inspired you?
Wow…um…I have so many of those stories, but I will have to say the most inspiring would have to be Giom. I had a chance to bend his ear over lunch last year and he opened my eyes to a lot of things both musically and personally. After a few years playing just about every major festival and event you can play as a house dj, he still acts like everything is his first day at Disneyland which is awesome to me. It’s nice to see someone that’s as well traveled and respected as a dj can still maintain a super humble and gracious position.
What wouldn’t you do without?
Music. Even if I wasn’t a DJ by profession I don’t think I could go more than half a day without hearing some music. Besides that it’s the usual answer of food, water and air lol.
Is there any genre of EDM you would never play?
Gabber & Industrial. Maybe Happy Hardcore too lol.
What defines the term DJ for you?
Being a DJ is like being a chef. You have all of these ingredients and tools at your disposal, and it’s up to you to create a great meal for people to enjoy. The better ingredients that you select, the greater your chances of creating a great meal and dining experience. Some DJs are short order cooks, others are Wolfgang Puck.
Is there a final thing you would like to say to our readers?
SUPPORT LOCAL!!! If you live in a city that has a local music scene, take the time to support it. An act that you see in a dive bar may go on to be a super famous act-but they won’t make it if they don’t get love in their home town.
Thanks again Devlin for taking the time for this interview!
Thank you.. you crazy Dutch guy!! God bless HAMMARICA!!!