Interview & Photos by Joe Hensen ~ Wizzo is a name quickly becoming known throughout Kansas City. Hailing out of Omaha, Nebraska, Wizzo has quickly become a Kansas City favorite. Being able to move a room is quickly becoming his specialty. I'm sure there a lot of people who want to know who Wizzo is, so I decided to ask him.
Are you originally from the Kansas City Area?
No. I grew up in Atlantic, Iowa. It's a small town of about 9 or 10 thousand. Then I lived in Omaha for a couple years and then in KC for 9 nine months. I moved back to Omaha for 4 or so years and then in February,, I moved back to KC. I've been around.
Do you feel that you are thriving in Kansas City or do you think that you'll move on to different cities?
Right now, I'm honestly not sure. KC seems alright, but I feel that I need the hustle and bustle of a bigger city. Plus I would like some more diversity. Not just in music but in all around culture as well.
Wizzo's an unusual name. Where'd you get it?
Honestly, I don't have much of an idea. I got booked for a party in KC in 2001 and at that time I didn't have a DJ name yet. They needed something to put on the flyer so somehow I came up with that. I just wanted something original, simple, and something that people would remember. I wish I had a cool story for it. Maybe you and I should make one up or something, heh. I know that I was drinking and it just came to me.
You played an amazing set at Chaos Theory v2.0. I remember more than once when random party goers came up to me asking me who was spinning because he was amazing. How does that make you feel?
Wow! I didn't know that. Makes me feel good. I love reaching people through DJing.
You've been spinning records for little more than 3 years. In your opinion do you think the scene is changing and if yes for the better or worse?
I've been playing since '99 so actually about 5 years. I've really been at it for 3 though. I think the "scene" is constantly changing and it always will be. People change and the music constantly changes. If the music didn't change it would get boring. I love seeing things evolve all the time. However I have seen some things change for the worse. There are no longer huge parties every weekend. There isn't the support and love that I once saw. These changes occurred way before I started DJing in front of crowds though. At one time people were traveling to different cities and states just to support the "scene." It was definitely for the love of the music. Now a lot of people are jaded. There are too many cliques that hate on one another and too many dj's that do the same. I could go on about things like this forever. This is one question that I think really makes everyone ramble on and on. There is so much to say on the issue. On a different note; I have seen a lot of positive changes as well.
What is your favorite genre of electronica music and why?
HOUSE MUSIC! I'm not sure I can explain why. It's got soul, energy, and so many other things. There are so many different sub-genres of house and I love most all of them. Everything has its place for different times and moods. That is one thing about house. No matter what mood I'm in I can always listen to some kind of house music. I also have a deep love for breaks. Aside from house and breaks I also have a love for almost everything else. In the past couple years I have really taken to a lot of techno, but I haven't had a chance to really expose myself to a whole lot of it. I used to live with a guy who played techno, so at that time, I always heard most everything new. After I moved out with him I sort of lost touch on all the new stuff. I also love DnB. So it goes house, then breaks, then techno & DnB. I could go on and on, but then I would bore you and everyone else. :-)
Do you have any upcoming events?
As far as large events go, no I don't. I guess there is the "Music Meltdown" in Omaha. Its a 2 day festival with bands, dj's, and all other sorts of artists from the midwest. Zak C and myself will be a tag set on 4 tables there. We did it last year and had a blast. Everyone should really check this festival out. Last year was the first year and this year will be so much larger. Its sponsored by 89.7 "the river" in the Omaha area. A good friend of mine, Dave Stutsman, has a lot to do with organizing the event and him and all his partners do a great job. No matter what your musical love is there is something there for you. After that I also have monthly residencies in Omaha at bar 415 and in Lincoln at "the Bricktop." Before I moved, I was playing out pretty much every weekend. Some weekends both nights. Since my move I've kind of slowed down on promoting myself and I also work a lot. I guess you could say I am still getting settled in down here. Also, July 9th and 10th Zak C and myself are traveling to Oklahoma City for 2 nights of DJing Should be a great time!
The most recent event in which you performed was Bangin Under The Stars. Did you like spinning outside and did the rain affect anything?
Yeah, I had a blast playing outside. I didn't really anticipate playing at all. The day of the event, my friend, James Ehrman, just suggested that we should tag during his set. I think the rain really affected the crowd during our set. Everyone ran to their cars except for a handful of people. I can't say I blame them though. Hehe. I still had a lot of fun!
What internet music sites are you affiliated with?
Phulphunk.com, which is myself and Zak C. We have photos from all our events on the site as well as about 10 or 12 dj sets from the both of to download. This site has really taken off since we have been putting dj sets up for people to download. Then there is TechnOmaha.com They is an online community with everything from dj sets to original productions to an all inclusive forum. There is also essentialmusique.com which is things happening in Omaha. It includes a handful of dj's from Omaha as well. I just can't leave my Omaha roots alone. :-)
It's understandable...it's where you started out.
True. Omaha is a great town and I really miss a lot of aspects of it. Its a real close knit music community there.
What advice to you have for any new aspiring dj's out there?
Stay true to yourself and work hard. Anyone can be a decent dj with a little bit of practice. Do something to stand out and don't try to play out too soon. Most of all just have fun. If you aren't having fun doing it then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I still have so much fun just DJing at my house alone or with a couple of friends. If you can't do that then you should rethink why you dj. NEVER STOP HAVING FUN!
Anything else you'd like your fans to know?
It's still weird to think I have fans. I am always putting out new mix sets. Each time I do an event I try and give out as many mix cd's as I can. I appreciate each and every person who listens to them. If they like it, or if they don't, I just appreciate them giving it a listen. I also appreciate everyone who has ever danced or listened to me play at an event. That means more than anything. Seeing people dance or smile or just nod their head while I play. Also be on the lookout for many new cd's from me in the next year. Also be on the lookout for Zak C and I doing some 4 turntable action in KC and surrounding areas very soon. Also I'd like to say thanks for the support and love that people have shown me. Its been more than I ever expected and I truly love it.
Thanks man...Im looking forward to your new cds and hearing you live.
Thank you and everyone at phocas for working so hard at what you guys do. I love the site and visit regularly.
For more information about DJ Wizzo, be sure to visit PhulPhunk online.