by Mabel Suen
Welcome to Hey DJ, a series that delves into the St. Louis DJing scene. Get to know some local music lovers and their quirks as they fill out our short answer questionnaire, and find out where to catch them around town.
Julian Kussman is DJ hobbbz, a decidedly strange misspelling of his childhood favorite, Calvin & Hobbes. This Friday, August 15, he'll pump out his music collection featuring an open format at the soft opening of new downtown spot, HG Danceclub (2617 Washington Avenue).
Kussman started DJing out of his house at the age of sixteen, saving up all his part-time-work pennies to pick up a pair of cheap turntables and mixer, eventually performing at friends' parties. Two years ago, he started picking up gigs at clubs including the Dubliner (1025 Washington Avenue), where he now spins monthly on Friday nights.
When asked to describe the type of music he plays, Kussman says, "I listen to every type of popular music from the '50s to today, and I try to find those little miracles of combinations that no one else would ever think of. My home base for genres is hip hop but in my sets you will get EDM, trap, classic rock, commercials, Johnny Cash and Metallica."
Influenced by DJ Z-Trip, who put out a formative mix in the early 2000s called Uneasy Listening Volume 1, Kussman says he's always loved artists including the Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill, Biz Markie and Queen. DJ hobbbz's digital turntable sets rarely get planned aside from one or two tracks he picks out for any given night, leaving plenty of room for surprises.
The album that best represents me is... Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique.
I got into DJing because... I wanted to share music with my friends.
The thing I like most about St. Louis is... Its accessibility. Nowhere is off limits, just different vibes.
The first vinyl record I ever bought was... 1999 Grammy Rap Nominees ("Intergalactic" was on it!).
The most prized item in my music collection is... my DMC Championship 1997 VHS with DJ A-Trak winning when he was fifteen.
A record never allowed on my turntable is... the one that kills the flow. I'm not elitist, but sometimes I have to save crowds from themselves.
The song that gets the best reaction when I'm performing is... The Isley Brothers, "Shout" (Team Bayside High Remix).
The strangest request I've ever gotten while DJing is... Irish dancing music. Someone had the wrong idea about the Dubliner.
The vibe in the room during my sets is usually... sweaty.
My most memorable gig was... being onstage at the Dubliner -- the floor was packed wall-to-wall, and the stage got overrun with girls dancing. I was holding on for dear life to keep everything from getting knocked down. It was like something out of a movie.
One person to watch in the St. Louis music scene right now is... the rapper Less.
Five current artists worth listening to are... Riff Raff, Keys N Krates, Party Favor, Brooke Candy and A Tribe Called Red.