Dick by Air via Instagram
Jun 13, 2022
12 young Brooklyn DJs you need to check out this summer (and, for that matter, year-round)
Be on the lookout for these beat purveyors the next time you’re looking for a good time
Summer is finally really here—and so, in abundance, are the parties. Whether it be at a bar, club, party, festival, concert, or a rooftop, keep an eye out for these young DJs, who spin a wide array of genres in any given set. From techno to rap to Afrobeats, anything goes.
And speaking of DJs, be sure to check out Boston Chery, PlayPlay and Talia Goddess, who will each make appearances behind the decks at the Brooklyn Magazine Festival this Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18. Get tickets for their can’t-miss sets (and the rest of the performers) here.
Then, check out these folks who will get your body moving.
Csyan Russell (Bodegaparty)
DJ, event/organization creator and host of Moderna Monday and ARTROP NYC
Bodegaparty says: “My main goals are to make people Shazam everything, have a spiritual awakening, or dance like crazy. I overall just want people to have fun and just enjoy themselves. I want to embody the meme that’s like ‘The club is jumpin, the ladies look good, the alcohol is flowing. There’s lots of pain in this world but not in this room’.”
Notable gigs: Baby’s All Right’s Whorechata Valentine’s Day event, Dick by Air’s Fear of Missing Out Halloween party
You might also want to know: Russell is holding a GoFundMe campaign for her dog Chloe’s lifesaving (and expensive) medical bills.
DeMarcus Johnson (Butchish)
DJ, fashion stylist and enthusiast, creative director, drag performer, participant on season 3 of HBO Max’s “Legendary”
Butchish says: “My sets are all about ass-shaking and being in the moment and that’s what I want people to take away from it. I understand that life can be the hardest part of living and sometimes we just need that surreal moment that makes you forget about everything else that’s happening.”
Notable gig: The Lot Radio
You might also want to know: Johnson is a Leo which is why he’s so experimental and curious when it comes to interests.
Donikah Black (Mondai)
DJ, real estate student
Mondai says: “I’ve dealt with a lot of sexism in the DJ community and I just want people to know that women deserve to be in these same spaces as men. Honestly sometimes we’re even more deserving. I want people to leave knowing that I’m not on stage because I’m an attractive woman—but because I am truly talented and can make a crowd move.”
Notable gigs: Lollapalooza’s TIGI Bed Head pre-party, ZillionByAir’s Black Friday at Baby’s All Right
You might also want to know: DJ Bass, a friend of Black’s dad, mentored her early in her DJ career.
Donis Almanzar (DONIS)
DONIS says: “My DJ sets are always a reflection of how I’m feeling at the moment, most times I try to fill the space with vibrations of love but that’s not always how I’m feeling. I might play some soulful house or aggressive techno depending on how I feel; there’s no formula. I can only hope that people find themselves or lose themselves during my sets. My goal as an artist is to create music and spaces for people to heal and come together. I think that’s what dance music is truly about.”
Notable gigs: A Nowadays DJ residency, Bushiwck’s Heaven or Las Vegas, 718 Sessions, Soul Summit, NYC 2022 Pride Weekend
You might also want to know: Almanzar is a failed food industry worker—he was just bad at it. He says he’s been smacked on the job and accidentally gave someone an allergic reaction.
Gabrielle Baston (Gab Soul)
DJ, multidisciplinary artist
Gab Soul says: “I want people to feel free, a bit of nostalgic joy, openness to the sonic experience I’m delivering; to feel seen through my music selections whether they know it or not. Zero negativity. And I want them to remember that feeling til the next time. And of course I want people to dance! At least a head bop or a foot tap. I’m Caribbean and from real New York—if you’re not grooving at a party what are you even doing?”
Notable gigs: Afropunk 2018, Move Forward Music’s ‘Riddim and Soul,’ Sister Nancy opener, Wray and Nephew commercial, Reggae Sumfest x Facebook, Boiler Room x Junkyard Jouvert, MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum, Vice, on tour with COLORS Worldwide’s R&B Only Live.
You might also want to know: Baston thought she would be an English teacher or in music public relations before she pursued deejaying
Joshua Tutiven (Nas Leber)
DJ, singer-songwriter, graphic designer
Nas Leber says: “I don’t have any awards or anything like that and have maintained a very ‘if you know you know’ kind of profile, but the streets know. My blessing is that I’ve built a strong reputation and people know it and feel the presence and what I have to offer. That’s really all I care about; being respected for my talent, the love I give, and my work ethic.”
Notable gigs: Greenpoint’s ‘Renegade’ (over 3,000 in attendance), anywhere he can vibe
You might also want to know: Tutiven creates his own flyers, cover art, and merch.
Karissa Mitchell (A-List Kariss)
DJ, Teen Vogue Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor, creator of Best Case Scenario
A-List Kariss says: “I want people to hear a song they forgot about, or a song that they attached to a good memory. I’m always playing songs that we ‘forgot about.’ Not throwbacks always but I mean like a song from 2017 that used to be the jam. I’m the one with the guts to play something not-so-popular and I think it’s always those three or four people in the crowd that appreciate it! I do it for them lol. I want people to dance during my set for sure. It’s usually hit after hit after hit so I’m working on giving my crowd a chance to come up for air. Working on adding more chill into my sets. I want to become the obvious choice. I want to spin alongside big female DJ’s and have a music festival stage one day!”
Notable gigs: Cafe Erzulie’s First Saturdays, Princeton University’s Lawn Party, Beautiful Faces DJ residency
You might also want to know: Mitchell’s biggest inspiration is Ant Blue Jr.
Levar McDonald (Dick by Air)
DJ, event host, creator of No Negativity
Dick by Air says: “I want people to feel refreshed. Normally when we go out we always hear the same repetitive sets over and over and over again. So when I play I hope that people leave with either new songs to add to their library. Maybe learn something about a song one of their artists sampled or overall be able to leave and say, ‘Damn I never heard anything like that before.’”
Notable gigs: Large party at 568 Washington, Boiler Room X Places+Faces, DJ debut at 40oz Bounce 10-year anniversary, opened Comethazine’s NYC show
You might also want to know: McDonald was a promoter and videographer before he became a DJ, at which point he was mentored by Virgil Abloh.
Naila Saphia (Mellow Domingo)
DJ, multimedia artist
Mellow Domingo says: “I want people to fall in love with sounds again almost like they have never heard them before. I want bigger, more diverse crowds. I want to take risks and get into different pockets of sub-genres. I want to get into radio. I want to hone in and master my own sound.”
You might also want to know: Saphia is releasing their first EP “High Strung” this July.
Notable gigs: Saphia produced and deejayed their own fashion show for Aguirre and Bandit Studioz, Pública Espacio in Santurce, Puerto Rico for Moréna Espiritual’s video premiere of “Bebecit”
Noah Goodman (NoahG)
DJ, marketing and creative manager of agency TellTheHomies
NoahG says: “I just want people to dance and feel something. I want my sets to really touch people, whether that comes from them dancing all night or just feeling one song I played because it was super nostalgic for them. Nothing is better than coming off the set and having somebody come up to you and tell you how much fun they had because of the music you played.”
Notable gigs: Big Booty Bounce 5,000, Jungle Book Rooftop Party, Spongebob Rave, Half Moon, The Jane Hotel
You might also want to know: Goodman had his own vintage-selling brand in Connecticut called Select Selection.
Skyler Reality (Sounds of Reality)
DJ, producer, creative director
Sounds of Reality says: “I just want people to have a great time. Interacting with them and making it relatable to them is my favorite. Music is a language that everyone speaks and if I can continue to tell stories and bring joy out of people from playing it, I’m good.”
Notable gigs: POSH, SXSW, Red Bull Culture Clash, Buffalo State SpringFest 2017
You might also want to know: Reality was a music major and orchestra lead at Achievement First Brooklyn High School.
Sorrelle McGill (x3butterfly)
DJ, freelance artist
x3butterfly says: “There aren’t any limitations to what I want people to take away from my sets. The way music can make you feel is so subjective that what I play could make one person elated and another melancholic. If you can walk away from my set feeling impacted rather than having it be forgettable, then I feel I’ve done something right.”
Notable gigs: HÖR Berlin, The Lot Radio, first queer party in Guanajuato, Mexico, Forest Park Rave
You might also want to know: McGill threw a rave in a secret spot inside Forest Park, Queens that lasted until 8 a.m.
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