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DJ PROFILE: Taj Al-Taji

Name: Taj Al-Taji

Age: 36

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Single or taken: Very much taken!

Where can people find you working?

Urban Mo's Fridays and Sundays. Rich's on special events.

When did you start spinning, and why?

I started spinning back in 1998. My best friend at the time was an inspiring DJ and I caught the bug from him and would practice on his equipment.

Vinyl or CDs? Why?

I learned on vinyl, but I play CDs ... mainly because they are more compact than vinyl, I can carry more music with me without breaking my back.

But soon I am going to be moving onto the newest format, which is Serato - a software-based system for DJs to basically carry their music library on a laptop! (I don't know why I've haven't converted yet.)

What type of music do you spin?

House!! I love house in its many forms.

What type of music will you NOT spin?

People ask me all the time why I don't spin hip-hop or radio versions of songs ... it's simple really ... I always associated DJs and the whole club experience with hearing music and versions of music that you wouldn't hear 24/7 on the local radio stations.

That was the point of going to the club for me, to hear remixes and artists that channel 93.3 isn't already hammering you over the head with everytime you get into your car.

Don't get me wrong, I still love a good pop song and my sets consist of a lot of pop music you would recognize ... just not the album/radio version that you've already heard a million times.

What is the most bizarre song request you have received?

I get all kinds really, it's hard to pick just one.

I think one of the strangest was when someone asked me in the peak hour of my set (when everyone was raging with their hands in the air) if I could play a ballad, so this drunk girl could slow dance with her girlfriend.

LOL!! Drunk people say the darndest things!

What song do people request the most?

Right now ... "Moves Like Jagger" which is bizarre to me because although I LOVE Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, I think the song is just OK.

Do you adjust your music to fit the crowd? How?

Of course! If I'm taking a direction they are not feeling, I will transition into another direction.

For example, if I'm playing Electro and I get the vibe that they are not feeling it, I will transition to a more circuit style house or maybe a more progressive set.

What is the funniest thing you have seen on the dance floor?

Drag queens fighting! Best wig snatching I've ever seen!

What is the most scandalous thing you have witnessed while spinning?

Hmmm ... I've seen some pretty scandalous stuff over the years. Drugs, sex, people I know personally who where in a relationship making out with someone who wasn't their partner.

You can pretty much call me Big Brother with the bird's-eye-view I have from the booth. LOL.

Which venue or party was your favorite?

One of my favorite gigs that I've ever done was opening for Tony Moran at On Broadway a few years back. Besides it being an honor since Tony is one of my DJ/producer idols ... I just felt like I had one of my best sets ever that night.

What do you love most about being a DJ?

I've always been a creative/music minded person. I've studied music in its many forms since I was a little kid, so being a DJ allows me to express myself creatively through music. There really isn't a way to describe the feeling it gives you.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?

Don't try to cheat your way into it!! Meaning - don't go buying software for your computer that does the beat-matching for you and try to call yourself a DJ. Buy some turntables or a couple of CDJ's and practice, practice, practice!

Just like anything else, if you try to shortcut your way into a profession that is based on skill and talent, without really paying your dues by learning the craft, the audience will notice and you will fail.

What song best describes you and why?

Beethoven's 5th Symphony, because it doesn't have any words. Get it?! No words to describe me!! LOL!!

Do you have a web site, and if so, what is the address?

I have a blog called Sound Off Music Blog. It's a lot of fun. I discuss the latest in pop/dance music. It can get pretty controversial on there, since I am often known for speaking my mind, even when it doesn't conform to the opinion of the majority!

Definitely check it out: mosuniverse.com/blogs/taj.

If you would like to nominate a DJ, bartender, dancer or other local community member to be profiled, please email jim@sdpix.com