Chicago’s Stephan Steciw, a.k.a. DJ Scend, grew up surrounded with many musical influences. His father is a musician and introduced him to instruments at an early age. His own style of DJing covers hip-hop and house, both old and new, while still maintaining a unique Chicago beat. Thanks to social networking sites and CRB Radio (Chitown Record Bangers), DJ Scend is able to quickly get his music out to his fans. Chitown Record Bangers Radio is a big part of DJ Scend’s musical career. He mixes there every Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm and fans can listen live to DJ Scend mix a dope fresh style of the old with the new. He smoothly mixes in ol’ school hits like 2Pac’s, I get around, with recent tracks from today’s artists like Kanye West. He can be seen spinning live at Sopo Lounge (3418 N. Southport Ave.), Junior’s (2058 W. Cermak Rd.), Bon-V (1100 W. Randolph St.) and many other Chicago nightclubs. DJ Scend’s hip-house mixes truly represent the Chicago urban music scene. DJ Scend took some time out to talk to me about CRB Radio and his other ventures, and here’s what he had to say:
How did you get into your DJ career?
I got into music at the age of 5. I started on the piano and then moved to guitar. When I turned 18, I bought my first set of turntables. My father is a musician and I grew up around a studio environment, so it was easy for me to choose music as my ultimate career goal.
Getting started in the music business can be challenging. How did you attain exposure and new fans?
A lot of my recent exposure has come from my weekly mixshow that I host and run for CRB Radio (www.crbradio.com). CRB stands for Chitown Record Bangers, and our goal as musicians is to give people a constant stream of music that is different and also familiar.
I do a lot of self promotion as well. I’m constantly on Twitter and Facebook doing the geeky internet ‘thing’ with posting mixes and recordings of my radio mixshow to help get my sound out there. I also do street work when I can, as far as putting up posters and flyers and just trying to support events whenever I can.
I imagine it is a rush being in front of a crowd. What is it you like most about your DJ career?
The biggest thing I love about being a DJ is when someone approaches me at the end of the night at the end of my set and says “I want to thank you for helping me forget everything tonight. Your set made me appreciate music all over again.” That right there is the biggest payout I can ask for. I’ve gotten that [reaction] numerous times and that’s what keeps pushing me to stay on top of my own game. No money can compare.
That’s great. How do you contribute to music and the community?
I would like to think that I contribute to music by helping expose some styles and genres of music that most might not be used to hearing. I like to play all types of music and like to ‘break records’ whenever I have the chance to do so…I try to involve myself in local art shows to help bring the community together under the umbrella of music.
This style of music is rapidly gaining a large fan following. What advice do you have for newcomers who are faced with the choice of getting a degree or following their passions? Does getting an education fit in your musical career?
Since I never finished college, the biggest positive I gained from school was meeting all the different people. In the end, all those different people end up choosing different career paths that somehow, [in] someway [I get lucky and they] end up coming back [in my life] with something I can network with –whether it’s [with] a designer, marketing director, or another musician, we all find a way to trade each other’s skills to benefit and support one another.
Did the time you spent in school help out with your career choice?
School can definitely help out from a business standpoint. Every artist needs to be business savvy because we are all marketing ourselves on a constant basis. School may not be able to teach you creativity or artistic integrity, but it can definitely help you out with how to approach the music industry as a whole.
What influenced you to choose the style of music you work with?
I started as a hip-hop DJ. I only played underground and old school hip-hop. I started realizing that to make a name and gain exposure; I would need to play other styles of hip-hop. I started getting into more of the radio music and mixing that up with underground.
I then got into the house music scene heavily. A lot of people I work with currently [had] met me as a ‘house’ DJ. I started trying to bridge the gap for myself by learning to mix both genres. After being given my own mix show for CRB Radio, almost 2 years ago, I was almost forced to constantly keep a fresh style and sound. It helped me greatly because I would dig for all sorts of different music. To me it’s not about a genre, it’s about a sound. If it’s good, it’s good…end of story.
Are you currently working on other projects beside the weekly Mixshow on CRB Radio?
DJ Scend spins every Wednesday on CRB live, Friday’s at Sopo Lounge,
Thursdays at the Wicker Well from 9 to 2, and Saturdays at Tini Martini’s main room.
For the 411 on upcoming events for DJ Scend, check these sites out: