Jumaine “MaineEvent” Brown – Interview – A Hot Minute
Written by Staff on February 3, 2024
Jumaine “MaineEvent” Brown – Interview – A Hot Minute – by Liam Sweeny.
RRX: A good DJ is a good mix. A good DJ can bend time and sound like no other. And it’s not just for the art of it; it has to move people. How did you get into DJing? Was it following a music you grew up with, or did you come up on it by accident?
JB: The first time I really paid attention to DJing was my junior year in high school. I had mentors, who were like big brothers that were going to school at SUNY-Albany now known as UAlbany. One of them was J-Live, another one was Brian aka Maye who now works at Green Tech Charter School, and there were a few others, They stayed on the 21st Floor of Dutch Tower on Dutch Quad. They were known as the “21st Floor Snipers” but we’ll leave that there. LOL. That’s my first memory of wanting to DJ, watching J-Live show me how he made “Braggin’ Writes” On his turntables. Then fast forward decades later in 2018 when DJ Trumaster randomly asks me to do a set at his birthday party at Lost and Found, I didn’t even have my own equipment, but I said yes. I did a 20 minute set that had great songs, but poor execution. It was after that night I decided to get serious, and I’ve been doing my thing ever since.
RRX: I wrote a story about a drum break that’s been sampled 4,500 times – the “Amen Break” sampled from the Cliftons. So there are popular samples out there, some even foundational to a good mix. Can you name a sample you feel is foundational and why?
JB: “Impeach The President” is the first that comes to mind, but the most foundational would probably be James Brown “Funky Drummer.” It is probably one of the most sampled breakbeats and most of our favorite songs that introduced us to hip hop use that sample in some form or fashion.
RRX: DJing is live music, but a lot of people only consider “instrument” music as live. There’s so much preparation that goes into mixes, it must be hard to have people just think your spinning records, so-to-speak. Take us through a mix from that first idea?
JB: For me the mix starts by paying attention to what is in front of you. Who is the audience in your crowd, where are they, what is the environment and energy of the room, is that energy solely relying on the records you’re going to play, or is there already something present. Then you need to pay attention to the music, what’s the bpm, the key, what’s the vibe of the song you’re about to play, then the next song to follow how does it match up? Are there words that match up, beat’s that match up, vibe of the song that match up. Is it a song that’s popular, or classic or brand new but makes sense. How can you communicate to the audience in front of you what journey you’re about to take them on? It’s a mental and physical activity that involves a lot of attention to detail. But it also involves a lot of prep work and practice before even being booked. Just like playing a traditional instrument. The difference is that you are composing more than one instrument and a lot more than one song in a live setting where anything can happen, Real authentic DJ’s aren’t just pushing buttons. They are creating an experience.
RRX: DJs rock parties. It’s a very social thing. It’s dance music, meant to get in people and move their bones. Music, in a band, might be appreciated differently, as a thing to analyze. Do you think people can appreciate a DJ in the same way as, say, a rock band?
JB: People appreciate effort, that is skilled and thoughtful. DJ’s are the soundtrack to someone’s memorable night. Are you going to be the DJ that was trash, or the DJ that saved someone’s life that night they decided to go out and party. When you create experiences that align with people in amazing ways, you will always get recognition and appreciation. It will be authentic and extensive. I am someone’s favorite DJ, I’ve been told that often and I don’t take it for granted.
RRX: People who want to become DJs have to learn a whole bunch about a whole bunch. Mixers, audio programs, turntables. And the tech changes every year. So, someone’s starting out. What gear would you recommend tried and true?
JB: Pioneer DJ has been the standard since they created the CDJ player. They have created equipment for all levels that has literally stayed true to their name and pioneered a whole new industry. I believe that they are rebranding as Alpha Theta this year after merging with Serato, so the products they produce would be a great place to start.
RRX: I like stories. I believe that’s all any of us have that are of value. As a DJ, you’ve rocked parties, and you’ve probably been in the presence of some crazy stuff. Can you give us one story that’ll make me want to become a DJ?
JB: Being a DJ, people allow YOU to control how their night is going to go. You are the narrator to their memory that is being created right before you. The music you play can inspire, seduce, motivate actions that can mean the world to someone for that moment. I DJ’d someone’s daughter sweet 16. The age range varied from 2years old to 77 years old. I played music from the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, early 2000’s, up until present day. The dance floor was never empty and everyone that was there had a great time and let me know that I was the reason for it. That’s when I knew I made the right choice. I started at an older age than most, but I have been having the time of my life now that I am a certified professional DJ, getting paid to do something I’m passionate about and love. It feels amazing and keeps me young. Best profession I’ve ever had.