• New Mix: Uptempo Indie Gems

    Some mixes come together very easily. Others take a lot of effort. This one was a labor of love. It all came together organically, which usually for me means it takes time … a lot of time.  

    The songs and vibe on this mix are really close to my heart, and when that’s the case I try to make it perfect, often to a fault. For evidence, I have hours of mixes dying in my work-in-progress folder that’ll never see the light of day. In literal terms, the actual mix took more than ten takes and five months to complete, but it’s been on my mind a lot longer than that. 

    So where did this one start? I have no idea to be honest, but it all fits together in some way. That’s literally the story of my DJ career, too.

    Maybe it was a few months back on a painfully mundane Covid-era Saturday-night when I watched the Netflix Song Exploder episode about “When You Were Young,” the in-your-face anthem from The Killers’ sophomore album Sam’s Town? I loved how the band acknowledged the Springsteen-esque breakdown in the middle of the song. I never considered a bridge between the Boss and Brandon Flowers before. What a beautiful connection to make, and discovering those levels of synchronicity are why I love to DJ. I want to open those pathways and share them. 

    Maybe it was 15 years ago when I first heard Arcade Fire? I was crashing on my buddy’s couch in college. He had the original Coachella DVD where the Canadian indie-rock icons played an impassioned take of “Rebellion (Lies).” I loved how exposed and polished the band seemed at the same time. There’s a fine line between the two, and somehow they navigate it with equal parts brute force and finesse. 

    Maybe it was the first time I tuned the radio dial to 88.9 WERS? I was heavy on this station from 2009-2012 (and still am to some extent today). It was the first place I heard a lot of fun bands I still love: Foster the People, The Temper Trap, M83, Tegan and Sara, Miike Snow, Phoenix and the ilk. Guess what? They all find a home on this mix. 

    Maybe it was the time I heard my good friend and DJ colleague Ryan Brown play “Hello” by Martin Sloveig and Dragonette at Loco on a Southie Sunday? I’d like to act like I didn’t Shazam that song at the moment (I should’ve already known it). That song hits on another level when the vibe is right. I immediately added that one to the crates. Thanks RB for that gem. 

    Maybe it was the time I learned about DJ AM and the Banana Split party? I’m bummed I missed out on the era when DJs could play Justice and Duck Sauce at peak hour. These days, if I can get away with playing three records in this vein in a four-hour night of sleepy hip hop I’m a happy DJ. 

    This mix is called “Moving Out.” I recently moved out of my home of nearly a decade, which in my adult life was the longest I’ve lived in one spot. When I first moved in, I wasn’t a DJ. I didn’t own a set of turntables. It’s amazing how things just seem to happen when you’re driven by the music.

    I always tell people I became a DJ by accident. The more I think about it, that’s not right. I’ve always been listening and sharing my love for music with the people who mean a lot to me … and now that it’s become my career, I share it with complete strangers, too. It’s a beautiful thing. 

    When I look at it that way, it’s no accident that I became a DJ. 

    Full Tracklist:

    “Rebellion (Lies)” – The Arcade Fire
    “When You Were Young” – The Killers
    “Shooting Stars” – Bag Raiders
    “Praise You” – Purple Disco Machine (J-Wall Rework)
    “Crave You” – Flight Facilities
    “Animal” (Treasure Fingers RMX) – Miike Snow
    “Sweet Disposition” (Morgan Page RMX) – The Temper Trap
    “Don’t Stop” (Oliver Remix) – Foster The People
    “Midnight City” (Alcala RMX) – M83
    “Half Mast” (Slight Return) – Empire Of The Sun
    “Tony The Beat” (Tommie Sunshine’s Brooklyn Fire Remix) – The Sounds
    “Body Funk” – (Dom Dolla RMX / YXES Hype Bootleg) – Purple Disco Machine
    “The Party” (LA Riots Remix) Justice feat. Uffie
    “We Are Your Friends” (Scottie B, King Tutt, and Samir Remix) – Justice vs. Simian
    “Closer” (The Knocks RMX) – Tegan & Sara
    “1901” (Mike Balance Re-Rub) – Phoenix
    “Hello” – Martin Solveig ft Dragonette
    “Smiley Face” – Duck Sauce”Ain’t Nuthin But a Party” (Nick Bike Quick Hitter) – Swivel Hips
    “You Don’t Know Me” (J. Casablanca Remix) – Armand Van Helden ft Duane Harden
    “Help I’m Alive” (The Twelves RMX) – Metric
    “Expressing What Matters” – Disclosure
    “When Doves Cry x Body Funk” (Dom de Sousa Bootleg) – Prince vs Purple Disco Machine
    “Tonite” – LCD Soundsystem
    “The Hand That Feeds” (DFA Remix) – Nine Inch Nails
    “Digital Love” (Boris Dlugosh Remix) – Daft Punk
    “Work It Out” – A-Trak
    “Home” – LCD Soundsystem
    “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (Break) – Crosby Stills Nash & Young vs. Four Color Zack
    Uptight Maggie (Bootleg) Stevie Wonder vs Rod Stewart
    “Easy (Like Sunday Mornings)” – The Commodores

  • Live at Home Mix Series

    There aren’t any dance floors to play music for at the moment, but I still have the desire to mix records together. That’s something you can never take away from me! So here are a bunch of mixes I’ve put out since the Covid-19 lockdown hit us. I’ll keep adding to this page!

  • Live Streaming Links

    I’ll be regularly streaming DJ sets during the Covid-19 lockdown via my Twitch, Facebook, and Instagram Live accounts. The most dependable platform to catch me on is Twitch, and my channel is embedded in the player below.

    Somehow live-streaming DJ sets in the year 2020 isn’t as straight-forward as it should be. Facebook and Instagram have incredible reach, but as a regular everyday working DJ it’s tough to beat the copyright algorithms to avoid getting shut down. I’m still working through the kinks, but for the time being Twitch will be my streaming platform of choice.

    I’ve been hearing reports that Mixcloud has just launched a solid platform, so I’ll be checking that out too.

    Stay safe and stay home!

    Watch live video from DJJWall on www.twitch.tv

  • DJ J-WALL at Boston Calling 2020!

    I am excited to announce that I’ll be DJing on Saturday afternoon (May 23) at the Boston Calling Music Festival. My set will be from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM on the arena stage, which will be a roller disco vibe.

    If you told my 16-year-old self that my name would be on the same festival poster on the same day as Rage Against the Machine, I would have said you’re f-ing crazy. Well, here we are.

    The lineup is full of heavy hitters (Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run The Jewels, The 1975, Liam Gallagher, and dozens more). I am also really excited for the strong representation from the local DJ community. DJ Frank White, Ryan Brown, Knife, Joshua Carl, 7L, Yvg Pavl/Big Bear and a handful of other working DJs will also be playing sets in the arena.

    As a working DJ, it is an honor to get a chance to play alongside a bunch of DJs I respect on a lineup of amazing bands, many of which I’ve been listening to since I’ve been a kid.

    For more info and ticket packages, check out Boston Calling’s Page on Front Gate Tickets.

  • New Year, New Mix, Nu Disco: “Nu Mix, Who Dis?”

    Here are some of my favorite Indie Dance and Nu Disco remixes, covers, edits, and originals mixed in with some classics. Usually this is the type of vibe I love to lay down when given free reign to play anything. This mix was actually recorded live during the first hour from a recent open-format set I did at Brass Union.

    As a working DJ, moments like this can be few and far between, so I am very happy that I hit the record button.

    Full track list to come soon. Please DM me if you’d like a downloadable version.

  • Working DJ Update: Three years since going full time…

    August 13, 2016 … That was the day I left my bartending job to pursue DJing full time. More than three years later, I am happy to say I am still at it and business is steadily growing.

    It’s been a grind, even when times are good … especially when times are good. The working DJ life doesn’t stop. I check my email every two minutes. If you contact me about a gig I’ll respond right away, even if I’m at the gym or trying to take a nap. And social media … um, let’s table that discussion for another day because it’s a full-time job in its own right. I knew all of this going in, and there’s no time to complain. I probably could use a vacation, but even when I’m on vacation I try to seek out the DJs in that area.

    At this point it’s safe to say I wasn’t cut out for the 9 to 5 lifestyle. And that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t know what to do with all of that free time anyway.

    A mix of patience and persistence has served me the most. There’s no substitute for real experience, and that just doesn’t happen overnight as a DJ. Yeah, you can sit at home and practice for hours, but how do you learn how to turn on a dime when the crowd isn’t feeling your set? I’ve fallen on my face more times than I can count, and I’m sure I will again soon, but that’s just part of the thrill of it. I have butterflies in my stomach as I think about it. Some of my biggest milestones as a DJ have been how I’ve recovered from a “bad” set, an “off” moment, or a “weird” vibe. They are tough to swallow, but each one has made me ten times better.

    Of course some nights are effortless. When everything is going right, my mind is totally clear and new pathways open up. I can somehow be thinking both in the moment and ten steps ahead. Four hours will just melt away like that.

    It’s a beautiful thing to take a room on a journey and have them follow willingly. This makes all of the other noise that comes with the job totally worth it. After nights like this I may even drive home in silence.

    I once heard a famous DJ say if you haven’t totally freaked out at some point, then you’re not working hard enough. I continue to push beyond my point of comfort. My goal with each new challenge is to be stronger for the next one. What’s amazing about this life, is you never know what opportunity could come tomorrow.

    I want to be ready for anything.

  • Working DJ Blog: Where do I get my music?

    People often ask me how many songs I have in my library. Honestly I couldn’t tell you an exact number, but I’m guessing it’s somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 individual tracks. I know it adds up to roughly 150 GB of hard drive space on my Mac. Compared to other working DJs this number is probably low. When I first started out, I gigged with roughly 77,000 songs on an external hard drive, which actually proved to be more troublesome than I originally thought it’d be. Too many options sometimes can be a limiting factor to creativity.  It’s not about having a ton of records, it’s about having the right ones and knowing the right time to play them. You also need to know where to find them in the dredges of Serato (more on that another time).

    My music library is a living, breathing thing. I’m constantly grabbing new tracks, edits, and remixes, but I’m also purging things that don’t hold up anymore, or never really saw that light of day to begin with. There’s no need to be a music hoarder, especially in the digital age when pretty much anything can be found somewhere online. I like to keep my performance laptop as lean as possible.

    80% of the music I currently spin comes from DJ pools. For the unwashed, those are online subscription services geared toward working DJs.  These sites charge a monthly fee and you get access to unlimited downloads from their collection. My current workhorse is Direct Music Service. I couldn’t imagine being an open-format DJ in 2018 without it. It has everything you’d need for a wide variety of gigs: clubs, weddings, corporate parties, etc and is always evolving with the times. The DJs curating the selection of 50,000+ records are all highly-respected and know what works.  You can find an 8 bar intro edit of pretty much any song that’s charted for the past few decades. When I need a particular track, I go to Direct Music Service First, and more often than not they will have it.

    The Beat Junkies Music Pool has been incredibly useful too, especially for the more lounge-y gigs in my rotation. Their selection of funk, soul, boogie, and golden-era hip hop is incredible. I feel like this is the go-to pool to grab tracks that’ll impress other DJs (and educate the crowd … only when the time is right).  I also like that not every record has an intro edit. Sometimes tracks are made to “slam in” on the one as is, especially those harder hip-hop joints.

    I’ve dabbled with other pools over the years. I was big on DJ City for a while, which is one of the most popular options amongst club DJs. I got great use out of it for a few months, but eventually found the edits/selection to be a little too aggressive for the types of gigs I usually do. If I had a need for more 128 BPM Big Room tracks, I’d get back on there for sure.

    When I want to get a  little more out there I check Soundcloud, usually with the help of a chart site like Hype Edit. This takes a lot more time and sorting, but it’s always worth it. Some of my best gems come from here (like this one below), and I’ve learned about some incredible remix artists this way too.

    Next place I’ll check is Beatport. I feel like they are way better for house DJs, but I’ve scored some dope stuff on there, especially in the nu-disco/indie dance genres.

    The absolute last place I’ll check is iTunes. I’ve never been too pleased with the file quality/bit rate. Most sites I use are at least 320 kbps. iTunes is 256. Granted you won’t hear it on the average sound system (you may feel it and not even realize it), but on bigger systems it makes a HUGE difference. I’ve even had to throw out MP3s after playing on good systems.

    And no I don’t use any streaming services to DJ. I think there’s a common misconception that because we DJ on a laptop, we have access to any song ever recorded. Not true … everything you’re hearing is on my hard drive. The only exception would be if the person paying me demands a song not in my library and there’s no WIFI to download it. The only way to solved that problem would be the Aux Cord/iPhone combo. Thankfully I can count on one hand that amount of times I’ve needed to resort that that in the past five years (and one of those times someone called me in the middle of a track).

    Working DJs (and non DJs too), let me know what you think! Feel free to send me a message via my contact page, or DM me on my Instagram page


  • Another New Mix: Indie Summer Boogie

    Every mix comes together differently. Indie Summer Boogie organically came to life as a continuation of the Sunday Vibes mix I dropped last month. On that one I left off in the 98 BPM boogie world after climbing from 74 BPM over the course of an hour. I figured it’d be a good point to cut because a new groove was starting to form, and I wanted a separate canvas to let it all marinate. Less two days after recording Sunday Vibes, I did Indie Summer in one take. I had an hour free before heading to a gig and the turntables were ready, so I hit record. After about 30 listens, I still really like what I’m hearing, so that means I should probably put it out.

    To have a sustainable career as a working DJ I need to stay on top of a lot of different formats. My favorite style is what you hear on this mix. It’s my interpretation of new meeting old. With the vastness of the internet, there are no shortage of remixes that’ll freshen up a classic and make it workable in unlikely spots. There are also remixes of new tracks that’ll totally soften that predictable pop sensibility and make it feel “cool” again.

    All of this goodness loosely fits in the category of nu-disco or indie dance, I’m told. The best part is that it brings a seemingly endless amount of genres under one umbrella. It makes it a lot easier to go from Biggie to Moby in one move without totally changing the vibe. Or Chromeo to the Rolling Stones.

    Indie Summer Boogie is currently streaming right here on my site and on Mixcloud too. If you’d like a download link, please send me a direct message!

    The full tracklist is below. I want to give a huge shoutout to all of the amazing remixers and editors. Without you my sets wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. You all are inspiring me to get working on my own edits, too.

    “Ready Or Not!/I’ve Got 5 On It” (Casual Connection Mash Up) – The Fugees

    “Stayin Alive” (Papa Skunk Remix) –  Bee Gees

    “Wild Thoughts” (Bee’s Knees Remix) – DJ Khaled ft Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

    “Sorry” (Soulboss Soulbounce Remix)  – Justin Bieber

    “Sexual Healing” (Kygo Remix) – Marvin Gaye

    “99 Red Balloons” (Nena Cover) – Oliver Nelson & Tobtok ft River

    “Sprawl II” (Soulwax Remix – VM EDIT) – Arcade Fire

    “Electrify” – Oliver

    “Natural Blues” (The Niceguys Remix) – Moby

    “Sky’s The Limit” (Rad Stereo Remix) – Notorious BIG

    “Just The Two Of Us” (Artiq Remix) – Bill Withers

    “My Cherie Amour” (Doc Adam Dub Blend) – Stevie Wonder & The Harry J Allstars

    “Dang!” (AZ DJ Melo Short Edit) – Mac Miller Ft. Anderson Paak

    “Juice”  – Chromeo

    “Miss You” (Dr Dre Remix)  – The Rolling Stones

    “Midnight City” (GRIZART DRUM REFIX) –  M83

    “Psychic City” (Classixx Remix) – Yacht

    “Hold You Tight” (Fitz Lauder Rework) – Tara Kemp

    “Weak” (Dennis Blaze 4AM Remix) – S.W.V.

    “Pleasure Principle” (Classixx Recovery Mix) – Janet Jackson

    “Careless Whisper” (DJ Pantelis Soulful Mix) – George Michael

    “Smooth Operator” – Sade

    “Dreams” (Gigamesh Edit) –  Fleetwood Mac

    “Need U”  (Skream RMX/SINcere Re-Edit) –  Duke Dumont

    “Sweet Dreams” (Jeyone Dreamin’ Edit) – Eurythmics

    “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Depeche Mode

    “Good Time” – Brazilian Girls

  • Check out Brass Union’s May DJ Schedule

    I am looking forward to another solid month of DJs at Brass Union and especially excited for DJ Knife and 7L’s Friday appearance on 5/18. It’s always on honor to be able to book my heroes.  I’ll get my shot at the controls on Saturday the 12th, and Brass is always one of my favorite places to spin. The crowd is way more open-minded that most spots, which allows me to weave in and out of unexpected genres (like ’90s alt rock) without loosing the room. The last few sets I’ve done here have been wild … and I expect nothing less this time around. As always there’s never a cover.


    Brass DJ Poster may 18


  • Gig Update: Welcome to the Blenderdome

    The fine folks at Thirst Boston know how throw a damn good party. The cocktail festival, which takes place over the last weekend in April, celebrates all things stirred, shaken, and blended. The day is all about education: there are dozens of seminars centered on various cocktail trends. Year’s ago I attended a seminar on the relationship between music and the history of the cocktail taught by the legend Brother Cleve. I took way more notes there than most of my senior year of college combined. I hope to make it out to a couple of classes this weekend.

    I’m beyond excited to be DJing the official closing party, the Blender Bender, for the third straight year. This is a double bonus for me. Not only do I get to see a ton of awesome bartenders (including a lot of old friends) get down with some friendly competition, I also get to spin pretty much whatever I want at one of Boston’s best clubs, Whisky Saigon. I’m like a kid in a candy shop when I get to work a sound system like this. I love how you can not only hear, but feel even the slightest adjustments in EQ.

    Each year the Thirst crew concocts a fun theme for the night. This year it’s Welcome to the Blenderdome, which is all about Mad Max. I have my Tina Turner prepped and ready. Costumes are encouraged. It WILL get weird.

    On the bar side of things, twelve teams of three bartenders compete to make the best blended drink. The audience votes for the winner. Tickets $65 and include samples of competition drinks and snacks. Beer will be available for purchase and proceeds will be donated to charity. Click here for more info.

    THE THIRST BOSTON BLENDER BENDER – Sunday, April 29 – 8 PM to 11 PM – Whisky Saigon (Boston, MA)