• New Role: High Street Place Music Director

    This one has been a long-time coming. I’m beyond excited to serve as the music director for the new High Street Place Food Hall in downtown Boston. I first started to work with the team in mid-2019 to prep for the original opening date planned for March 2020. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

    Almost two years later to the date, we finally opened on March 2, 2022 … and it was glorious. The architecture of the space alone is stunning, and the collection of restaurant and beverage partners is a true representation of local talent in the hospitality industry. It’s a family vibe amongst the staff and management, and I have no doubt that translates to the guest experience.

    High Street Place is in incredible canvas to work with as I build out its musical identity. There’s A LOT of energy and constant movement in the space, and that’s always changing throughout the arc of the day. Whether I’m programming a playlist, DJing, or bringing in other DJs or live acts, I’m always thinking of how well it pairs with the overall atmosphere of the space.

    Generally we have DJs 6 to 10 PM Thursday through Saturday and live music on Saturday afternoons.

    Also be sure to follow my DJ J-WALL Spotify account to have access to dozens of the playlists I’ve made for various parts of the day/week at High Street. They range from Lo-Fi and Chill to nuDisco and House. Here’s one of my favorite playlists so far: it’s a new soulful vibe that works nicely in the late morning and mid afternoon just before the lunch and dinner rushes.

  • New Year’s Eve Plans Confirmed: Vera’s (formerly Brass Union)

    It seems like a lifetime since I’ve DJed a New Year’s Eve party. Actually, it was 2019 at Brass Union with my pal DJ ABD. So it’s fitting that I’ll return to the same room this year for the holiday. And, it’ll be the first time they’ve had a DJ since the space transitioned to Vera’s earlier this year. It goes without saying, it’s an honor to be back, especially on such a big night.

    Over the past decade, Brass Union – and when it was Precinct before – has been one of the most important venues in the city for me, both professionally and personally. When it was Precinct, I just started to cut my teeth in the local music scene and was going out regularly to their shows, as well as booking my own. The Sea Monsters residency on Sundays was world class. If you know, you really know.

    Then when ownership refreshed the space into Brass Union in 2014, and did an impressive renovation that included a beautiful DJ booth, I got the call to book the music. This was an amazing platform as I was just starting to take my own DJing seriously. I began to see it as a possible career path rather than just a creative outlet for nights off from my regular gig managing a bar down the street.

    Brass was a space where I could really expand my horizons into the local DJ scene, and even beyond. I worked with so many talented DJs and formed lasting relationships with a lot of them. It’s an amazing feeling to go from “fan” to “friend” and “peer.”

    We also hosted ten Music Vs. Cancer fundraisers at Precinct/Brass and raised a ton of money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, all while celebrating my mother running the Boston Marathon for the Dana Farber team each year. It was like the unofficial Wallace-family festival. So many generous donors helped my mom raise more than $150,000 for cancer research.

    And speaking of family, I met my amazing wife Ashley while she was managing/bartending at Precinct more than 10 years ago. We even had our wedding after party at Brass Union in 2016!

    Every time I’d DJ at Brass Union, and Precinct before that, I felt like I was sharing more of myself than nearly any other venue I play at. (The Druid is in that class too!) That’s because I’m at home in the space, thanks to all of the memories and friendly faces over the years.

    I’ve missed this feeling considerably over the past two years and cannot wait to add to that history on this next chapter with Vera’s.

    12/31/2021 – Doors are at 9:30 PM. Music is from 10 PM to 2 AM. Tickets are $25 and include a champagne toast at midnight.

    Be sure to grab your tickets in advance on Eventbrite.

  • New DJ Video: An ’80s quick mix

    I made this DJ video for Instagram for gig promo, but I also wanted to post it here! This run of songs always goes over well, especially at weddings. Also those are prints by Mike Spencer in the background.

    You’ll notice I’m not using turntables either. Although I still prefer to play on turntables with Serato control vinyl, I’ve been using a controller more and more for mobile gigs because I’ve finally found one I like. This model, the Pioneer DDJ1000SRT has been amazing. It took the lockdown months during the worst of COVID to finally get comfortable with the workflow on this thing. It also has made me significantly better on CDJs too, as the feel is similar. My back also appreciates that it’s only 13 lbs. and can be transported in a backpack!

    Stay tuned for more videos and mixes.

  • 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