Phind out Phriday: Earl McClary or "DJ Ricochet"
My day was just about finished. The last thing I had to do was self indulge in some gelato at, yup you guessed it, Capogiro, and interview one of the city’s best DJ, DJ Ricochet.
I hadn’t talked to him in over a year, but when I sent a message via facebook he was cool about giving me an interview. He asked for my email which I sent and ten I got an email from someone else-his publicist.
“Dang,” I thought to myself. It’s too late. I mean I knew he was good after experiencing his skills at a close friend’s wedding last summer. But now he must have been extra good, blew up all willy nilly, and I was working with his publicist.
After a couple of email exchanges and texts, his cool and competent (I do not take that combination for granted) publicist and I confirmed a date.
They arrived just on time, slid into the seats at the table I was sitting at which was not too far from the entrance.
Before I started the interview the DJ had a question or me.
“How’d you find me?”
“Easy, after you did the wedding last year I looked you up on facebook and asked to be your friend.”
He looked a little surprised.
“Besides, your DJ Ricochet everyone is supposed to know who you are and want to be your friend.”
The three of us laughed and then the interview began.
Phreedum: So how did you come up with the name “Ricochet?”
DJR: Well when I was 18 I was looking for a DJ name. e and my cousin were in the basement and looking at all of these movie titles to maybe try to come up with something. And there was this movie with Denzel Washington named Ricochet. And so I’ve been Ricochet ever since. And it rhymes.
Phreedum: Who are you in five words?
DJR: The best DJ in Philly. And, you know I don’t just DJ in Philly. I’ll go anywhere.
Phreedum: Cool. Where else have you gone?
DJR: Jersey, New York, and Delaware.
Phreedum: How long have you been a DJ?
DJR: It will be 16 years in August. I started when I was 10.
Phreedum: Word on the street is you have something new that you’re doing starting first Fridays in August.
He adjusts his cap and smiles.
DJR: Well, you can’t take over the city alone. You need a team. And I’ve learned you have to be multidimensional. 8.5.11 is me taking a leadership role but working with a team to bring something new and different to the city. This is me doing more behind the scenes stuff and some promoter work. I don’t always DJ.
Phreedum: Will you be the DJ at this event?
DJR: Oh yeah. And for more information people should just follow @8five11 on twitter.com
Phreedum: What is most fulfilling about the work you do?
DJR: I get to travel and meet a lot of people. I get paid for doing something I enjoy. I’ve been a DJ full time for 2 years now. I’m blessed.
Phreedum: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work?
DJR: Staying humble and keeping your cool. In the entertainment industry you have a good number of people who are out for themselves. I’ve provided my services and been stiffed a couple times. I’ve been talked about. So it’s important to keep my cool. She (nodding in the direction of his publicist) reminds me that I have an overall image I want to maintain so I have to keep my cool.
Phreedum: What’s the biggest misconception about DJs?
DJR: That they’re DJs. Most DJs can’t dj. It’s very annoying. I hate that. It’s more than equipment, it’s skill.
Phreedum: Tell me about your first gig.
It takes a minute.
DJR: Okay how about I tell you about the first one I vividly remember?
Phreedum: Cool. Go ahead.
DJR: Well, I mean I know I said I started at 10 and I did, but at 10 people don’t really acknowledge you as a DJ. When I was 17, I was the DJ for the faculty/student basketball game at my high school. I took it seriously.
Phreedum: Who in your profession do you look up…..
DJR: Jazzy Jeff
Phreedum: Dang I didn’t even finish the question.
The three of us laugh.
Phreedum: Okay,well why do you look up to Jazzy Jeff?
DJR: He’s the best to ever do it. He makes people respect our profession. You say his name and you know it’s good. I want to get to his level. And even when I do that I know I won’t really be at his level because he will always be that great. He gives 110% every time. I’m always amazed at all of his shows that I go to.
Phreedum: Who has been influential in allowing you to phreely pursue your dreams?
DJR: Me. I’m all I have. My family isn’t big and I’ve always been a loner. I stay in my lane. I think that’s what helps me to stay grounded and focused.
Phreedum: What’s one piece of advice you would give the you of ten years ago?
DJR: Stop spending money on stupid stiff. I used to spend money on stupid stuff.
DJR: I used to spend money just for the sake of spending money cause I had it, that’s what I mean. I didn’t need a lot of the stuff I would buy.
Phreedum: How does the work you do change the lives of others?
DJR: I you come to an event and I’m the DJ, you’re mine. I want you to forget all the stress and be carefree and present. I change people’ lives the same way music does. I relate, but then I get to bring the joy and help people feel lighter, at least while they’re at my event.
Phreedum: What’s one thing about you most people don’t know?
DJR: I hate crowds.
Pause while I pick my jaw up off the blue linoleum floor.
DJR: I know right. But I do. I hate crowds. I’m very private. I’m a Taurus, but I was born on the last day of the Taurus and right before the Gemini. Now, I’m not saying I’m two faced. But, Rocochet is the public out there all eyes on me. Earl (birth name) is private, quiet, stay to myself. I actually stay in thet house a lot.
Phreedum: How would your publicist describe you in one word?
I look to her and she smiles and nods in agreement.
Phreedum: Where do you see your company in 5 years?
DJR: Worldwide. I’ve been doing Philly too long. In Philly it’s like crabs in a barrel so it’s challenging. But I do see myself being worldwide.
Phreedum: If your company/brand was a sport what sport would it be?
Publicist: I think you stumped him.
DJR: Well I don’t want to say like football and basketball. I was thinking Archery. Well you know I don’t know if there is a sport. As a DJ you have to give more than 100% every time. You are only as good as your last song. If I’m doing an event and it’s from 10pm to 2am and 10pm to 1am is great but 1am-2am is not, then when people leave they are going to remember the last hour and be like the DJ was alright or he was whack. So when I DJ I want people dancing out of the event and wanting more. I don’t know any sports like that. So I guess that sport has yet to be invented.
If you want to know more about DJ Ricochet or have your own DJ Ricochet experience then be sure to follow him on twitter @DJRicochet03 or on Facebook www.facebook.com/Ricochet03