Cadillac Jack has performed in New York City, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston and Philly performing with notable hip-hop artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Wu-Tang Clan, Elephant Man, The LOX, The Clipse and The Game. In addition to his US fan base, Cadillac Jack has performed on a series of international tours and festivals with P. Lowe and other well known international artists. He was a DJ at Strela Festival in Cape Verde (island country located off the coast of West Africa), Portugal and Kizomba Swimming Festival in Paris, France.

Now, DJ Cadillac Jack is prepping for his next performance in New York City on December 3rd, Center Stage NYC part 2! I got the chance to interview him about his preparation for the event, in which he’ll be partnered with Power 105.1’s DJ Envy of the infamous Breakfast Club morning show. In the interview, DJ Cadi Jack gives sound advice to upcoming musicians breaking into the music industry, as well as sharing some of his own stories from when he was a budding disc jockey. Get into it below!

Harley Quinn (HQ): Thanks for taking the time to sit with DTS! We can’t to hear what you have planned for us at Center Stage. Are you excited for the event?

DJ Cadillac Jack (CJ): It’s no problem at all, and thank you! Yes, I’m very excited for Center Stage, it’s going to be even better than last year!

HQ: I downloaded your Afro House mix from your Soundcloud. I DJ at a skating rink, and my customers love a couple of the songs on that mix. Can you talk about your inspirations for making a mix like that?

CJ: Really? That’s dope, thank you! You know, I love music, and just over the years I’ve wanted to show my versatility as a DJ and expand myself. My experience in Cape Verde really inspired the house mix.

HQ: What’s it like to go from a DJ to a producer? A lot of producers get their start as DJs, so what has that experience been like for you?

CJ: You’re right, producers and DJs go hand-in-hand. DJs know what people want to hear. Producing came shortly after I was established as a DJ, but I’d always wanted to make music. Eventually I bought an MPC 2000, which is considered pretty classic or outdated now. I’m always looking for the best remixes I can make.

HQ: So getting back to Center Stage, how do you prepare for big events and showcases like this? Can we expect more music like what we’ve heard on Soundcloud?

CJ: Definitely! I love to practice. Getting the studio and rehearsing is very important to me. I get to explore just how I want to entertain the crowd.

HQ: Every DJ has their own way of practicing. How do you prepare for a specific set? Do you write down your mixes or just feel the vibe when you perform?

CJ: Both, actually. I like to record a set ahead of time and try out some creative things for myself. When it’s show time, I perform the set I put together, but as a DJ you just feel it and pay attention to what the audience likes.

HQ: What do you listen to before you perform a set? Do you listen to yourself at all?

CJ: It depends. Sometimes I like to play some old-school, afro house, techno, just something really high energy. I don’t really listen to myself. I like to hear other people’s mixes, too.

HQ: That’s cool, what other DJs/producers are you into?

CJ: I’m really into Diplo, DJ Mustard, and of course the greats; DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, and Swizz [Beats]

HQ: Do you have have any embarrassing DJ stories? I know sometimes things happen to us DJs that we just can’t control.

CJ: [laughs] I have a few actually, just trying to think of which one I should tell you. [pauses] It was a college gig I had at Harvard. It was packed; everyone was having a great time, I was having a great time! I had like 1 hour left when the speakers blew. It was embarrassing & nerve-wracking, but there was nothing I could do. The party was over, but everyone was pretty nice about it. [laughs] I’m just glad nobody booed!

HQ: Aw man. So exactly how long have you been DJ’ing?

CJ: For 16 years.

HQ: Dope, so you’ve been around! Could you give us 5 tips for a nervous or upcoming DJ?

CJ: Sure

  1. For one thing, make sure your equipment is in good shape! [laughs] Make sure you have all your extra wires, plugs, everything.
  2. Have people that can help you. Whether it’s setup, security, have some people you can trust.
  3. Keep calm and just do your best
  4. Make sure you have a good manager that can handle your business for you.
  5. Have fun & be original!

HQ: What was your first gig?

CJ: My cousin’s 18th birthday party [laughs]. I had a crate, just one crate, of music. I did a horrible job, haha.

HQ: I’m sure it wasn’t that bad! Did they tell you you did a bad job, or do you think you messed up?

CJ: I felt bad. I was still learning, really. I’m a hard critic [on myself], so if I think it was bad, I’ll be the first one to say it.

HQ: What’s one thing a DJ should NEVER do?

CJ: Play a pre-recorded mix at a live show. Live shows should be done live.

HQ: What’s one song you would NEVER play? Like no matter who requested it, you would never play it?

CJ: “Can’t Trust Thots”. I just think it’s annoying.

HQ: I’ll have to look that one up, haha! So to wrap up, are there any upcoming collabs or projects we can look forward to?

CJ: In 2015, I’ll be dropping my first official single & video! I have a few more things up my sleeve, but I’m not sure exactly what else I want to release next.

HQ: Well, we’ll definitely be on the lookout for your single! Any final words on Center Stage 2?

CJ: You know, a lot of people support Center Stage. We want to help artists showcase their talents, and we’re really hoping for a huge turnout & we want to see everyone there!