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To cap off our monthly favorites for the year is budding DJ/entrepreneur, DJ Andrew Kent.

I was first hipped to 20-year-old DJ Andrew Kent (affectionately known to me as Andy Kent) at the top of 2015 via Twitter when I was there saw a new DJ taking over the Philly underground scene in a major way on a number of concert flyers. Since then, I’ve taken it upon myself to watch the rise of the young Newtown, PA transplant during his formative years in the city at Temple University, and the fruits have been plenty, if I may say so myself.

This month’s favorite is particularly special to DJ Damage and I, being that the DJ world is always in need of fresh talent, and currently, there’s no one at such a young age in the city doing it better.

Already leaving his mark at venues popular with Philly‘s ever-changing indie scene like Voltage Lounge, sharing the bill with legendary acts like Xavier Wulf, and showing his face (and skills) at REC Philly‘s Underground POV series, DJ Andrew Kent is quickly showing us how he blends his talents on the decks with his innovative business sense.

HarleyQuinn_NJ

DTS MEDIA: Who is DJ Andrew Kent?
DJ Andrew Kent (DJAK): DJ Andrew Kent is a 20-year-old DJ from Newtown, Pennsylvania. I am blessed to be able to DJ full time and am currently a Media Studies and Production major at Temple University. My image is that of a film noir villain. I dress in all black, wear leather jackets and slick my hair back. I have an infatuation with the aesthetic and fashion of the 50s and 60s so that is where I have developed my image from. I also watch a ton of classic movies and draw inspiration from James Dean and Marlon Brando. I believe that I have a timeless look mixed with new school cool.

DTS MEDIA: Lots of greats come from Temple University and Philadelphia, in general. What do you bring to the table that’s new, fresh, and different?
DJAK: I believe that Temple really is “DJ University” because of all the talent that has come from this school, the most notable is DJ Damage who really paved the way with the way. Especially with the ways he performs and his ability to market himself. It is an honor to carry his torch. What makes me different from the other DJs that are at Temple now is that I was already well established in the scene before I arrived on campus. Many DJs here have only played house parties whereas I have played clubs and bigger venues with more eclectic crowds. What works in a basement here does not work at a club. That transition is really hard for some guys and they get stuck in the purgatory that is just djing house parties for peanuts. With my prior experience, I was able to bring a refreshing sound to the scene here because of my experience playing outside of house parties.

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DTS MEDIA: How did you get into DJ’ing? What was your first gig? What was your worst gig/performance? What was your best or favorite gig/performance?
DJAK: I got into DJ’ing by working for a company that specialized in private events. Before I was allowed to touch the decks, I was a roadie and actually spent more time setting up the [main] DJ’s equipment and sound for the night than I ever did actually DJ’ing for that company. I eventually left and did my own thing. My first real gig as “DJ Andrew Kent” was an album release party for Rone on Halloween night. Rone and I went to the same high school and he was an urban legend at the Prep. Everyone watched his rap battles at lunch and it was really dope to DJ an event for him. After DJ’ing the album release he had an after party back at his spot and asked me to spin that too. I was spinning at the after party until 5 in the morning. That event really gave me the confidence to know that I can rock a party and I owe a lot to Rone for getting me into the industry.

There have been a few gigs that I did that were not the best. Events go bad when the promoter is in it for the wrong reasons but I am fortunate to have been a part of plenty of special shows. Shows that do not go well are useful because it gives you an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and learn what went wrong and how to improve. I either win or I learn I do not take any losses.

It is hard trying to come up with my favorite gig, there have been a few I did this past year that were super dope. One Night Only was a special one because it was the first show that I curated and spun. Rone was the headliner with performances by Kenif Muse, Major Van Winkle, and Ish Williams so it was a stacked lineup. The Thursday Night Raw show was one of my favorites too, that event was super original and was a blast to be a part of, shout-out to the Nelson Boys for letting me rock with them [this month]. First Friday was probably the best look I have gotten so far, that event is really special in the Philadelphia scene and brings everyone out. That event truly highlights the most talented artists in the city. Ant Beale, GetRightSour, Badland Breez were on the bill and Mir Fontane dropped a surprise set. Charlie Heat and all the important curators in the city were there so it was a great spot to showcase myself. I recently was on the bill for the Xavier Wulf show and that was absolutely insane. Voltage Lounge was at capacity at 8:30 pm on a Tuesday night so I was playing in front of around 300 people and Xavier Wulf absolutely shut it down. That one was really dope.

Wolfie 💰💰💰

A video posted by Andrew Kent (@djandrewkent) on

DTS MEDIA: How do you calm your nerves before a big event? Also tell us some of your own DJ rules.
DJ AK: I used to get nervous when I first started playing out, but now after having done it for a while I learned to turn those nerves into adrenaline instead. Once you can get your mind right it really changes everything. If it is a really big gig and feel those nerves begin to surface I’ll just take some time before I go on to collect myself. I have learned to enjoy the chaos that comes with performing. The rules I follow are pretty much the same that any good DJ should follow. Never mix vocals, never play the same song twice and just learning to play what the crowd wants and when to properly bring it in.

DTS MEDIA: What’s your specialty as a DJ? What is the equipment/set-up/software you use?
DJAK: My specialty as a DJ is that I bring a sound that is different to many others in the city. A lot of people get stuck in the rut of playing what is hot at the moment and end up sounding like everyone else. However, I try to blend the hits of yesterday with the sounds of today. I currently use Serato and a Pioneer DDJ-SX2 but prefer to be on turntables as much as possible. I believe that everyone should continuously learn and improve. I believe it is dangerous to believe that you do not need to learn anymore and that is how people fall off, and [how] that decline happens quickly. I am fortunate to have many mentors in this industry who are both phenomenal DJ’s and people. It is inspiring being around them because they are such excellent DJ’s but also help me navigate this industry. They have taught me things that they have learned along the way and I am so fortunate to have a strong support system.

DTS MEDIA: What do you feel is changing about the Philly music scene (not just hip-hop, but feel free to discuss hip-hop if you wish.)
DJAK: I believe the scene is changing here in more good ways than bad. One change that I have noticed (and one that is a good change) is that there is so much talent in the city now than there ever was before. Any artist here that has buzz is guaranteed to be talented, and usually are, because it is difficult to gain respect here because the standard has been set so high. There are also now many different curators in the city which mean there are more platforms than before now. REC Philly has done an excellent job of showcasing some of the best talent here. I believe that there is more talent in all of the industries throughout Philadelphia, not just the music scene. The city as a whole is flourishing and that is inspiring to see. However, with regards to the music scene here, I almost believe that there is too much talent. There are more platforms and resources now than there were ten years ago but I still do not believe there is enough.

A video posted by Andrew Kent (@djandrewkent) on

DTS MEDIA: Encourage our readers in a few sentences. What motivates you to keep going after a bad night, terrible promoters, or a slow month? How did you learn self-discipline when it came to practicing your craft?
DJAK: Whenever I have a bad night whether it just did not go as expected, or after dealing with some terrible promoters I just remind myself that it took me four years to get my first “real” gig. When you can maintain the feeling of gratitude throughout your career, and remember that you are not entitled to anything, it makes those tough nights easier to get through!

 

Special thanks to DJ Andrew Kent! Check out our last DJ interview with DJ Cadillac Jack here!