Everybody loves a good, clean fight.
To begin with, it’s impossible to find an empty bar stool at GoodFellas when Mayweather is boxing. When two girls start pulling each other’s hair at the bar, everyone starts pulling out their phones to get a Snapchat of it. In like manner, that’s probably why every little kid in the 90’s wanted to be a Power Ranger.
Partygoers are invited to attend a different kind of fight when Kildare’s Irish Pub, Scranton, hosts it’s first ever ‘Battle of the DJs’ on Friday, August 15. There will be no blood, but according to participants, there will be one hell of a competition.
For the love of turntablism
“I’ve always been a fan of turntablism,” Jay Velar of Scranton said when asked what motivated him to approach Kildare’s Irish Pub to ask about hosting a Battle of the DJs.
“I approached Kildare’s with the idea because I DJ there often,” Velar said. “They loved the idea.”
If you’re lost at turntablism, relax. There’s a technical description for it. Turntablism is the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using direct-drive turntables and a DJ Mixer. Velar, even organizer and host of the battle said it’s something that can’t really be described because “it’s something you experience.”
The concept of DJs coming together and going head to head with beat juggling and scratching excited Velar because “nobody does this around here”. The DJ said that although similar battles have occurred locally in the past, there “hasn’t been one in at least four years.”
Four DJs, all contributing different styles and levels of experience, embraced the challenge: CeeWags, DJ Cataclysm and Matt Massik, all from Scranton, will be competing against Ryan Kenton of Dallas.
The brotherhood of the spinning DJs
One may wonder how intense the rivalry is in the local DJ scene. Is there a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood because they can relate to the same aspiration? Or, is the scene all the more competitive because they are on a smaller platform and striving to land the same gigs?
“It’s just one big competition,” Kenton said. “The best DJ is going to get the most gigs, so you have to compete.”
“It’s a 50/50,” CeeWags said. “You get a lot of us who know each other already and are friends, but there are only a select few locations that we can all fight for, so it ends up being a competition.
Velar shared a “little secret” that “DJs hate other DJs. It’s the truth.”
When asked who they identify as their biggest threat in the competition, the participants collectively agreed the it would be too hard to tell.
“You never know what someone can pull out,” Massick said on sizing up the competition.
“His name is Cataclysm, and that is scary,” Kenton said, joking that his competitor’s name was intimidating.
It appears that even though they can wisecrack and get along while around each other, once the party starts, it’s every DJ for himself.
The excitement is real
As the battle approaches, the DJs are well aware that there is more at stake than just the glory of smashing their competition’s reputation. There’s mad money involved.
“The winner gets a paid night at Kildare’s and a $100 gift card,” said Kildare’s manager, Kelly Tuey, adding the runner-up will be awarded a $50 gift card.
“I saw this when I lived in Vegas a lot,” said Caleb Corbett, another Kildare’s manager. “We’re excited to host this event and bring something new to Scranton. If it’s successful, this could become an annual event.”
The thrill is also alive in the battle’s participants.
“I’m looking forward to playing some music that I have never heard played at Kildare’s before,” DJ Cataclysm said. “I play a lot of electro rap and you just don’t hear that when you go to a Scranton bar.”
“I’m definitely excited for the hype,” Massik said. “I think we can make this battle one of the biggest night’s at Kildare’s.”
Only the audience can determine the future of the battle’s popularity, as well as the outcome of the competition. Following a 15 minute window to rock out with their skills out, for the win, the contenders will be judged by the crowd.
The first ‘Battle of the DJs’ kicks off at 11 p.m., Friday, August 15, at Kildare’s, 119 Jefferson Ave. Scranton.