Chicago Spotlight: The Love & Lust Live DJs

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Dee Jay Alicia decided to bring her mixes to life and called some of the best DJs known for their soulful and sexy style to serve as the musical conductors for the evening, D’Vine One DJs, Mz. Nicky D’Vine and Kris “Jus” Denson and Arise Radio and Rhythm Factory’s own, Steve Maxwell, each handpicked by Dee Jay Alicia because of the passion and emotion they express through their music.   Together, they set the tone for a love filled evening full of sensual sounds. 

The event was so successful they decided to do it again.  I recently joined them for an evening of laughter, music and cocktails to talk to them about this event and their incredible musical chemistry.

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BW:  DJA, you created this Love & Lust event.  Explain what “Love & Lust” Live is and why you decided to create this event? What was the vision?

DJA:  My Love and Lust mixes came from relationships; the joy of them, the heartbreak of breakups, and the turbulence...all of the mixes in the Love & Lust Series tell stories.  I remember hearing DJ Ronnie Mac play an edit of “Special Kind of Fool” by DJ Bennie Bone and I said I wanted to make a mix with that song and that eventually turned into a story. So many people would come up to me and tell me how the story I was telling was their story.  They would tell me the mixes would help them get through a breakup or celebrate the joy of the new love they were experiencing.  Everyone has a favorite you know? They became personal.   I wanted to create an event where you can come with your friends and enjoy good music; you can get your mind off of a bad break up or even celebrate a new one. 

BW:  Steve Maxwell, Mz. Nicky and Jus Denson….what influenced your decision to bring these incredibly talented DJs on board as the soul selectors for Love & Lust Live?

DJA:  I enjoy the way Kris plays, the way Mz. Nicky plays and the way Steve Maxwell plays…like I’m a huge fan of each of them. I felt like those were the people who best fit the stories I had told in my mixes. I listen to their mixes all the time and it just fit. I felt like the transitions between our sets would be smooth from DJ to DJ.  

“We are separate ends of a spectrum that come together to make a supernova”-Dee Jay Alicia.

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We independently do what we do and we each have different followers who support us and I thought if we all came together and had all of our people in one place would be really cool.   Our paths cross all the time so it’s cool to have all of our people come together.

BW:  The combination of talent that you put together works well.  After the 1st event the energy was very clear between all of you. It was like a well-executed team. I think the audience felt that.  Quite honestly it helps to destroy the stereotype that DJs can’t get along or the negative stereotype that lady DJs are in competition with each other and can’t get along. What makes this team work so well? 

Kris:    For me, since I’m the newer one in the group, the history of each individual is what drew me to this immediately. In my mind, I wanted to link up with individuals where there wasn’t dissention, there’s just focus. Where there may be a difference of thought, it’s accepted and respected. We are open to new ideas and constructive criticism. We have good communication between us. When you deal with people who understand the concept of a team, it becomes an extremely enjoyable experience.    Working with these guys is not a struggle; we bounce ideas off of one another and come to one vision.  We are trying to bring people together and create an experience. 

DJA:  We work well together because we are family. A lot of people think I brought Nicky in but it’s the opposite. They try to make us rivals and they don’t know our history. Nicky was the one that put me on by bringing me to her night at LEO’s Den on several occasions.  She provided so many opportunities for me to be heard in a community she was already solidified in.   I built a rapport with her and her D’Vine One family; it became a family of people who just want to see everyone succeed.  Our synergy is great because we are friends.  People see that.  We all genuinely like each other so hopefully, we transfer that loving energy to the audience.

BW:  It’s not just the respect you have for one another that people can see, it’s the friendship that we see as well and that’s not something you can fake.

Nicky:  It’s so funny; we don’t even see the crowd sometimes. We love playing for everyone but we are just having fun when we play together. It’s no power trips, no hidden agendas, we are just having fun!

BW: How hard is it as DJs to maintain that positivity and that sense of unity that you guys have with one another in other aspects of the house community?

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Nicky: It’s hard. It’s very hard because it’s so much negativity sometimes against you and against the industry.  You have to get to the point where it’s not about what everyone is doing.  It’s about why you are in this and what you are trying to get out of it.    You have to distance yourself, draw a line and build a wall. I’ve had to learn that recently after 10 years that what is said about me and what people feel about me is no longer my issue. I can’t control that.  I can’t please everyone…not even musically and that’s ok. I deal with people accordingly. People who are trying to grow, grind, and build.  The rest I can’t be a part of. I’m trying to add to the house community and build a brand. 

Kris:  I was told a long time ago, “everyone has a gun but it’s up to you to not supply them with ammunition to use that gun”. So therefore my form of unarming people or negative behavior is to be polite and try to make people feel significant when you come in contact with them. A small slight can have a ripple effect.  People always talk about cliques; I don’t just hang around people to get to a certain level in this scene. The people I hang with are people that I connect with over different things; we have like interests and such.  Everything else is irrelevant to me.  I’m all about the music.

BW:  The Theme of “Love & Lust” is relationships, love, loss, heartbreak, sex, and romance…all of these things and the soundtrack for all of it is soulful house music.  How is soulful R&B, Neo-Soul, etc. transformed into the hands of a DJ? What takes some of these great songs and transforms them into tracks we dance and groove to?

DJA:  I think it’s the way it’s presented. That’s why I picked Nicky, Steve & Kris.  They present the music in many different ways. They each tell stories and we play off one another well.  It’s the way you put it all together. That’s truly what resonates.  

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Nicky:  Even on a deeper level music can be healing to your spirit.  House music is a spiritual connection. It doesn’t matter the type of genre, there’s a spiritual connection to it. When you go soulful, the words you know…those lyrics hit you.

BW:  Yeah those lyrics get me in my feelings!  WHEW!

[LAUGHTER]

KRIS:  Knowing Steve, Nicky, and Alicia has been a learning session for me.  It’s helped with my own evolution.  Listening to them, I’ve learned so much.  They don’t play alike but they fit together.  The skill level of the three of them…I’m in awe!

Nicky:  Kris…quit playin...don’t act like you don’t come in with the cherry on top! 

BW:   Right!!! I’ve heard your mixes!!! Don’t act like you aren’t in the sexy/sensual category too Kris!

[LAUGHTER]

BW:   I call it musical gumbo, when everyone is so different.  Everyone has a different flavor but when you put it together, it’s seasoned perfectly and it tastes so good!  Everyone has distinctive styles but it works so well. It’s the perfect blend!

Nicky:  It’s the combination of all of us that works so well.   If we had our own decks, it would be like passing the baton and it would be seamless. We work that well together!

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BW:  That’s what I love about it.  Alicia, this project was birthed from your mixes but to have these 3 DJs come in and get on board with your vision and add their “spices” to this is quite a combination! And you even threw a poet in the mix too for some added “spice”!

[LAUGHTER]

BW:  IT’S AN EVENT THAT APPEALS TO YOUR SENSES.  MUSIC FOR YOUR EARS, IT’S VISUALLY APPEALING FOR YOUR EYES, YOU HAVE SEXY THINGS TO TASTE, AND A ROOM FILLED WITH VANILLA FOR YOUR SENSE OF SMELL…

KRIS:   and to the fellas…after you hear Black Widow, you are going to need a shower!

[LAUGHTER]

Kris:  The cohesiveness of this group touches on every aspect of soulful, sexy, lustful, comradery, and acceptance.

“There is no wrong to this. We don’t turn away, we open the door! So come on in.”-Kris “Jus” Denson

BW: I LOVE THAT!  So for those who have never attended “Love & Lust”, what can patrons expect at Love & Lust Live?

DJA:  It’s a tantalization of all your senses

Kris:  You will hear, smell, taste…

Nicky:  Your palette will be pleased.    They can expect professionalism and sensuality. 

Kris: Come out, open your minds and accept and be accepted.  It really is for everyone!   You can come with a mate and be alone or you can come and hang out with everyone and be part of the party. Or you may come alone and leave with somebody!

[LAUGHTER]

DJA:  I wanted an event that was grown and sexy, that felt good without any drama, or judgement.  I want people to come hear some great music, sexy poetry, drink good drinks, enjoy sexy food, relax, have a cigar on a patio… I want to create a really enjoyable experience. That’s the vision.

Nicky:  You are going to feel the love in the place.   From us, from one another…I’m excited!

BW:  Well, I’m definitely looking forward to the event. The last one was so much fun!  I can’t wait to perform and hear you guys play as well!   Thank you so much for sitting down with me this evening!

You can catch Love & Lust Live this Friday night, February 9th at 9pm! Click the photo for details!

Until next time, see you on a dance floor!

Black Widow

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Black Widow

D.Sanders, a Chicago native, is a devoted mother, blogger and writer who is passionate about her family, friends, women's rights, living authentically and telling her story.   She is also a spoken word recording artist under the name, Black Widow. She has been writing and blogging for over 15 years providing commentary and expressing thought on life, love and relationships. Her artistry can be heard on two house music singles, “Rough”, and “Gruv Me” released by Grammy Nominated Producer and CEO of T’s Box Records & T’s Crates, Terry Hunter under the production of Mike Dunn and Dee Jay Alicia. . Both singles reached #1 on Traxsource’s Afrohouse and charted top ten overall as well reaching the top ten in their year of release.  She splits her time blogging about the Chicago Dance Music Scene on www.blkwidowmusic.com and on her book’s website, www.thesumofmanythings.com.  She is excited about her debut book, The Sum of Many Things, scheduled for release in June 2017.   She wears many hats but refuses to be placed in a box.  She believes that women are "The Sum of Many Things".  Embracing all of her roles as a woman, she firmly believes in breaking free of preconceived notions of womanhood.   She believes it is her mission to define her own life experience, femininity and sexuality and not have it defined by society.  She openly shares her story with hopes that women understand their worth, power and place in this world.