On Saturday night Asiance was a VIP guest at a fabulous benefit for the cause of helping children with autism! It was held at the club Ultra in Chelsea. Four teenage girls (Remy Geller and her 3 friends) put it together all themselves – such motivated young people this day and age! The guests included a great mixture of youth, their parents, and the occasional celebrity-dancing was mandatory. We got the chance to interview DJ G*LEE and DJ Jay Jung, whose mixes had the kids going crazy, along with the independent performer El Gambina, there to support DJ G*LEE. Everyone had a fabulously fashionable time and the best part was that everyone came together for a cause!
DJ Jay Jung
ASIANCE: Where are you from? And how did you start DJing?
DJ Jay Jung: I’m from Jersey. But my mom is from Malaysia, my dad is from Taiwan.
I’m 28, Do I look young? My friend from High School, he was a DJ and his ability to draw a crowd- that’s what really got me into it. I just got started from there!
I started when I was 14. A long time!
ASIANCE: Where do you play mostly?
DJ Jay Jung: It depends, like right now I have my residencies, I do Hudson Hotel on Saturdays, on 58th. I do SpaceBall Red in Jersey. It’s a company so they have me doing difference spots. I do stuff for Scion and am a Scratch Academy Intstructor – so I do a lot of events for that and have played around the world.
ASIANCE:You have a lot of fans that are girls, do you have a girlfriend?
DJ Jay Jung: Yes. She’s from Jersey.
ASIANCE: What’s your next dream?
DJ Jay Jung: I guess one of my biggest dreams is to travel the entire world. I travel half the world now for DJing but I want to go to the other half too. So, it’s getting there, it’s getting there!
ASIANCE: Anything else?
DJ Jay Jung: Check out my website, www.DJayJung.com
ASIANCE: So how did you start rapping and performing onstage?
El Gambina: I actually started when I was 16 which was probably around ’96. And I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood and I felt, not out of place but sticking out. I love to write so I just started writing, poetry and stuff, and I had a lot of B-Boy friends who introduced me to hip-hop and through that I started getting into beats. I was solo for a while and then I joined a group in 2000 called “Organic Thoughts” with three other guys who rapped and from then I just started practicing and I am doing a solo thing right now.
ASIANCE: How is it as a guest tonight?
El Gambina: I didn’t know Jay Jung was spinning and he is a good friend of mine, so I’m surprised!
ASIANCE: What is your Asian background?
El Gambina: I’m Korean American, both of my parents are from Seoul. I mostly go (back to Seoul) for this Christian conference, but yeah, I do go there often. My family is still there, so.
ASIANCE: Where do you perform mostly?
El Gambina: When I was in “Organic Thoughts” we pretty much performed at every university on the East Coast. We did some in the Midwest too. But now that I’m solo, the main places I’ve gone to are Bowery Poetry Club, The New Yorican and benefits, kind of like this.
ASIANCE: So you know both DJ’s tonight?
El Gambina: I’ve known Grace for a really long time, through Church mainly. I came here to be her mentor and give her support so when I got here she told me I might be getting interviewed but I had no idea. I had no idea Jay Jung was spinning so it’s a great surprise.
ASIANCE: Why did you choose the name “El Gambina’?
El Gambina: L are my initials, Lisa Lee, and I was in Spanish class one time and they were telling me Gambina meant kid, so I thought it would be good. To be grammatically correct it should be La Gambina but it just kind of stuck. I kind of like how it fools people too.
DJ G*LEE (Grace)
ASIANCE: Where are you from?
DJ G*LEE: I’m from Jersey. I grew up there all my life but I go to school in the city right now. I started DJing because it’s an art – I’m a musician, a rapper myself. It’s something new for me but coming out and doing a strong DJ performance tonight means something for Asian representation. I’m 100% Korean American myself but half of my family really is Italian.
ASIANCE: You go there a lot?
DJ G*LEE: I go to Korea every year actually, for some conferences. I perform there a lot, that’s my main performance stage.
ASIANCE: Where do you perform in New York?
DJ G*LEE: In New York I perform uptown, on the East Side, Soho. Soho is the spot, that’s the spot right there.
Actually I’m planning on going to L.A. next month, Chicago, maybe Italy because a few friends own some clubs there.
ASIANCE: Who are you influenced by?
DJ G*LEE: I was influenced by Steve Aoki, definitely because I haven’t seen any Asian American DJ’s out there, DJ Berrie, Samantha Ronson, she’s got style. Jay Jung of course.
ASIANCE: How did you like tonight’s event?
DJ G*LEE: Wow, tonight was amazing. I mean, amazing in the part that it’s coming for a cause.
ASIANCE: We met your mom, is she supportive of your career of course?
DJ G*LEE: My mom was actually a DJ too, back in the 80’s! I have some of her stuff in the garage, Pink Floyd..
ASIANCE: What are your ultimate goals?
DJ G*LEE: For me, honestly there are so many things I want to do, as a humanitarian. I want to help with the UN, pursue my music, my background in music is Julliard. Producing, rhyming, DJing. In the future, I want to reach out to other varieties of life, architecture…
ASIANCE: What are your music choices and inspiration?
DJ G*LEE: My older influences are ColdPlay, Snow Patrol, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, Common, so much more. What I listen to right now is Seeya, alternative kind of stuff, John Mayer, something cool, so much more, I can’t think right now! Ok, ok, let’s see what do I listen to right now- (pulls out I-pod) Ben Folds, Cassie, Lion King Musical Broadway (laughter), Josh Groban, LaRoche, Milouche, Switchfoot…
ASIANCE: Is it so different performing in Korea?
DJ G*LEE: It’s actually – in Korean, the crowd is much more raw. They go crazy when they hear beats like this. Compared to Korea I would say it is way a better atmosphere there. Coming back here you guys bring more energy and stuff.
ASIANCE: Any last words about tonight?
DJ G*LEE: I knew El Gambina when I was little and she is like my sister!
ASIANCE: How did this benefit come together? It is so great you are so young and organized it all!
Remy: Well it started out that two of us got together and said, “we need a project to give back” and we branched out to our best friends and sat together and decided that autism was a great cause because one of the people in the group, me, Remy, has a twin brother with autism and everyone is so affected by it.
ASIANCE: Were you happy with the turn-out?
Remy: Oh my god, it was amazing. We originally didn’t think we would have such a good turn-out but then there was more. Crazy stories about people selling tickets and trying to get in.
ASIANCE: How did you choose the Dj’s?
Remy: Grace is amazing and started at our school this year and we saw her and wanted to work with her, we worked together, she’s awesome, shout-out to Grace!
ASIANCE: What are your plans for future benefits or fundraisers?
Remy: We definitely want to have another one, hopefully next year. We’ll continue it and hope it’s something done each year. We want people to realize 1 in 150 children have autism and it’s a big deal. We just wanted to reach out to people and have fun at the same time.