By: Marcos Blanco
I sat down with one of the resident DJs of Hella Proper, AJ “Orbit Jimenez, at a Starbucks in Cupertino, CA to talk about his beginnings with Hella Proper, his accomplishments and skills and the things in store for him and the group.
Marcos Blanco: How did you get started with Hella Proper?
AJ “Orbit” Jimenez: Av went up to me and she was telling me that she wanted to throw an electro/dubstep event in San Jose. She said ‘AJ, you are a pretty well known DJ in the Bay Area right now, especially in the South Bay. Why don’t you join up with me? I’ll book you to spin and you’ll be our resident [DJ].’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure. I’ll do it.’ She just saw the potential and the people I brought.
MB: How long have you been a DJ?
AJ: I started in 1996 as a bedroom DJ doing hip-hop and turntablism. I was trying to scratch. I was doing that for a few years until 1999, I got into hard energy, hard dance music and house. And then after that, I stopped for school and then went into electro afterwards. I heard A-Trak and DJ Mehdi. I just kept hearing their music. I was like ‘Dude. What is this sound that A-Trak just got into? This is sick.’ I never knew he liked dance music. The way he was mixing the tracks; like electro and some crazy beats. He was mashing them pretty well.
MB: It’s that variety I guess, huh?
AJ: I love it. That’s why my sound has a lot of variety. I kind of…travel. You probably noticed that, right?
MB: Yeah. When I first saw you at Hella Proper’s second event, I said to myself, ‘Wow. This guy is good.’
AJ: (Laughs) Nice. Thank you.
MB: I noticed you have a lot of energy. It doesn’t seem to end. Where does it come from and how does it drive you?
AJ: (Laughs) It’s just life and music. I love music. I don’t know where it comes from. I think I was maybe born on another planet.
MB: Hence, the name “Orbit?”
AJ: (Laughs) Yes exactly. I am taking over your planet (laughs). A lot of people say, ‘Damn AJ. What the fuck are you on (laughs)?’
MB: Is your specialty strictly electro? Or is it a bunch of different genres?
AJ: I do electro, but occasionally I produce a little bit of glitch, dubstep, hip-hop and R&B as well.
MB: Have you gone upstairs at Motif Lounge to play some dubstep?
AJ: I haven’t yet. That would be crazy I think. I would go insane with that.
MB: What are some other things you do outside Hella Proper?
AJ: I do audio design for videos. I kind of video edit, but I’m not really good at it. I started as a dancer before I got into music and I used to enter b-boy battles. Oh, I also entered on the first season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” They interviewed me and did a whole montage for a webisode for FOX, but it never aired.
MB: Where do you see yourself a few years from now? Do you see yourself with Hella Proper?
AJ: I’ll probably still represent Hella Proper and I’ll play at their events. I know they are going to grow. We’re all going to grow. I just want to make a lot more tracks and make a difference in the pop world. I want to help different artists and DJs.
MB: One last question: What makes you and Hella Proper click?
AJ: Oh, man the vibe. Hella Proper has a vision about it being all about the music. The very first event, we literally packed the house early. Av started charging at a certain time and stopped charging when she made enough money to pay for the main DJs. She then just let everybody in like ‘Come in. It’s free now.’ It’s all about the music.
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