“I would say it's my niche. It's the one thing that I probably do better than everything else. I enjoy all types of music. If it sounds good I'm willing to play it...”- DJ Psych Ward
DJ Psych Ward is a Brooklyn native and rising DJ that's balancing college courses with his adept skill set. This computer information systems major with an inclination for reggae sat down with HipHopWired to tell us who's influenced him, what makes him different and how he plans to bless the crowd with his latest mixtape regime.
Origin: Brooklyn, New York
Current Location: Hampton, Virginia
Jay-Z - Public Service Announcement
Biggie Smalls - Hypnotize
Jay-Z Feat. Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Fabolous - Brooklyn
Nicki Minaj - I Get Crazy
Beres Hammon - I Feel Good
Serani - No games
Sizzla - Give Me A Try
Gyptian - Hold Yuh
Movado - Money Changer
HipHopWired: First of all tell me how you got your name. It's very creative, and I see it has nothing to do with your real name.
DJ Psych Ward: Actually a group of my friends that were trying to get into DJing more professionally sat down at a round table and discussed it. I had done a bunch of parties and I said okay, I need a name. I tried DJ D and DJ Day but none of it felt right. Then they said whenever you do mixes it sounds crazy and my last name's Ward so we just went with Psych Ward.
HipHopWired: How'd you get started DJing?
DJ Psych Ward: In junior high school someone introduced me to a program called Tracktor so I downloaded it to my computer and it's been something that I've been playing with ever since. I didn't start taking it seriously until I went to college. Just over the course of the last four years I got piece after piece of equipment and I fine tuned my skills until I got to a point where I thought people would respect me as a DJ.
HipHopWired: Being that you‘re a college student. How do you balance being a student and being a DJ?
DJ Psych Ward: That's a good question. For the most part I try to put DJing second I haven't really made it my 100% goal. I do it as a pastime but I try to incorporate it as much as I can. I usually get people or different on campus organizations to book me. It's mostly referrals.
HipHopWired: Are you looking to do it full time?
DJ Psych Ward: That's actually something I've been considering seeing that it's the end of college now and I have some friends in the promoting business. It's definitely something I've been considering.
HipHopWired: If you were full time and DJing for any artist, who would it be?
DJ Psych Ward: Well my roots are in the Caribbean and reggae is probably what most people associate me with. So probably like a Mavado.
HipHopWired: Would you say you prefer DJing reggae then because of your Caribbean roots?
DJ Psych Ward: I would say it's my niche. It's the one thing that I probably do better than everything else. I enjoy all types of music. If it sounds good I'm willing to play it.
HipHopWired: And what's your major at school?
DJ Pysch Ward: I'm a computer information systems major.
HipHopWired: Oh wow. Do you ever wonder that people won't take you seriously as a DJ because you're a computer information systems major and not a music major. It's a stretch from being a Hip-Hop DJ.
DJ Psych Ward: I mean but when you look at any DJ they always have a decent balance between DJing and having a work life. I see that as not a detriment but an attribute. I actually have more understanding of the DJ equipment and how it works. If something goes wrong, I understand it and don't take it as people not taking me seriously.
HipHopWired: So it works to your advantage?
DJ Psych Ward: Right.
HipHopWired: So going back to you being from New York; NY is one of the few states that still pushes DJs. So who are some NY DJs that influenced you?
DJ Psych Ward: Funkmaster Flex for sure. He's one of my favorites, I remember sitting at home on a Friday night and going off to him. He just has this energy that try to emulate. Another one is DJ Nore. I actually knew him when I was growing up and didn't know he was a DJ till I saw him on TV. Just listening to how he does his reggae sets is real motivation to make me want to do it on a larger scale.
HipHopWired: Have you had a chance to get in contact with him since you started DJing?
DJ Psych Ward: I actually haven't. I reached out to him but I'm sure he's a very busy man. He might not even remember me, he lived in the same building as my grandma when I was little.
HipHopWired: Moving on, where's the last place you DJed?
DJ Psych Ward: Well being that I'm in college I do a lot of house parties. I just did a house party for my homegirl last weekend but the last big venue I did was at Club Mystique. That was for their Mardi Gras party.
HipHopWired: Are you looking to do any mixtapes or do you just prefer to do parties?
DJ Psych Ward: I actually have a couple of mixtapes out now. I was just working today on a new reggae mixtape to put out. I was thinking about doing a mix a week, maybe like the Psych mix that I'd just drop every Friday.
HipHopWired: What would be on this last mixtape you're working on?
DJ Psych Ward: This last one would be the hottest reggae tunes out from Jamaica. I've had a few Hip-Hop mixtapes out before called Psychology and I have a reggae mixtape out called Psychotic Psyndrome.
HipHopWired: *Laughs* Let's start to wrap this up. Tell me what you think makes you different from other DJs.
DJ Psych Ward: Originally when we started doing this we went under the name Versatile Sounds. I think it's just being able to play whatever. Understand what a crowd is looking for at an event or a party and being able to tune into that and give them an experience they wouldn't be able to have on a normal basis. I think I have the ability to do that with a crowd and can just go with it.
HipHopWired: Any last words or shoutouts?
DJ Psych Ward: I wanna shout out my man College Boy. He's been my right hand man since jump and he's always believed in me and been my number one supporter. Be sure to follow me on Twitter DJPsychWard1.