Philly is in the house once again with IllVibe’s own Mr. Sonny James, or to us older folks as DJ Statik. Not only is Sonny James a talented DJ, but he is a staple of the Philly music culture and a tastemaker known worldwide. Mr. Sonny James has layers upon layers of talent, so if you are new to the name or just want to get reacquainted, start off by Googling “Illvibe Collective”. Your journey begins there… well after this quick interview.
What gear are you DJing with?
I’m using the timeless standard. Technics 1200s. Also Pioneer s9 Mixer. Sometimes Rane Sixty Two and a Pioneer DJSP1 Controller.
What do you personally consider as your career highlight thus far?
Being invited to play for President Obama and the First Lady at the White House was as major as it’s gotten for me. The Africa Summit Dinner had Lionel Richie as a guest performer and me closing the night for over 50 presidents, their First Ladies, Kings, Queens, various dignitaries, and random celebrity guests. Yeah it was pretty wild.
How do you balance your relationship with giving the listeners what they want and putting them on to music they need to be exposed to?
As a DJ who works so many different types of parties, the crowd always determines the direction of the party. People need to gain your trust every time even if they’re fans already. They want to know you’re on your A game tonight. So I make sure they get the stuff they came for before I start working in things they aren’t familiar with. Otherwise, it won’t be received well.
DJs are the original record breakers, so what local/regional artist do you currently support?
The Bul Bey, Bri Steves, and Dayne Jordan are main stays in my sets right now. These artists represent the other side of Philly that doesn’t move weight and rap about killing you for looking at them wrong.
Pass the torch. What DJ should MyWayDJ interview next and why?
DJ Lean Wit It is one of the only Philly dudes taking risks with his crowds, investing in his own brand, flying himself around the world to meet new people and slaying every party he’s thrown on even when he’s invited hours before.
About Mr. Sonny James
DJ Statik aka Mr. Sonny James is a writer, DJ, producer, videographer, and actor. He is also co-founder of Philadelphia’s most prolific and well-respected DJ/Production crew, Illvibe Collective. Sonny is the official tour DJ for the legendary MC Bahamadia and other prominent international hip-hop artists. Famously noted as “your DJ’s favorite DJ,” His sets regularly hit popular venues across the world: Insert Coins (Las Vegas), Santos Party House, SOBs and LPR in New York City; Philly’s Voyeur Nightclub, Silk City, and Morgan’s Pier; Tube Station (Berlin), Djoon (Paris), and DUSK Complex in Atlantic City. He is an annual staple at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX and at Miami’s Winter Music Conference in South Beach. Statik’s full and diverse roster includes a DJ residency for Heineken Green Room; events affiliated with two.one.five magazine; the legendary Beat Society producer showcase; and Illvibe Collective’s highly anticipated traveling dance party series, BODYROCK—now in it’s 14th year. in 2014, he was personally invited to the White House to DJ the African Summit dinner for President Obama, The First Lady and over 50 more world leaders. His musicality as a producer is evident on the Illvibe Collective’s debut album, All Together Now, released in 2011. Currently Sonny James serves as Chief Operations Manager of the Illvibe Media record label where his numerous duties include artist development, marketing and music distribution.
Illvibe Collective, Illvibe Media, UGLYBASS, Beat Society, 3 Crates, Playlist, Across The Tracks, Dash Radio