Mike and I attended a Z-Trip concert in New York City where his opening DJ was the funky Goldenchyld. Goldenchyld expertly mixed hip-hop together with artists like Bjork and Smashing Pumpkins in his set. Come learn about DJ competitions, why the Bay Area seems to produce so many DJs, and his creative process. You might just find out if his name has anything to do with that 1980’s classic Eddie Murphy movie.
CCB: When did you realize you wanted to work in the music industry as a DJ? Was this at the same time that you became interested in hip-hop at age nine?
GC: Well when I became interested in hip-hop, I tried a bunch of things like B-Boying, graffiti, MCing, but it turned out the DJing is the one that I felt was my niche. It came the most naturally.
CCB: What appeals to you about working in this field?
GC: I just love changing the way people think about music and presenting their favorite songs in different ways that people may not think would work.
CCB: What is a typical day on the job as a DJ? What are you doing when you aren't playing shows?
GC: My typical day on the job as a DJ begins at night just because most of the places I DJ at start in the evening. (Clubs, show venues, etc.) But my day might be completely different from the next DJ. The next DJ might be spinning on the radio at 7:00AM on the radio. When I'm not playing shows, I'm either in the studio working on beats or experimenting with music trying to come up with different ideas/mixes for the next show.
CCB: What types of projects are you producing? Are they for acts, your crew?
GC: Well a little bit of everything. I work a lot with my crew and we just get together to work on music for fun and sometimes something comes of it and sometimes it doesn't but it's still fun none the less. Right now, I'm working on a remix of one of the tracks on Z-Trip's last album with my crewmate Cutso.
CCB: Please give a brief overview of your career so far.
GC: It's hard to give a brief overview of something that didn't seem so brief to me, but in a nutshell, I started out as a mobile DJ along with my good friends (The UNIT) in San Jose, CA where I DJ'd at various high school dances, house parties, cotillions, and family events.
I later started joining DJ competitions like DMC, ITF and the Zebra DJ competitions. I felt like it was a way to get out of doing the whole mobile thing and possibly get some things on my resume that I would be able to take to a club and say, hey I'd like to DJ here, and start generating a buzz.
Eventually I started doing shows with the crew and DJing at clubs. With some lucky breaks and some good people that have helped me along the way, I've ended up where I am today.
CCB: How did you come up with your name?
GC: I think every DJ struggles to come up with a name that kind of exemplifies them. I'm sure if you ask most DJs what their first DJ name was it would be different from what it is today. So when I started out I came up with some corny names that didn't really fit and the last one I came up with was "Goldenchyld" and it stuck. It was sort of funny because in the movie "The Golden Child", the kid was Asian or Chinese, and the DJ scene where I was from was predominantly Asian/Filipino/Vietnamese and I was just this white DJ guy which was really rare where I was from. I guess it's sort of ironic and funny. And it's grown on me. It's also funny because I'm the only white guy in my crew.
CCB: Have you had any mentors or DJs influence you?
GC: Absolutely. When I was growing up I learned a lot from being around my best friend Ray's older brother Randy aka DJ Wishboogie who was a mobile DJ at the time. This was about when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade so we used to hang out with the older kids while they would be DJing and practicing at his house scratching, or rapping, or dancing. Come to think of it Ray and Randy's house seemed like it was the Temple of Hip-Hop. I used to hang out there all the time because that's where all the sessions took place. That's where I learned a lot about the music, art, and elements of Hip-Hop. I carry a lot of what I learned there with me today.
CCB: What is it about the Bay Area that creates DJs? Were you influenced by the Invisibl Skratch Piklz at all?
GC: I'd be surprised to find a Hip-Hop DJ in the Bay that can say that they weren't influenced by the Piklz. They were a pioneering group from the Bay and I for one took pride in that. They were and continue to be hometown heroes to me. They all just seemed to specialize in their own things and they were like the ultimate DJ Voltron force.
But in terms of the Bay creating DJs, I guess it's just being in an area that is so heavily populated with DJs. It's hard to get noticed so people practice that much harder to gain notoriety. The competition level is crazy here because there are so many great DJs around.
CCB: Can you talk about your experiences competing in the DMC (Winning SF title/going to Nationals) and the ITF?
GC: Well the thing that most people don't know is that I went through a bunch of losses and mess-ups before I even got to make it past the prelims of ITF or DMC. So to actually make it and win a couple of these things meant the world to me. I remember the year I won DMC San Francisco, I had gone to Seattle two or three weeks earlier with one of my crew mates at the time to compete over there and he ended up winning 1st and I won 2nd. This sort of motivated me to win in San Francisco which at the time I felt was going to be one of the hardest regions to win. Hence, the trip to Seattle. So when I got back from Seattle, I worked my ass off on my routine and it turned out that I won SF which to me was almost better than winning in Seattle.
The ITF experience was both raw one on one experience as well as the whole team experience. I remember doing ITF teams the first year in 1999 and we got our asses kicked. We didn't really know what to expect at that time, so the next year we came back to win the Western Hemisphere Team Competition. We lived we learned.
CCB: Can you compare competing to performing shows?
GC: I think there's less pressure when you are doing a show because you have a lot more time to make your impression, as opposed to a 2-6 minute battle routine. They're both a lot of fun, but I think I enjoy playing shows more now just because it gives me time to paint a bigger picture of what I do.
CCB: What makes Fingerbangerz unique as a DJ crew? You were successful in the ITF (International Turntable Federation) team competition for starters.
GC: Well I think that most crews hold certain similarities. I mean usually it starts out as a group of friends and then that group of friends starts DJing and doing different things together. That's exactly what we were. But I guess what made us unique was the fact that we had a crazy work ethic and we always went into everything with the mentality that we had nothing to loose! We were a bunch of young kids who knew that we were coming in as underdogs in to all of these competitions and we were happy with that because we knew that expectations weren't high, and so we did our best to just surprise people. And I think for the most part we did.
CCB: Does your focus change when you are performing on your own as opposed to performing with your crew?
GC: It does, when you are on your own there's so much more pressure because if you mess up, it's on you. But when you are doing a performance with the crew, you have back up where if you mess up you can recover and get things back on track a lot easier.
CCB: What qualities do the best DJs possess?
GC: Experience, deep crates, crowd control, cleanliness, timing, and knowledge of all different kinds of music.
CCB: How would you describe your solo album Ear Infections?
GC: A journey through the mind of a mad DJ.
CCB: Have any advice for people interested in becoming DJs?
GC: Learn about music, old and new, practice, respect and study DJs who have come before you. Take time to develop your own style and don't be afraid to take risks and look stupid once in a while because if you're looking to become a DJ it's bound to happen at some point!
CCB: How did it feel the first time you performed on stage?
GC: I was scared as hell! But you have to do it to get over your fears. It's like anything, the more you do it the more you get used to it.
CCB: How do you put together a set? How do you know where to play certain records? (Is this like telling a story with a beginning, middle, and an end?) Does this all depend on the audience that you are spinning for? For example, I saw you mix Smashing Pumpkins.
GC: Most of my sets come together by accident. I guess over time I fall into records that work together and when I do a show I just try to combine all of those things that seem to work together and try to put it in some type of order. Now the Smashing Pumpkins mix I sort of stumbled upon when I was making Ear Infections and I thought that it worked really well, and I thought it would be cool to put into the show. It's funny because I wasn't sure if that was going to go over well. I didn't have any tomatoes thrown at me so I guess it was okay! But yeah I definitely think you try to format it with an intro, a middle, and big ending.
CCB: As far as production goes how do you build songs? Does it all begin with a beat?
GC: Sometimes it starts with a beat, sometimes it starts with a sample. It all depends.
CCB: Do you have a method in how you dig for records? What are you looking for, new sounds?
GC: I just look for stuff that I don't have. There's not really a complicated formula that I follow. I usually think about what I have at home in the collection and when I dig for new stuff I try to get things that will compliment the stuff I have.
CCB: What is the most difficult part of your job?
GC: Lugging my damn crates to every gig.
CCB: What has been the coolest or most rewarding thing about the job so far?
GC: Traveling, playing music, and meeting people all over.
CCB: What do you having come up career-wise?
GC: I'm working on a lot of production for the upcoming year, and playing at various spots around the US. I'm planning on making a move to the LA area at some point this year and start getting some things going out in southern Cali!
Goldenchyld's Official web site: dj-goldenchyld.com
Check out his crew here: fingerbangerz.com