DeeJay Neekola – music and beyond

10 Dec

by Yulia Mikhalchuk

Who does not know her? Neekola is a definition of DJ in DC area (and, she is spreading her wings Nationally and Internationally, too!).  Those who love clubbing know her face and her music, and today we get the chance to actually talk to her, which seems to be quiet a rare chance…

Q: How did it all start? (meaning when did you first think of becoming a DJ, how it grew… etc.)
A: I’ve always loved the sound of electronic music, from being a child listening to Herbie Hancock, MARS, Technotronic, Kraftwerk, etc.  I never really understood electronic music however until I moved to Germany.  There I realized that electronic music is appreciated by lots of people, especially overseas, and I really felt at home all of a sudden the first time I walked into a disco blasting electronic music.  I knew I had a place in the industry, but I wasn’t exactly sure – so I dabbled with production, and failed miserably.  Once I had moved back to the USA, I had invited my girlfriends to a party in DC (I was living in Richmond at the time), because I heard Christopher Lawrence would be DJing there.  I was very into trance music and I knew he was a DJ and a producer, so I was very interested in hearing him at this party (it was at Fur nightclub).  Because we were a group of girls, we were invited to meet the DJ, so I had asked him in person what the difference between a DJ and producer was, because I wanted to produce, and he told me – I need to learn to DJ first.  I never thought about Djing before this, but after he had told me, I signed up immediately for a few classes in NYC scratch academy, and learned the basics of DJing on 2 hip hop records.  My friend Tyke back in Richmond gave me a mixer and some old trance records, and I began to practice the technics diligently at home.  I soon became addicted, started collecting my own vinyl, and soon started DJing out, and have never stopped since.

Q: Have you ever thought or been told that this is not exactly profession     for females? Have you ever felt males have more advantage in this industry?
A: I haven’t really been told that its not the profession for females, but I do frequently hear from people that its the first time they have seen a female DJ.  There are actually a million female DJ’s today, and I really don’t feel that males have more advantages.  I think its equal.  Men have the advantage that they are taken a little more seriously in this profession, and females have the advantage that people specifically look for female DJ’s.  But all in all, everyone is equal – what makes you successful in this industry, and ANY industry really, is determination, perseverance, and HARD FREAKING WORK!

Q: What, do you think, your success is based on? I mean, we all know you are very successful and demanded… Why? And how long you walked to this point in your career?
A: HARD FREAKING WORK!  Music has become my life.  I really don’t have that much of a life outside of it.  I don’t give up.  I don’t let bad things deter me, in fact, it makes me work harder.  I also always try to keep a positive attitude about EVERYTHING.  That definitely helps.  I have been doing this for 5 years, but full time, 3 years.

Q: Do you ever have breaks? In this industry it seems that nights, weekends and holidays are the busiest. How do you manage to balance all happenings in your life, and what else happens when we don’t see you behind the “wheel”?
A: I rarely take breaks.  Unfortunately I have lost a lot of friendships and have had little to no romance because my career had always come first.  I rarely even get to see family because I’m so determined to do everything and more to work for my dreams.  However now, I am finding ways to try and maintain important relationships, and I always explain my lifestyle to those that are close to me, so they understand not to take it personal when I never show up for anything.  When I am not DJing, I am at home sending emails, marketing, meeting with people, and most importantly, writing music, (now with my engineer and coproducer Rex Riot), and traveling for gigs.  When I am not working, you won’t see me at a nightclub – mostly I’ll be at home relaxing, or sleeping, maybe watching a movie, or going to dinner with close girlfriends.  And now I also have a great boyfriend, who is very supportive and amazing, but he lives in Argentina, so I spend a lot of evenings online chatting with him.

Q: What is your real name? And how your stage name was born and when?
A: Nicole Bock  My stage name was born when I was working at Ultrazone, a lazer tag place, in high school.  In order to work there, you had to have an alias – and I couldn’t think of one back then, so my colleagues picked NEEKOLA (like the Ricola commercial), and it stuck with me ever since.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in your job? Besides coming home late at night and having not enough sleep?
A: The biggest challenge of my job is being around so much drugs and alcohol.  I’ve always been drug free, never even smoking a cigarette, although I do drink alcohol.  But being in the nightlife, I see so many sad stories where people, and sometimes friends, get caught up in substance to “just have fun”, and it moves from that to really becoming a problem so quickly.  I really feel so experienced in dealing with situations such as this now, and it always seems that people who are starting to have troubles with substance, will rarely recognize it, and any help you try to offer them usually ends up in some argument where they are defending their drug use.  So I really feel helpless in these situations, and it bothers me the most about my industry.  But what keeps me going, is that I hope I will become a role model for those people, where they can see I am so rooted into the night life, and still can become successful, and have a great time, without ever needed to touch a drug.

Q: Do you have other deejays in your family? What was their reaction when they knew what you are going to do for a living, did they see it coming?
A: Nope, I’m the only DJ.  BUT, my entire mothers side of the family is very artistic.  My mother was one of New York City’s best female guitarists, and she had so many amazing accomplishments.  My Uncles, Aunts, and even my Dad has also played guitar, or was some sort of artist, so it definitely runs in my blood.  I really believe creativity is hereditary.

Q: Does your work help or challenge your personal life? (if you don’t mind, share a few words about it)
A: It does both.  It helps it because I know 93840283 people now, and I have so many amazing people in my life that I would have never met if it weren’t for what I do.  But in the same aspect, it harms it too, because I don’t get to spend as much time as I want with those that are important to me.

Q: I know you have your first album coming! Would you feed us some details?
A: YES!!!  It is called Playtime.  It is some seriously amazing, dance, commercial house tracks.  I have vocals on most of the tracks, but I’ve also recruited some local talent to help with that as well, such as Tim Coburn, and Jinahie, (Angela), an Egyptian female rapper.  I also have the release party happening on January 27th at District in Adams Morgan.  It will be the first day I sell the CD’s, and there are some amazing surprises waiting at the event.

Q: How many people, in a rough estimate, you know personally in DC area? How many times you usually have to say “hi” per shift?
A: Sometimes I feel I know all of DC, I swear.  There’s really no way to estimate.  Technically, facebook says I know about 6000 (including my fan page) ha!  So lets say that.  It’s great, but sometimes it sucks because I like to go places looking like a scrubmuffin, but I ALWAYS run into SOMEONE that I know.  So a lot of people have seen my unglam self hiding around the city from time to time.

Q: How many people, do you think, know you?
A: No idea, but I’m pretty sure about 70% of the club population has to have heard something about me.

Q: Being originally from New Your, why did you decide to land here? Is there anything special in DC vibes that attracted you more (sorry for such a transparent question)?
A: After college, I needed to get out of Richmond VA.  I was thinking about moving to NY, but it was too overwhelming, and I really felt that trying to pursue my dreams out that way would be too stressful, because I was one of 20398402 people trying to do the same.  In DC, I felt more at ease, I did not feel like just a number here.  The people that I had known already here in DC had shown me that DC is a really great place to start out because knowing people and getting opportunities comes a lot quicker in this area.  I’ve always loved DC though, its been very good to me – most of the people that I have met here are SO AMAZING.  I really have so much support from some of the worlds sweetest people, and I really have a feeling its because DC is just such a great place to live, and to be.  It’s also right between Richmond and New York city, so I feel in the middle of my Dad and Mom.

Q: How do you see yourself growing? I mean, what’s next?
A: AT A VERY RAPID PACE RIGHT NOW!  2011 is the year that I will move mountains – with the launch of this album, the merging with a local management team, and planning for a 2011 world tour – there’s no doubt this DC DJ will be making an impact on the world this year.

Well, let’s wish our marvelously talented DeeJay all the luck imaginable in the upcoming year and all the years forward! And remember, if you come to an event and see that pink laptop and beautiful happy face behind it – then it’s guaranteed you get the  best music and the best fun ever!

Special thanks to Ron Clemente from Kavenchy Spa Salon for hair and make up


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