|Meet the DJ|
Meet DJ Vicious Lee
“I’ve made some of the most important contacts of my career at events where the venue has been empty. So, you should always shine, whether you’re playing to 10 people or 10,000; always give one hundred percent.” - DJ Vicious Lee
As the case often is with DJs, Vicious Lee (real name Shannon Lee Brown) was first exposed to the art of DJing at family occasions, where he saw various DJs playing 45s at his mom’s annual birthday, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve parties. Back then he was still in single digits, but as he got a little older, Jam Master Jay became his “true inspiration to learn to mix and scratch” and Lee began mobile DJing as a teenager.
The influence of the rap legend (and Run-DMC DJ) had a lasting effect on Lee – who says he is “naturally a hip-hop baby” – and ensured that rap music has remained his favorite genre to this day. “I have to say hip-hop,” Lee explains, “because just when I was becoming really aware of music, hip-hop was born – and I was hooked.”
But while hip-hop may be his first love, Vicious Lee also learned how to mix on techno-hop and freestyle music, and claims to like everything… country being his least favorite. In terms of his track selection, he loves to mix things up. “Usher’s ‘Yeah’ is a song which I love to dance to and love to mix. It’s the last vinyl I bought but it still rocks when I play it now. Another favorite is ‘Chief Rocker’ by Lords of the Underground; it’s an amazing track with lots of lyrics to back spin and repeat. It’s great to scratch too; it’s just a fun song to play with,” Lee enthuses. “There is one song which is part of my ‘DJ DNA’ though, and that’s ‘Clear’ by Cybotron; I was learning how to mix when it first came out, so I spent hours and hours practicing with it!”
While Vicious Lee has an admiration for vinyl – due to his enthusiasm for hip-hop and scratching – he does appreciate how technology has made the life of the DJ just that little bit easier. “My back is happy and grateful for Serato [DJ software]; for not having to carry countless crates of music to an event; and for having 80,000 songs at my fingertips - which is both a great and dangerous tool for any DJ that knows their music,” Lee tells us. “Oh, and it’s great to have lighter, reliable active speakers; the amps I used to use were pretty heavy and the speakers were clunky too.”
Since his teenage years, dragging around hefty equipment and honing his craft as a mobile DJ, Vicious Lee has also worked as a club DJ, performance DJ, and a radio DJ (as co-host of Zulu Tribe Radio on B-Real TV). His talents as a multi-platform DJ have seen him work with the Black Eyed Peas star, Will.i.am, and become a club mainstay in his hometown, LA. Impressively – as well as DJing for legendary Hollywood band Dox Haus Mob and jazz-hip-hop label Hidden Beach Recordings’ Unwrapped Allstars – Vicious Lee is, in fact, the only DJ to ever appear on a Tupac recording.
So, quite the résumé then... and, as you’d expect, Vicious Lee has some fond memories of his career so far. He DJed for Tone’Loc, playing with Coolio and Sir Mix-a-Lot, in front of 20,000 people at an event called Bash in the Grass. “The crowd was huge,” Lee reminisces, “you couldn’t see where it ended.” Another fond memory for the DJ is playing at the Staples Center for the LA Kings when they won the Stanley Cup; an historic event which it was “amazing to be part of”. His most recent stand-out memory is of playing on the Arsenio Hall show, which gave the DJ an “amazing chance to show case [his] talent to millions of people”.
Having DJed with countless hip-hop legends and played clubs across the globe, surely this turntable veteran of 25 years has some advice for up and coming DJs? “Give it your best at all times – even if the event is dead. I’ve made some of the most important contacts of my career at events where the venue has been empty. So, you should always shine, whether you’re playing to 10 people or 10,000; always give one hundred percent.”
Find out more about DJ Vicious Lee on his website:
Hear his mixes at:
Connect with him via social media:
Twitter – @viciouslee
Facebook – /djviciouslee89
Instagram – /Djviciouslee
Thursday, November 20, 2014
My American DJ Interview