DJ Area4 on Being a Jedi and How Hip-Hop Culture Helped Saved His Life
Of the many pearls of wisdom that Yoda dropped on Luke Skywalker's ass in The Empire Strikes Back ("Size matters not," "Wars not make one great") it was the green-skinned Jedi guru's Zen-like mantra of "Do or do not...there is no try" that probably resonates the most with Joe Maldonado.
DJ Area4 kicks it way old school
That's because the local turntablist and selector, who performs as Area4, was at a major crossroads in 2005 when he hit an emotional rock bottom. He was unsure whether or not give up on the world or to instead suck it up, endure through the drama, and push forward with his life and DJ career. Essentially, whether to do...or do not.
Thankfully, Maldonado forged ahead, thanks in no small part to the inspiration he got from hip-hop, and hasn't looked back. He's become a member of the nationwide Bum Squad DJ collective, recently toured Europe, and is one of the fiercest scratchers in the Valley.
And -- as the lifelong Star Wars fan told us in tongue-in-cheek fashion during our recent interview -- he's also a Jedi. Whether or not you believe this (likely) facetious claim, the Force seems to be strong with the 37-year-old when he's working the turntables. Judge for yourself by checkout out this week's DJ Dossier with Maldonado or witness him in action at the Bum Squad's toy drive on December 15. Just don't try to snag a blood sample for his midichlorian count while he's on the decks.
See also: Bum Squad DJs Holiday Toy Drive at All-Starz (Slideshow)
Name: Joe Maldonado
AKA: DJ Area4
Preferred genres: Hip-hop and EDM.
Current gigs: I spin every Friday with T3PO at Macayo's Depot Cantina in Tempe. I just got back from Europe so now its time to focus on the BumSquad ToyDrive and get some more gigs.
Where else have you performed?
School of Rock, Venue Scottsdale, Celebrity Theater, Martini Ranch, Club Red, and the Clubhouse.
How did you get into the DJ game?
I started in the eighth grade. Doing house parties and making little mixes, if you could call them that. In 1998, I learned the right way to DJ by DJ Top Speed in Indianapolis. In 2000, I decided to [make it a] career. Started at Ball State University at a bar called The Chug. Cut my teeth as a club DJ then moved to Arizona in 2004 and started to expand on [my] skills.
So didn't get your DJ training at the Jedi Temple in Coruscant, like it says on your Facebook?
That was my life training.
Um...okay. You're really a Jedi then?
Do you ever use the force when DJing?
Of course...when the music and the people are moving in harmony the force takes over and controls their feet.