DJ Intel
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DJ Intel

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1996
DJ Electronic Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Think hip-hop was best back in the day? These DJs agree."

Remember the first time you heard Dr. Dre’s The Chronic? For many, it was a revelation. Let’s just say Dre’s new single, “Kush,” doesn’t have the same impact. With a familiar-sounding hook from the ubiquitous Akon, it fails to stand apart from anything else the club jocks spin nightly. Thankfully, Chicago has a strong community of DJs loyal to rap’s glory days and the contemporary artists who carry on the tradition. If you need a break from Taio Cruz, T-Pain and Trey Songz, here are two local jocks you should check out.
DJ Intel, 32
HIS SOUND “I love to play all genres of music, but ideally I just get deep into hip-hop, downtempo and instrumental beats.”
HIS START “I first became interested in deejaying by going to hip-hop parties in the ’90s. I was always fascinated by the way a DJ could control the vibe of a party. My older brother got a mail-order ‘DJ in a box’ kit and I became a bedroom DJ. Shortly after that, a friend passed me mix-tapes from DJ QBert, Rip One and Rhettmatic. I had never heard scratching like that ever.”
HIS STYLE “My ideal sets, I just get to do me. Even when I play commercial spots, you’re still going to hear me. It may be a remix I did or a song that I think flat-out crushes it as well as the newest hot song. I strive to be different and challenge the crowd a bit.”
BUMPING ON HIS HEADPHONES “Qwel & Maker and the latest from Pugs Atomz are fantastic, and they’re from Chicago. I’m also digging Abdominal, Homeboy Sandman and King Fantastic. At least that’s what my iPhone playlist looks like.”
FAVE LOCAL DJS “Moppy, Shazam Bangles and Rice the Sound Transmitter. They do an Internet DJ show on UStream called Cutz on Cuts [Wednesdays at 5pm,].”
RESIDENCIES The Dirty Social at Butterfly Social Club, the third Saturday of the month; the Messaround at rodan, the last Saturday of the month
- Time Out Chicago

"DJ Intel The man of eight residencies gives us his list of prized records."

If there's one thing I can say with certainty, it's that DJing isn't easy. There are many flavors to keep in mind when mixing a set, including crowd control, vibe, song order and style, and if a DJ happens to be tasteless in any of those departments he or she may as well call it quits. I've seen crowds turn on DJs within three songs, which makes the DJ culture as ruthless as it is rewarding. So when I wanted to interview a representative of this unique world, I looked for a person that was experienced and talented enough to have seen it and done it all, and the name that inevitably came to mind was Intel.

Known as one of the hardest-working DJs around, Intel has become synonymous with the Chicago hip-hop scene. As a budding DJ he learned the ropes from legendary DJs Spryte, Adapt (both from Chicago Tribe) and PNS (Molemen), who collectively provided Intel with enough insight to confidently venture off on his own. Since then he's held down numerous residencies (at one point he held eight), and his sets, often described as "instant party starters," have earned him opening spots for high-profile artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Rakim, Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples and Atmosphere to name a few. But what makes Intel a pillar in Chicago's unforgiving nightlife scene is his ability to appeal to the dance-floor fanatics as much as the immobile barflies-often within the same set at that. I caught up with Intel on a rare off night and was lucky enough to hear about how it all got started and the records that ignited the fire.

How did you become interested in DJing?
I first got interested in DJing from attending parties throughout Chicago. I was always fascinated by the way a DJ could control the entire vibe and mood of a party. My brother bought the "scratch master" DJ kit, which was a pair of BD10's and a mixer, from the back pages of The Source magazine. I started messing around on his decks, learning to blend and scratch. I eventually started buying my own records and got my first set of 1200 turntables. I met up with the original Chicago Tribe guys, Spryte and Adapt, and we started throwing our own parties.

Do you remember your first record?
The first cassette tapes I ever bought were The Real Roxanne, a Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five collection, and I believe Licensed To Ill. The first CD I ever bought was Urban Dance Squad's second album. My first record I bought as a listener was the "Jam On It" 12 inch single by Newcleus. We used to breakdance hardcore to that song. And of course Michael Jackson's Thriller on vinyl when it came out. I'm pretty sure almost everyone bought that though; nothing like a sweet gatefold picture of Mike. I don't remember the first record I actually bought when I started to DJ though. I used to buy so many; no rent no bills.

Take me back to your first gig.
My first DJ gig out in public was at The Playhouse in Forest Park, Illinois. It was the first of many Chicago Tribe parties. Somehow we got DJ PNS to come out to the burbs to DJ. Surprisingly this party popped off pretty hard. I remember mixing in my bedroom for like a week picking out the perfect records and order to play them in. I still have the flyer: a full-page black and white xerox hand-drawn flyer. Those were the days.

You've DJ'd for a lot of artists. Which were your favorites and which were the worst?
There's been a lot of really great shows I've been lucky to be a part of. When I think favorites, Scott Hendy and Andy Smith at Smartbar, Africa Bambaataa at Smartbar, MF Doom at Metro, Steinski at Smartbar and the Wu-Tang Clan at House of Blues all come to mind. 2009 has barely started and I have a ton of favorite moments already. I'm very excited for this year.

I don't think I have any least favorites. I can say there's been some events that should have been better attended but that always happens. I guess I can say the Florida stop on the DJ Vadim Soundcatcher tour was maybe my least favorite. We made the best of it though. Have you ever seen DJ Vadim rap and sing his own songs? I have.

Now as a DJ you're essentially in the heart of Chicago nightlife, so you got to give me at least one crazy story.
I DJ'd a Tony Touch and DJ Muggs party at a club called Circus in Chicago. They had Tony Touch in the main room playing party jams, and they stuck Muggs and I in the back lounge room. The room pretty much consisted of veiled beds, couches, a bar and DJ booth. We were playing downtempo and hip-hop while people were getting faded and making out. We basically became people's make-out mixtape. A little weird.

Maybe the craziest thing to happen was at the Ghostface Killah show at Joe's. A rapper named Tru Life started a glass-bottle fight with the crowd. I got caught in the middle of it on stage, and tried to cover the turntables and stay safe. Insane and Intense. I thought the show would get shut down for sure, but Ghost showed up and rocked the hell out of that place. Maybe add the Ghostface performance to my favorites list.

Worrying about the tables before your own safety? A true DJ indeed. How do you feel about the city ordinance they're trying to pass - the one where independent promoters have to get a ridiculously expensive insurance liability?
I'm very opposed to it. It will silence the voice of many up-and-coming bands, DJs, rappers, etc. I would be nowhere if I wasn't able to throw and promote my own shows.

Favorite venues to spin at?
I really enjoy the sound at Smartbar and Spy Bar. I always have a blast at darkroom (he plays with Arthur Baker on Thursday, April 2) and Funky Buddha. Lava and Metro have always been good to me. And any place in Northern California, and Portland.

Favorite chill spots?
Places I go to chill? I like going to the movies and cooking. So I'm going to say my house is my favorite chill spot. If I go out, probably Lava on a Tuesday night. There really aren't enough downtempo chill lounge nights left in Chicago. I wish there was. I'll get to work on that.

What are your most prized records?
DJ Shadow, "What Does Your Soul Look Like" (Mo'Wax), 1995
I remember first hearing this track and it completely blew my mind. So smooth and so soulful. How can you not like it? It completely changed my outlook on music and DJing.

Portishead, "Mysterons" (Go! Discs/London), 1994
Q101 had a 120-minute kind of show a while back and they were talking about this up-and-coming group Portishead. They played two tracks and I was completely sold. The next day I went out and bought the album on vinyl. I used to always play out this track.

Al Kooper, Steve Stills and Mike Bloomfield, "Season Of The Witch" (Columbia), 1968
I'm not really sure why I'm picking this song, it just seems right. I can listen to it like 20 times in a row and not get sick of it.

Grace Jones, "Williams Blood" Aeroplane rejected remix (Wall of Sounds), 2008
OK, well the source material isn't new, but Aeroplane's take is. It rolls so smooth and solid - deep and hypnotic. I have no idea why Jones's label would reject this.

Troublemaker, "Follow The Leader" (Hollyrock), 2007
It has a nice, melodic, dubsteppish vibe. A real speaker beater. Play it loud and melt faces. - Center Stage


DJ Intel has released many mixes on CD, Cassette and now in downloadable formats.

His turntablist work has also been featured on several albums including:

Pugs Atomz "Playing with Matches LP" Audio 8

Pugs Atomz "Vandal Squad 12" Audio 8 recordings

Pugs Atomz " Pugs Atomz Presents Cta Radio Chicago Hip Hop Compilation" Raptivism records

Pugs Atomz "Man of the people Vinyl EP"
Headnock Records

Pugs Atomz "Conversations with a ChamelionLP"
Enohes Music/Gravel records

Pugs Atomz "Rooftop"
SoFlo Entertainment

Pugs Atomz and Grant Parks "Kinda Like a Rapper"
Fat Beats

Pugs Atomz "The Decade"



Solid technical skill, unmatchable versatility, and a true love for music are among the many things that separate DJ Intel from his contemporaries. His unique style makes him a fan favorite. DJ Intel's ability to spin many genres, including house, rock, dubstep and contemporary as well as hip hop classics, keeps the dance floor full and leaves the people wanting more at the end of the night.

DJ Intel's interest in turntablism began in the mid 90's. He looked up to such Chicago legends as DJ PNS and Tone B Nimble and soon began the journey of perfecting his craft. Armed with his brother's hand-me-down turntables, a mixer and passion, he would begin to make his name as one of Chicago's premier party starters.

Along with being a founding member of both The Comeups (along side DJ Pickel and Galapagos4 and Now and Again records recording artist Maker) and the DMC and ITF champion Platter Pirates (along side Spryte, Kico, and Vajra), DJ Intel holds down several residencies through out Chicago and has worked everything from charitable events to B boy battles to fashion shows, with crowds ranging from 15 to thousands. He has also preformed at events with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Afrika Bambaataa and Z- Trip as well as headlined major music events such as Lollapalooza and SXSW.

DJ Intel has also taken his show on the road with several tours, most notably a 32 state excursion with then Ninja Tune's DJ Vadim. He has also traveled to grace the main stage of many legendary parties including, The Root Down, Low End Theory and The Music Machine. DJ Intel's skill extends beyond his live performance. He was voted 'Best MixTape DJ' by WNUR's Time Travel Show and the web community on DJZTRIP.COM. New York Post and Entertainment Weekly have also taken note of his outstanding abilities.

So, when you are headed to a party and you see DJ Intel on the bill you can guarantee that you are in for an amazingly diverse party, full of nonstop dancing and entertainment.

Band Members