On Point With: DJ Liiiam

This young DJ on the scene is grabbing more and more Brooklyn gigs… and soon Manhattanites will get their Liiiam fix as well!

Thotyssey: Hello Liam, thanks for chatting with us today!

DJ Liiiam: Thanks for taking some time to do so!

How’s the season been treating you?

This summer has been packed — lots of working, but also tons of new experiences and absorbing of new information both DJ-wise and beyond. I feel very grateful and full of gratitude for it all.

It’s been a noteworthy summer for all DJs, thanks in large part to Beyoncé’s Renaissance! That album dropped a few weeks ago, and you spun a listening party at Farewell when it did.

Yes, that party definitely is going down as one of my favorite moments thus far. The BeyHive knows how to show up and show out for Queen Bey, and my Haus of Renegade family (rotating, but often consists of Johnathan Owens, Thee Queen Princess, Neon Calypso, DJ Lady Simon, and Paris Marie) worked their asses off to make it special.

What are your thoughts on the album, now that it’s been out for a bit?

To keep it brief: her foot is still firmly on my neck, and I am so okay with it.

You also DJed much of Zavaleta’s weekly “BitchFest” competition, which just had its grand finale at C’mon Everybody (congrats winner Gray Aria)! What was it like to be a part of that whole process?

Zavaleta has been so kind to me as I’ve started getting my footing in this nightlife world. I was lucky enough to have engaged with every group competing at least once, and I feel the biggest takeaway was just that truly no other city has quite the same range of talent, artistic vision, and commitment to a craft as Brooklyn. Every single person was there to do their best and learn and study their arc, and that was repeatedly so admirable to witness.

So it’s origin story time! Where are you from originally, and what sort of music did you grow up with?

Where to begin! I am a Minneapolis kid, originally. Early on I was drawn to the big pop stars of the time: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney, etc. Their power as stars pulled me in with such force, and I began to study every note and music video to a T. They have continued to stay with me to this day, and inform how I approach DJing now.

Sound editing I also started doing a lot, when I was like 8 or 9. A lot of the mashup edits I play in my sets are from when I was a teenager, funnily enough. I never knew they’d come in handy, but I’m glad I’ve kept them all these years.

I would also note that I was a classical violinist for ten years, so that informs a lot of my choices now sonically. Music and I went hand in hand growing up.

How did you come to find yourself as a New York DJ?

I originally came to NY to dance, and to make friends I would go to gay bars. Increasingly I found myself hanging by the DJ booth, just watching how people at the time did their thing. I was enamored by the craft of DJing. Then with Covid hitting and so much dance going digital, I needed a better and more fitting outlet. My roommate had bought a Pioneer deck, and after a couple tries I got one and started practicing.

Eventually I felt confident enough to show people, and convinced a friend to let me DJ their birthday party. From there it just kind of snowballed, and people started seeing me randomly at the Rosemont and would reach out about if I did other things. Now we’re here! I’ve met some really incredibly sweet and passionate folks so far, and it’s been great to offer something in service of nightlife spaces that have given so much to me.

What might a dance party you were spinning sound like if you were given full creative freedom?

What a question. If I had a night where I was spinning a dance party to my own accord, it would definitely be bursting at the seams with Pop and R&B deep cuts. I love surprising listeners with songs you may not hear often or you maybe forgot about all together. There would also be a lot of singing, hooting and hollering, pop-up performances, and it’s a DJ Liiiam party so there will also be immaculately smooth transitions. The pulse of the music won’t stop till the dance floor is empty!

How do you like DJing drag shows? That’s it’s own skill set, really!

My favorite thing about DJing for drag is the collaborative possibility. It’s one thing to hit “play” for a drag number, and then go back to what I was doing. But when a performer or performance can inform my choices… there’s nothing like it, I think… specifically working with the incredible Neon Calypso. We so often play off of each other and create really special, spontaneous moments that are fun, and also keep us both on our toes. She could mention a random song lyric on the mic, and I feel inclined to find the track and just start playing it. It’s a back and forth that doesn’t always happen every drag show I do… but when it does, I never want to stop!

You’ve got a few drag show gigs coming up… first off, this Wednesday’s “Dream Queen” at Metro hosted by Devo Monique and Mocha Lite.

Yes, yes! It’s my first time working with the two of them. And my friend Paris L’Hommie is a guest performer, so I’m very excited about that show.

You’re gonna be the DJ in the house for a show premiere this Thursday at The Q: “TragiQ,” starring Zavaleta and Blue!

I’m super excited to continue working with Zava and Blue every Thursday at The Q. I know we’re gonna be having a lot of fun, bringing a lot of Brooklyn over into Hell’s Kitchen. And knowing them, I can be certain you’ll never get the same show twice! Hopefully folks can stop by and immerse themselves in the magic.

And you’ll be back in Brooklyn next Wednesday (August 24) DJing another show, “Control Alt Delete” produced by and starring Obscura and Allison Wonderland!

Oh my God, Thotyssey–you know my whole schedule! I first collaborated with Obscura and Allison last month on the “Stefani²” show, which only happened because I literally begged Obscura for the DJ spot. I’m grateful to them for taking a chance on me, and for having me back again.

This month we’re homaging the Alt-Pop legends. I’m excited about this one because it’s going to get me to spin artists I love, but don’t play quite as often. On my end, get ready to hear a lot of MARINA, Lily Allen, Santigold, FKA Twigs, and Natalia Kills. We also are having the amazing Dawn, Bijou Bentley, Calliope, and Alice Noir join in the celebrations. I’m really pumped for this next installment and even more excited for what is to come after!

Anything else to report?

That’s all the stuff I have coming up. It’s a great honor to chat with you, thank you Thotyssey! I also want to give a shoutout to everyone who has continued to come out for the artists and creatives that make the bars here what they truly are! Thank YOU for keeping us filled. Thank YOU for making us feel supported. Onward and upward from here!

I second that! And thank YOU, Liam!

Check Thotyssey’s calendar for Dj Liiiam’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Instagram, Soundcloud and MixCloud.

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