Known for dropping digital dance parties care of Lockdown Era’s “Club Quarantine” and for starting the popular collective “Kinsey,” DJ Joopiter’s got gigs upon gigs these upcoming weeks and beyond! [Cover photo: Mike Anthony]
Thotyssey: Hey, Joopiter! You’ve been busy this season with live parties, but during lockdown you were a prolific digital DJ thanks to Club Quarantine. What are the pluses and minuses of live venues versus livestream DJing?
Joopiter: There are definite pros and cons to both. I only DJ’ed for fun pre-pandemic; virtual DJ’ing is what got me bookings in the real world. So I would say with digital, the reach you have is infinite… and that’s priceless. You never know who could be watching or listening to you. Club Quarantine gave me the opportunity and space to present that side of myself, and I’m forever thankful. The entire team has been fully supportive of me, and have taught me so much about artistry and nightlife.
Ultimately though, you just can’t beat a live venue. I need to feel the energy of real human beings in front of me; the physical and emotional reactions from a crowd can’t be beat. I always have a loose outline of my set when I step into an IRL booking, but the crowd reactions definitely inform my track selection.
So if you could, tell us a bit about yourself: where are you from originally, and was music always a part of your life?
I’m originally from Columbia, Maryland — a suburb of Baltimore. Baltimore club was probably the first time I ever heard real club music. So even though I didn’t have a language for it, I always loved club / house / electronic music.
I was a dancer first — that was my entry into performing art, and it informs the way I hear music. Most DJs count in 4’s, but I count in 8’s because I hear music like a dancer. I like to think it makes my mixing slightly different… but who knows, lol?
Fascinating! When did you begin DJing, and calling yourself Joopiter?
I bought my first controller in, I think, 2016, and very casually DJ’ed. It wasn’t until lockdown that I actually devoted time to it and took it seriously. That was the same time I started calling myself Joopiter; I’m very into astrology, and as a Sagittarius, Jupiter is my ruling planet.
And when did you become New York-centric?
I moved to NYC nine years ago!
What would a night sound like that you had complete creative DJ control over?
Whether I’m DJ’ing open to close or I’m curating a night of DJs, it’s important to me to have a range of sound and texture. I’m inspired mostly by 90s house; I love a good thumping beat and a black female vocal, but an extended set from me travels through genre and speed. Disco, house, Jersey / Baltimore club, jungle, footwork all have a place in my sets, depending on the booking / time of night.
When I’m curating a lineup of multiple DJs, it’s the same concept. I spend a lot of time listening to other local DJs; there is so much talent to be discovered and inspired by in Brooklyn. I have a pretty good idea of people’s sounds and aesthetic, and that makes it easier when it’s time to whip up a lineup. I can pull someone who’s underground and clubby, someone who plays in hyperpop, someone who’s house-y, someone who is open format. I want you to be able to hear everything.
You’re well-known for “Kinsey” (as in Kinsey Scale), an event brand which has popped up in a few venues recently like Starr Bar, Sultan Room and Trans-Pecos.
That’s a collective I started in June of 2020; I was inspired by both the shutdown and a resurgence of the BLM movement. I wanted to give artists a virtual place to perform, the community a place to escape and feel joy while stuck at home, and also use it as a way to raise money for black and queer led organizations. I raised about $5000 for various organizations before taking the party into physical spaces when that became an option.
We [at Kinsey] are making our out-of-state debut in Philly on October 13th, soon to be announced through a partnership with a queer collective called Solar Sounds. We are also in the process of establishing a monthly residency here in Brooklyn, details about that are coming this Fall.
There are lots of exciting things coming up with Kinsey. We took a step back from events this year to focus on building internally and planning years out. It’s important to me that we are more than just a party; we want to be a network and hub for artists and art of all mediums. What does Kinsey look like in fashion? In visual art? In theater? In music? In nightlife? These are the questions we took time asking ourselves.
We want to give a platform to up-and-coming artists, and help facilitate their growth and bring their ideas into fruition. We’re getting ready to relaunch, and there you’ll see the new members who have come on to the team and the ideas and events we’ve been working on. I’m very excited.
You’ve got some fun stuff coming up! You’ll be on board the Circle Line this weekend for Ty Sunderland’s “Gayflower,” for one thing. Have you done boat parties before?
Never! It’ll be my first one, I’m excited! We’re doing back-to-back Beyoncé boats on Friday and Saturday — all Beyoncé and Beyoncé adjacent music and remixes. You can, of course, expect to hear all of Renaissance throughout the night. Ty has such an illustrious career I hope to model my own after; this will be my second time working for him, and I’m happy to have the opportunity.
On Friday the 30th, you’ll be serving “shorty disco” at Cmon Everybody via Studio 5’4″ with resident DJ Fur Trap and fellow guest DJ Stubaby, plus queen Jo Disco! That should be everything!
Yeah, that’ll be super fun! I love the concept and name. As a fellow shorty, I’m honored to be included, lol!
And looking ahead, you’ll be at House of Yes on Halloween for “Gala of the Gone” alongside DJ Amber Valentine! That should also be a ki, but also OMG what are you gonna wear?
Yes! It has been a dream to play House of Yes, and I was so happy when they reached out. Amber is such a lovely person and a nightlife staple, and I always love working with her.
I have no idea what I’m wearing yet! It’s my favorite holiday, and I always wanna make a pop culture reference… but end up throwing something together last minute, lol. I need, like, three looks, too. We’ll see what happens this year!
All great events to look forward to! Lastly: what’s your best advice for a baby DJ who wants to make it on the scene?
Seriously be a self-starter. You can teach yourself anything, whether it’s reaching out to other people in the field or spending hours on YouTube each day. Study. Learn the craft. Learn the history. And make sure you’re doing it because you love it, and not to be seen.
You don’t have to be perfect because a lot of the growth comes from real world experience, but once you feel more confident in your abilities, start making mixes. Post them. Ask friends to listen. Send them to people you love and respect. Take the notes and apply them.
Find some open decks to attend; these are places where you can just sign up and spin. Get some live experience. Make your presence known. You really have to advocate for yourself in this industry. The number of emails and DMs I’ve sent… I can’t even remember, lol. But I was confident in myself, and I was able to back it up with skill. Chase your dream. Fight for it.
Check Thotyssey’s calendar for DJ Joopiter’s upcoming appearances, and follow him on Instagram and Soundcloud.