Some call him DJ Youngchamp. Some call him Mr. 413. Some just call him "Champ."
But whenever you call city resident David Dias, 27, to the dancefloor, he'll be there in a heartbeat, mixing tunes to make you move and groove. That is his mission, though one that came about unexpectedly.
Here, Dias, aka DJ Youngchamp, talks with The Eagle about learning to mix, being on a VH1 flier and the one genre of music that will always make people happy.
How long have you been a deejay?
A: I've only been doing this coming on four years next year. But I've been into music producing and mixing beats since I was 19.
Q: How did you get into deejaying then?
A: My friend (Berkshire native Brad Batory, aka Indashio) does celebrity fashion design. We go way back. He was one of my first friends when my family moved here.
Anyway, he knows I've always been into music, so he would book me for his gigs and then I started doing weddings and small events like that. I think that really catapulted me into being a deejay. It was nothing I planned or set out to do, but I saw that I could make money and have fun with it.
Q: So where did the deejay name "DJ Young champ" come from?
A: Everyone calls me "Ch amp" in general. I was young when I started producing. So it got put together. I guess I was being lazy. [Laughs]
Q: What kind of music do you work with?
A:Honestly, I think a lot of people book me because I do play everything. If you book me to play a certain genre, I'll do that. I don't mind taking requests. When it comes to the "who" I play for, it's everything from young people in the clubs to the Class of 1960 reunion in Lee.
Q: So how did you get into producing?
A:I'm happy that I'm savvy with computers. I used my first beat-making program in 2000, called Fruity Loops -- sounds funny, I know. It's a software that's also known as FL Studios. I fell in love with it, and pretty much stopped going to work just to get better at it. I sold a couple of songs I made on it, so that was pretty cool.
Right now, I'm working on getting my LLC established so I can do more with production. Producing is what made me like deejaying. It's all about the timing in beats and the transition. No one likes it in the club when a song just stops and it takes what feels like five minutes for the next one to come on. I don't want to be that deejay.
Q: Where do you deejay in the Berkshires?
A: I started out at Cham e leons, and I'm still there from time to time. I'm at The Underground a lot. I've done The A (GEAA) and Skyline Country Club. I'll be at Spice Dragon on New Year's Eve. I also do Northampton, Albany and Saratoga, N.Y.
Q:What kind of vibe do you try to create when you're working a dancefloor?
A:I want people dancing. I hate it when people are just looking at each other and mean muggin' or whatever you call it. You're always going to have someone like that and that can just start a fight. But if everyone's dancing and having a good time then there's none of that. I just want everyone to be peaceful, to have fun, get some beer and go home.
Q:Speaking of Facebook, I notice you're associated with a group I've seen a lot on promotional fliers as "#shutdownteam." What's that all about?
A:I actually started the Shutdown Team. It's a little project of mine. One day I was working with one of my friends, Carlton Rose, and we were talking about putting together a team of deejays, and he said it was alright. So we had a couple of shows and had them get out front at the start a little bit, and mix a little bit and the people loved it.
The idea is that if you can't get into one place [to work] you can always get into another place. I take all my music and put it on their laptops, so that way wherever they go or wherever anyone wants to hear my music they can take it there. All of us make money every weekend. It's also made my name carry out a lot more in places. It's a good project.
Q:I saw that another association you've had is with VH1's reality television show "Love and Hip Hop." Tell me about that.
A:You know Jim Jones? Well it was when his lady Chrissy Lampkin and Kimberly "Kimbella" Vanderhee were in Saratoga at a place called Duo Lounge. They were really cool people, down to earth. It was cool being on a flier with a VH1 logo. It was about two years ago when I had just started getting into deejaying more heavily.
Q:How else do you try to promote yourself?
A: I just try to convince people to give me a chance. I've been working with the same promoter, Lamel Hubbard from S&L Productions, for a number of years. Some deejays only care about getting famous. All I want to do is do this and live comfortably.
Q:How has it been trying to do that around the Berkshires?
A:This town, I've been seeing it, diversity-wise, is changing a huge amount, and it's not even about minorities and playing hip hop. I've done parties with straight corporate people where I'll put DMX on and all of a sudden they're dancing like crazy. People like a range of music.
In terms of producing and promoting, I've brought in four major signed acts to Pittsfield in the last two years: Producer/rapper Ron Browz (Worked on "Ether" with Nas, and "Pop Champagne" with Jim Jones and Juelz Santana); Sheek Louch (member of The LOX and co-founder of D-Block Records with Styles P and Jadakiss); Cassidy (has worked with R. Kelly, Ruff Ryders, Swizz Beatz); and DJ Dyber.
What we want to do is bring acts like this in once a month. Out here we can only get certain artists with a certain price range because of capacity -- we only have club spaces that can fit 250 at most. But it's more about the outcome and more about the support. We can't do it ourselves.
It's weird, because I'll do big shows in another city then come back here. Yeah, it's weird, but I love this little city.
Q:Any advice for someone who is wanting to try being a deejay or a young producer?
A: Don't stop doing anything you love, because there's always going to be one person in every kind of group trying to bring you down. Keep on pursuing whatever it is you want to do.
Q: You mentioned you're always up dating your music. Anything new you're playing?
A: Samantha J -- She's like a pop/reggae sound and looks like a young Shakira. Also Mack Wilds, new Chris Brown, French Montana, definitely DJ Spinking. Pretty much anything dance-wise. Nothing nowadays is about actual music. No one listens to the words. It's like Lil Wayne -- he makes no sense. I would never listen to Lil Wayne if he didn't have good beats.
Q: What do you like listening to these days?
A: I don't really listen to hardcore hip hop. I'm more into party hip hop now. I don't want to listen about people getting shot anymore.
Q:Anything you play that universally gets just about anyone out on the dance floor?
A: I'm Jamaican so I'm going to say reggae. It's going to make everyone happy. It's happy music.