Touting yourself as the DJ Drama of Cleveland is a big statement. DJ E-V deserves it though. Yes, he is a radio DJ at a top 40 station, but don’t doubt this man’s hip-hop credentials. He’s been pushing the Cleveland hip-hop culture forward for more than a few years now, and he’s not stopping any time soon. Hit the break for the interview! RESPECT. : Some might kn0w you as the DJ from the top 40 station in Cleveland, can you explain why is DJ E-V hip-hip? E-V: I come from hip-hop. My roots: hip-hop. That’s how I got into DJing back in middle school. I got into the DJ world, then I took it international with pop music, house music, dupstep, but I still have everything based out of hip-hop. RESPECT. : You are kind of like the pipeline for hip-hop in Cleveland. How would you describe your role in Cleveland hip-hop? E-V: I like to take unknown artists from the east, west, everywhere and put ‘em in the speakers of everyone’s cars. It started in ’06 with Chip The Ripper. No one really knew these people. Then as far as my reach goes, I would promote them and then, boom, the songs would blow up, etc. Right now, it’s just on a bigger scale. But, even just in Cleveland, if a local artist wants us to host a mixtape, we have the outlets for them. It’s kind of like a DJ Drama thing in Atlanta. RESPECT. : You’ve hosted quite a few mixtapes over the years. How has the mixtape landscape changed? Any saturation? E-V: It’s definitely way different than 3, you know, 6 years ago. But, the real fans find what they want, and they find their genre, their style- the good stuff. It is saturated. There’s a lot of websites out there that have a ton of artists on there. Like Datpiff has way too much. There’s just way too much on there. When you go on there you’re overwhelmed. How do you know what’s good? Livemixtapes, a competitor of Datpiff, filters out for quality. There’s quality control. So, yeah, it’s saturated, but at the end of the day, the good stuff gets out. RESPECT. : In one of your videos, you were breaking MGK’s “Wildboy” record and it actually started a mosh pit and borderline riot. You did the “lost tapes” feel mixtape with some exclusive Cudi tracks a few years back. Is breaking a record your favorite part of DJing? E-V: It’s got to be one of them. The reaction from the crowd when you play the right song- that’s big. I love new music. I love new sounds. I love new voices. I love to take that and just let people hear it and let them decide if they like it or not. As a DJ, I’m on the radio, you won’t always get opportunities so you have to force it. I will always, no matter what, play a new song. Wherever I’m at, it could be a super corporate event, but you know what? I’m going to play one of the new records. I’m going to force it. If they like it, they like it. I remember DJ AM played “Day ‘n’ Nite” way back when it was just being broke. He was mixing it just enough for people to say “Whoa, what’s that? I like that!” Then he’d go onto to something like “Big Pimpin’,” you know? Something everybody knows. I get to do that for a job. Break new records. I love new music, so it’s still just fun. RESPECT. : How much power do you think a DJ carries now, especially with the outlets available to artists? E-V: I feel like we have enough, but there’s so many other variables, the web, labels, radio. I think it is pretty well acknowledged that to make or break it you don’t have to have a DJ host your CD. Shout out to the DJs who are going to hate me for saying that. We don’t have to host some of these projects. I put out a Kid Cudi mixtape a while back, then I put out a MGK mixtape so the people who liked the first mixtape are like “Ok, I trust this guy’s opinion.” Drama put out Jeezy and all these dope artists, so the fans trust him. They trust the DJ, so when they see a new CD and they don’t know it, but they know the DJ’s name next to it, then, boom, they give it a chance. That’s a marketing and branding thing. That’s the DJ’s power. Artist’s want to give the bigger DJs the music. Drama, Mick Boogie, Cinton Sparks, all those guys bigger than me, they get the stuff before I get it. I work with what I can though. The MGK’s, the (Mike) Posner’s, etc. RESPECT. : How did you link with MGK? When did you first hear about the kid in Cleveland? E-V: He was just everywhere. He wasn’t popular by any means, but he was the person that would be at every rap battle. He was just always around. I think the first time I had a conversation with him was at this airbrush shop. He would sell my mixtapes. I would bring all my mixtapes there, and we would do that on consignment. I’d go pick up the money, and he would always be around there. That was one of his first jobs. The guy who owned the spot would always point him out to me and I’d tell him to send me some music, but his manager would never send me music. So, things could have happened. We could have started working together before we did. We finally started working together later down the road once he found his little realm. RESPECT. : I know Mike Posner’s show is crazy. It is a little bit of pop. R&B and hip-hop mixed into one. MGK’s show is even crazier. You have been a part of both, opening up for MGK and DJing Posner’s show. How do you handle each crowd? E-V: At a Posner show, I would probably focus on the club atmosphere as a show DJ, but for a Kels show, there’s a lot more guys obviously, but it’s crazy because I can almost play the same sets for both their shows. Both crowds love the hip-hip. I’ll give them some electro. Obviously, the ragers at Kels’ show are hardcore and they’re going to have fun no matter what. Even if they don’t know the song, they’re still going to go hard to the beat. Same with Posner’s crowd. DJing for Posner is different because he did Europe, so when we did those shows that was amazing. It was just different. They loved uptempo, house music. I didn’t play much hip-hop when I was over there, but when I did, they went extra hard too. RESPECT. : Was that the only different between an American audience and a European audience? E-V: In Europe they seemed like they knew some house songs a lot faster, but for radio singles it’s backwards there. At the end of the day, people just like to party. I don’t want to say it’s the same, but it’s good music and good music translates all over the world. RESPECT. : You got to DJ in front of 70,000 with Posner last summer. With that said, do you prefer the stadium shows or club gigs? E-V: I walked out to do Posner’s set and I couldn’t even take it in and understand I was in front of 70,000 people. This is where the best of the best come to perform and play. How could you say no to the stadium/ arena? At the same time, the club events are more intimate. A thousand people. You can see the people’s faces. You hear other musicians talk on interviews about how different it is to play in a stadium. You can’t see people’s faces. You don’t feel individuals reacting to the music. It’s a different feeling, and they’re both great. I don’t want to take one or the other ever. RESPECT. : You have toured with big pop acts like Posner, but you also do solo DJ tours. How do they differ? E-V: Well for one, I don’t have a tour bus. You get a couple friends together. Grab the big truck and the trailer and go. I got my equipment guy. That’s about it. It’s less budgeted, but you get more in tune with the fans. We would just show up at the dorms and just hang out. It was all college shows, so it was cool. It is a lot more nitty gitty like a Warped Tour for my tour. It’s awesome. I love it. RESPECT. : You might drawn comparisons to the Skrillex’s and Deadmau5’s and the other touring DJ acts. Being based in hip-hop whereas they are based in other genres, do you mind those comparisons? E-V: I don’t mind being compared to anybody as long as they’re a good DJ. There’s so many good DJs. A lot of artists don’t like to be compared to other artists, but I don’t care as long as they’re good. I love comparisons, but at the end of the day I’m different because a lot of DJs stay in one genre. If they do break out, it’s not really that big. I feel like I’m a little bit of everything. No one really does that. I’m at pop radio station, but I have a huge hand in hip-hop as far as mixtapes. At the same time, my shows are electro driven. Even if it’s at a hip-hop show, I’ll play dubstep. I’ll mix it in with the hip-hop, and people still like it. RESPECT. : How did your music sharing website,, come about? E-V: When I was first working with Chip (Tha Ripper) back in the day we would put out mixtapes, and I’d always leak a song. When I was selling the first mixtape I did with all the local artists, I would leak a lot of the songs so one day Chip was like, “ Ahh man, you’re Leak Jones.” So like two years later, all the blogs would never put my stuff up. I was doing these mixtapes with thousands of hits and the blogs still wouldn’t show me any love, so I decided to start my own blog. The name was already there so the rest is history. RESPECT. : What do you have coming up? E-V: Right now we have the tape Reckless Wobbles (a remix mixtape hosted by Drama beats and Benzi), we have a party at SXSW, the Winter Music Conference. I’m trying to make a lot of noise down there. As far as mixtapes go, I’m doing my own original CD. I’ve got some house and hip-hop mixtapes coming. I got Ray Jr.’s (Def Jam’s latest signee) mixtape that just dropped. I’ve got a tour this Spring, and I’m doing a lot of festivals. RESPECT. : What’s the story behind the album? E-V: My style is so unique, and I play so many different genres. I don’t want people to be like, “Oh, he’s a radio DJ, he’s a hip-hop DJ, he’s a dubstep DJ.” The reason why I do all those different genes is because I love all of them. I only play what I like. With the album, I want to put something out that’s all original material. I’m going to get all the artists I know, then bring some new artists in and just put something that mixes all those genres in one. That’s exclusive, too. Just got the go ahead to start talking about it. twitter: @djEV Via RESPECT