#DJFOCUS INTERVIEW DJ FAB ROC & DJ MISS MILAN
I recently caught up with two of the most in demand female DJ’s on the New York music scene right now and a chat to find out how they first got started!
Hey ladies, first of all I wanted to start by getting to know some more about your background, are you both originally born and raised in New York? If so where specifically?
Fab: I’m from NY, was born in Manhattan and lived in Queens for a few years before moving to Rockland County.
Milan: Yes I am from New York, born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens.
How has where you grew up influenced your musical tastes?
F: I’m Haitian, so a lot of my growing up music was Caribbean as well as classic R&B, Jazz, I was also a z100 kid - I didn’t get into Hip Hop until middle school years, therefore I have a lot of rock/soft rock and pop influence in my taste of music.
M: I come from a Caribbean / Bajan background, so growing up I was always listening to all types of music from Reggae and Soca to Hip Hop and Jazz, everything was played in my house.
Have you always wanted to become a DJ or did you have plans to fulfil other career paths in music / other fields?
M: Growing up I created a girl group and thought we were going to be the next Destiny’s Child lol, but singing and dancing is something that I’ve always been apart of musically, it wasn’t until I got older and wanted to do something different but still in the music lane is when I wanted to become a DJ.
F: Nope! I grew up watching my cousin make a living from being a DJ but he was based in Miami. My Dad was in the music and entertainment industry and a career through that path was never really encouraged by my parents. Less than 2-years ago is when I decided to look into it, then I started taking classes and next thing you know I was full swing into DJing. It was one of those things I wish I started so much earlier but truly believe it’s meant for me.
Are you lucky enough to be able to DJ full time or are you also currently juggling a day grind if so how hard do you find it balancing the two?
F: Not yet - hopefully soon. My day-grind thankfully is aligned with the industry so it’s not too bad. I plan events and market a downtown venue in NYC, where I get to do the programming and book events for the venue.
M: I wouldn’t say lucky, more so blessed, really having the determination, discipline & working smart towards my dreams caused me to be able to live the life that I do. Not to say having a 9-5 to help with your goals and dreams isn’t an option, I just know myself and what I’m capable of doing to fit my standard of success.
What was your first DJ booking experience like?
F: I was terrified. A friend let me open for his birthday and I remember wanting to throw up before I started. Those jitters went away quick.
M: My very first booking was a baby shower and I had to play for 6 hours. I remember being excited because I was taking lessons and really practicing so to get a booking for that long was dope to me. The next day I got booked to DJ at Starlets which at the time was growing into Queens most popular strip club and I was more nervous to play there for an hour but ended up doing pretty good my first time.
With so many talented DJ’s on the New York music scene how do you set yourself apart from the rest to continue to guarantee being booked for events regularly? Is it a difficult scene to be on?
M: I just really focus on me and what it is that I bring to the turntables, I genuinely enjoy what I do so its never forced or faked and I do believe that it shows each time I perform. My style isn’t just dropping records, I’m here to really perform and give you all a show.
F: Yes and no. I pride myself on talent, song selection, and my personality. I strive to give people a musical journey. I’m not pressed on what time I play - it’s all important to me. I try to select music that triggers past memories, emotions, and shit that you haven’t heard in a minute and forgot about. I try to give that “wow” factor with my selections.
Milan you have regular residency every Sunday at Arlo Hotels in the city for their Champagne Sunday’s, tell us a bit about that, how did that come about?
My manager Chanel actually got me that booking. Each Sunday during the summer I’ll be spinning at Arlo Hotel Rooftop located in Soho, brunch is served from 1-4 along with some dope vibes provided by me. I’m able to play any and everything because the crowd is so diverse and just want to have a great time.
Fab you recently got to spend your birthday in Bermuda and to top it off DJ there, how was that experience for you?
It was amazing. Being able to travel to a new country and also play for a new group of people was really a blessing and the best way to spend my birthday. I don’t consider it work since I love it. I also got to connect with locals and see what music they’re listening to, new artists coming up, etc.
Milan you featured as a special guest DJ on Charlamagne’s MTV2 show ‘Uncommon Sense’ how did that opportunity come about and did it open up a lot of doors in terms of demand in bookings after?
Thanks to a good friend and mentor Taxstone, he was able to put in a good word for me and thought as well that it would be a dope look. I mean it definitely put me in a good spotlight but being asked to come back again for a second time meant I knew that I was doing something right when the crowd and producers really enjoyed my energy and set.
Fab you have a podcast called 'Last Call’ can you tell us about that, are there any episodes coming up soon we should look out for?
A friend actually started this podcast and asked me to be a voice on it. We’ve been recording just short of a year now so it’s been a great tool for me to get used to speaking with and to people on a platform. Some past episodes that are my favourite are the ones with Tracy G, Chris Goins, and Jonathan form Blavity.
Both of you get booked fairly often to DJ at events on the same line up together in particular at Kim Chanel and Junae Brown’s events, what would you say has been one of your favourite events you have DJ’d at together?
F: I think my favourite event we’ve both been on was the Loud Speaker Network Holiday party. I opened for Milan and the room was activated. She went on and took it into a Southern direction and killed it. It was also a chill vibe where people were kicking it.
M: The energy of Kim & Junae’s events are always on 100% and I enjoy listening to Fab play when I do catch her spinning.
What would you consider your biggest moment of DJ career so far?
F: I was fortunate enough to be featured in Essence Magazine twice. One of them the Obama’s were on the cover. That moment I still don’t think I’ve fully processed.
M: My biggest moment of my DJ career so far would be being on T.V and being able to say I did a tour so far with the 4 Lovers Only Tour I recently was just on.
Have either of you had your own show on a radio station before? Is being a DJ on air something that would be of interest to you?
F: Honestly I wouldn’t mind – radio has so much politics though as far as what you can/cannot play. I think satellite is the way to go like Beats One. Having a show like Soulection would be TIGHT.
M: Not on a actual FM station but as far as internet radio yes, a good friend of mine DJ Ernz & myself once hosted a weekly music segment. In my DJ career I wouldn’t mind doing it to say I did it but it isn’t something that is always a must.
If you could DJ for any artist and go on tour as their official DJ, one being a major international artist and the other being an independent artist who would they be?
F: Rihanna. Sza… as far as independent, Mike Classic.
M: Of course Beyonce, Rihanna or Sza because I’m all of them in one form lol, I dig their music, message and boss ass chick mentality so for sure my top three. Independent artist, my girl Connie Diiamond is a artist that needs to be watched because her music, style and creativity is gonna blow people away. I’m already her DJ so thats one out of two lol.
Where has been your favourite city or country to DJ so far and where is on your list to go? Hopefully we can see you in London some time soon!
M: That would have to be LA & ATL so far, they really gave me so much love and energy. Yes international bookings are up next, the only one I’ve done so far was Bermuda but definitely need to come to UK and make it happen!
F: I would love to go to London - just say the word!! haha
I DJ'ed Austin and that was fun… I still have a lot more work to do but I’d love to do North Cali, Miami, Haiti, Paris, and Spain would be fun!
Finally tell us what you have coming up, any events that people should check you out at etc!
F: Follow me on bandsintown.com/FabRoc or my website fabrocpresents.com and all my gigs are posted there… outside of NYC I’ll be in Tallahassee for FAMU Homecoming on Oct 13th.
For NYC - Camp Ryan pool party on July 23
Sound & Vibes with DJ Enuff on August 12
and a few other gigs in between :)
M: Definitely head over to DJMissMilan.com and stay tuned for more of #TheMilanExperience!
Make sure you follow the ladies on social media:
Twitter and IG: @Fab_Roc_ / @djmissmilan