Jay Valdez, also known as DJ Akshen, is an energy power house. Originally from Los Angeles, Valdez resides in Phoenix where he owns and operates Kreative Development LLC which specializes in weddings as well as private and corporate events. He serves on the advisory committee for an accredited DJ program at Scottsdale Community College and manages and teaches the DJ program at Cyphers – The Center for the Urban Arts. In addition to writing and developing workshops, he judges local and national DJ competitions and performs at some of the hottest nightspots across the country and overseas. Valdez is also a special guest DJ on the Disney Dream — a ship that is part of the Disney Cruise Lines fleet. Through seamless mixes and a sharp sense of selection, he can transform any venue — whether it’s a club, live stage, bar, or even the deck of a cruise ship — into an all-night party. Read on and get to know more about your fellow DJ.
1. How and when did you get started as a DJ?
My brother introduced me to DJing back in 1984. I was also heavily influenced by KDAY 1580 AM in Los Angeles. I would listen to KDAY Mix Masters Tony G and Julio G, record their shows on cassettes, and work for hours trying to learn their techniques. I worked hard on developing my skills and still consider myself a student of the game.
2. Is this a full-time job or something you do on the side?
DJing is not only my job, it’s my career and my life.
3. What fixtures are included in your setup?
I have a monthly residency at the Bar Smith nightclub located in downtown Phoenix. My setup features a DJ Bank effect light and a MotionDrape LED backdrop. I’m looking to add the LX5 effect light, a COLORpalette wash panel and two SlimPAR 38 wash lights.
4. What is your favorite fixture and why?
My favorite fixture is the Geyser RGB. The combination of light and fog is brilliant. Plus, the effect it brings on stage is second to none.
5. Best advice you can give someone just getting started in the DJ industry?
Practice, practice, practice. Network, network, network.
6. What are your top three most requested songs?
I don’t take requests — I take suggestions. If it works with what I am doing at the time, then I will definitely throw it in, but if it doesn’t, then it will have to wait. I’m not killing the vibe for anybody, unless they are writing my check. I am a DJ not a jukebox.