Photos by Red Bull Content Pool
Red Bull Thre3style Regional Battle welcomed Washington, DC’s own Matt “DJ Trayze” Alexander to Philadelphia along with 4 other DJs to compete for an opportunity to advance to the U.S. finals in California. After winning the DC competition on January 25th DJ Trayze got right back into practice mode. DJ Trayze found himself practicing everyday in between competitions. His wife Morgan, is one of his biggest fans and supporters. In the years prior to the competition DJ Trayze had taken a break from DJ’ing.
It was Morgan who pushed him to get back into his art. In fact she was so determined to push him to do so that she purchased him new equipment for his birthday. There isn’t a DJ alive that can resist new equipment! DC salutes Morgan for her knack for talent! She was on to something that DJ Trayze could no longer deny. He was meant for this. When asked which sport would he compare the Red Bull Thre3style Battle to he answered “Baseball. There is a certain level of skill combined with finesse involved in this competition.” DJ Trayze notes practice as essential, yet he likes to have room to freestyle during his set if necessary. He set-up a full DJ set-up in his hotel room in order to practice before the show. Red Bull gave the DJs red carpet treatment at the Warm-Up Party which is a dinner/meet and greet for the competitors and press.The competitors also spin about a 30 minute set. Trayze felt that this was a great opportunity to kick it with the other DJs in the competition as well as an opportunity to hear them spin in a setting with less competitive pressure. I met up with Trayze in the hotel lobby the day of the event just to ask him a few questions about how he was feeling.
What have you been up to since you got to Philadelphia?
Trayze: After the warm-up party Red Bull treated the DJs to the Quest Love show at Sound Garden. It was actually pretty cool to see him spin being that most people see him mostly with the roots. DJ Phsh (also a competitor) opened up for Quest Love. I actually enjoyed his set just as much if not more than Quest Love’s set. After this I met up with a few friends of mine who are also DJs and went to check out Voyeur (the venue for the competition).
What are you most excited about in regards to the competition?
I am excited about performing but also hype about meeting the judges. DJ Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak and Z-Trip are legends to me. I am just excited for them to hear me spin. I bought my vinyl copy of the Fresh Prince and Dj Jazzy Jeff’s 1988 album “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.” One side has a picture of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the other side of Wil Smith. I want to get DJ Jazzy Jeff to sign the side with his picture on it. DJ A-Trak is like my idol. He won the DMC at 15. These dudes are like legends to me.
How much does position in the competition affect the competitor?
The ideal position is 4th or 5th. Being last can be a gift and a curse because you’re last to make and impression which is cool, but you also run the risk of everyone in the competition having played the songs you were going to play. You’re not supposed to repeat songs during the competition. Being second to last is best.
Trayze was in good spirits and really chill in the hours leading up to the competition.
Despite his excitement he was trying his best to preserve his energy for the competition. He was most concerned about keeping his set clean and just getting it “right.” Trayze was set to perform second in the competition. DJ Petey C (Pittsburgh) was first to compete. Petey C’s set included dis drops to each of the competing DJs. DJ Trayze unnerved by Petey C’s attempt to put him on the edge sat crouched at the side of the stage, ready, until it was his turn. Once he hit the stage he emptied all of his energy into his performance.
His use of the sample machine to blend the most minute sound from one song into another sound made a huge impact on the judges and the crowd. DJ Trayze was by far the most creative DJ in the competition. He surprised the crowd with blending classics into pop songs. His smooth transitions made you feel as if you were listening to one of your favorite song for hours. Having a wealth of experience as a touring DJ and DJ Instructor give him particularly knowledgeable musical ear to hear elements for blends that most other DJs may ignore.
At the conclusion of the competition he as well as many others in the crowd was sure that DJ Trayze had won. However, the win went to the hometown DJ, Philly’s own DJ Phsh. DJ Trayze humbly finished in second and walked away with life highlights that he will never forget. Trayze expressed that seeing DJ Jazzy Jeff’s sound check with only a few people in the venue was like having a personal moment with a legend. Meeting DJ A-Trak was a surreal moment that he will never forget. DJ Trayze would like to thank Red Bull for the opportunity, friends for driving up to Philly to cheer him on and most of all his wife, Morgan for being his biggest fan and supporter. The next day DJ Jazzy Jeff tweeted Trayze to show love. For DJ Trayze this was just as great as winning.