(Article) DJ Hawk – Fly High
Written By: Alex Green of Houston TREND
DJ Hawk (Alex Haq) is the morning show producer for The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne the God, Angela Yee, & DJ Envy. He holds down the controls and creates local programming at 93.7 The Beat Houston. Aside from being a producer, DJ Hawk’s creative, party-rock style has allowed him to spin at hundreds of clubs all over, from Texas, Cali, New York, The Caribbean, and the Middle East.
Along with his hands on experience, DJ Hawk holds an Associates of Arts in Audio Engineering and a Bachelors of Science in Entertainment Business. He has worked for a handful of prestigious musical affiliates including, Radio One, Universal Music Group, and Interscope-Geffen-A&M.
Houston TREND: How did you come up with the name DJ Hawk?
DJ Hawk: Actually my last name is Haq, pronounced the same way, but it’s spelled different. I’m half Bengali, so Haq is actually an Arabic word meaning “the truth.”
HT: How did you start Dj-ing?
DJH: I use to record the radio on cassette tapes back in middle school and would make my own mixtapes and mix cd’s for parties. Back in high school, one my friends was a DJ and I threw all the parties. He would bring his turntables over and spin, while I hosted the parties. One day he went to work and left his turntables at the house, so I decided I wanted to learn how to mix. I practiced for about 4-5 hours that day trying to get that transition right. When I finally got it, I was instantly hooked. I started buying vinyl, just to try and mix and get that transition smooth. I ended up buying my own equipment soon after.
HT: What is a DJ to you?
DJH: Someone who is like a teacher, who has the knowledge of music and hip-hop culture and can put it together to make you have a certain feeling or emotion. You’re constantly bringing your knowledge and influencing the culture.
HT: Who are some of the DJs you look up to?
DJH: I grew up in the 90s, so I got the chance to watch some of the originators like Jazzy Jeff, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, then later on guys like X-Ecutioners, Z-Trip, Krush, A-Trak, Skee, & DJ Screw. I didn’t actually start djing until the late 90s, early 2000s, but those are some guys that influenced me early on. A-Track and Z-Trip, who are more turntablists, their party-rocking style allows them to go across the seas. Those are the type of people I take to now because they’re doing major events and venues. They mix a lot of different music, but started from hip-hop.
HT: How do you rock a crowd as a DJ?
DJH: Believe it or not, radio taught me a lot about programming my sets. You have to know who you’re playing to and know the times. Demographics, venue settings, etc. are all important. That’s the foundation. I can kind of scratch and do some different tricks, but 99% of the time I don’t even do that. When I get into my zone, all I’m thinking about doing is taking the crowd on a journey. You have to go about it in a certain way. You don’t play your bangers right in the beginning. You don’t play R&B at 1am (most of the time). My goal is just rocking the party. Playing the classics and making people remember certain times in their life. Nostalgia is my favorite word. Have them singing along to the words, pulling down the fader and have them finish the rest of the chorus. I love that!
HT: What do you think about the music culture in Houston?
DJH: I love the music culture in Houston. I was pretty much raised in H-Town. I moved around a little bit, but H-Town is home; so it’s shaped me. There’s a lot of talent in Houston. One of the things I’m trying to do is create an outlet to have our music heard on a wider scale. We have an ill independent scene here, but we’re not really heard nationally like say, ATL is.
HT: What advice do you have for artist trying to break into the industry?
DJH: These days it’s more important to tour, book shows, have a buzz on the internet, a following, and have a brand. If you have all of that, you can sustain a career. You have to be dope in your own city, before you’re dope somewhere else. There are a lot of avenues, now, to help you get there. Radio play will help, but that’s not necessarily going to take you to the next level.
HT: What’s day to day like as the morning show producer for “The Breakfast Club” on 93.7 The Beat?
DJH: I wake up at 3 a.m. every morning to get here for 4 a.m… I come in and get the system ready for the morning show to be beamed down from the satellite, getting the console fired up on the right channels and then doing all the local programming. Anything that you hear regarding The Breakfast Club, as far as the production on air, I create those. For instance, the teasers and the promos, I’m the one producing all that content. I also post on social media for the station, on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, as well as posting content and stories for the website. I also do some things for the rest of the shows during the day, but that’s too technical to get into. (Haha)
HT: How did you get started in radio and the entertainment industry?
DJH: Djing in high school and college was kind of my start. But my first real job was in marketing at Universal Music Group. After that, I received an internship in radio. Then that led into a radio job in promotions, and then I worked my way up to production and programming. Then I got out of radio to finish college in Florida. I always continued to DJ and now that we have The Beat, I’m back in it.
HT: Where do you think the station is going? And what do see for the station in the future?
DJH: We’re already doing really well and this is just the beginning for The Beat. It’s going to go far. It’s good for Houston; now there’s more of a variety, and that elevates everyone in the city. Everyone has to keep getting better and coming up with new ideas, and that creates a better atmosphere for the city. HT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is your overall goal? DJH: I’ve never really put myself into one category. I would love to be DJing and touring around the world. That would be crazy! Also, I could see myself programming at a higher level for a radio station. I’m diverse, and I’m and all around hustler (haha), so I see it can go into different ways.
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