DJ Alkimist (Kimberly Venetz), is a veteran DJ, classically-trained musician, and accomplished music producer based in Washington, DC and New York City. Alkimist began her career in music and entertainment as a classically trained violist. She has studied under several well known teachers, including Paul Neubauer and Misha Rosenker. She also taught herself to play violin. She currently plays viola with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. She has sat first chair viola in dozens of symphonies, orchestras, and chamber groups, and has also played electric viola with an electric string trio and as a soloist. She competed as a viola soloist and won several recognitions. She has played in hundreds of weddings and private events.
DJ Alkimist’s clients include US Soccer, SpaceX, W Hotels, DC’s 107.3, The Washington Nationals, Microsoft, The Smithsonian, MGM, The ONE Group, The Washington Ballet, Nike, sweetgreen, Discovery Channel, Armani, Saks Fifth Ave, Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, Hugo Boss, Neiman Marcus, Madewell, Kate Spade, Dupont Circle Hotel, Miss USA, Fashions Night Out, Elle Magazine, Nordstrom, Tom’s Shoes, Michael Kors, TV5 Monde, American Bar Association, Corporate Executive Board, The Hamilton, Prudential, Salesforce, and Brooks Brothers.
DJ Alkimist spins every week at DC’s best clubs, including Soundcheck, Heist, Tropicalia, Living Room, Lost Society, and Echostage. She has opened for such acts as Steve Angello, Wiz Khalifa, Cash Cash, and Anevo.
How long have you been DJing?
How long have you been DJing weddings?
Since 2011. I have been playing viola in weddings since I was in high school, so between the viola and DJing, I’ve been able to work a lot of weddings in my life!
How often do you get on the mic?
Only when necessary or if the clients request it! Otherwise, I like the music and energy to speak for itself.
What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?
- Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”
- The Postal Service – “Brand New Colony”
- Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
- Montell Jordan – “This Is How We Do It”
- Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
What kind of music do you DJ in the clubs?
It all depends on the crowd! I love all kinds of music and I pride myself on reading the crowd and catering to them while also slipping in a few surprise tracks, like those songs you used to love but kind of forgot about.
What is your philosophy on weddings?
My job is to help bring the client’s vision to reality. I like to keep the vibe happy and fun.
What makes you different from your competition?
I come from a classical music background which has given me a solid foundation in music theory and a good ear, so I can DJ pretty much any type of music (and have!) and mix it all together in a way that sounds pleasant and keeps the energy up. Besides weddings and club gigs, I have experience DJing pretty much any type of gig you can think of, all of which have helped hone my skills and taught me things that I can apply to the weddings I DJ.
What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?
I have a lot of songs that are instant hits on the dance floor that I can resort to if needed. Because I was brought up in the club scene, if a crowd’s not feeling a particular track, I can tell almost immediately and mix out quickly into something I think they would like instead.
What training have you received?
I’m classically trained in viola and I learned to DJ from some of the top DJs in the country.
What problems have you encountered at a wedding and how have you solved it?
At this point, I think I’ve encountered almost any problem you can think of. I feel super confident in my trouble shooting abilities (I’m often the DJ other DJs call when they’re having problems!) and I’m able to think fast, which helps not only on the dance floor in selecting songs for the crowd, but also in analyzing and solving problems.
Preferred DJ gear manufacturers:
I love my Technics turntables! I’m also partial to older Rane mixer models, back when they were still made in America.
Favorite record labels:
Preferred clothing labels:
I like to wear stuff that’s cool and different so I’m not that much into labels. I do a lot of thrifting.
Favorite DC nightspots:
Flash, Tropicalia, U St. Music Hall, and the ‘whiskey’ part of Chicken + Whiskey.
What is the best DJ moment of your career (so far)?
Hard to say! I love my job and there’s nothing like the joy of rocking a crowd. However, one highlight that does stand out is when I was opening for Wiz Khalifa and I decided to drop one of my original tracks and when I looked up from the record, I saw the crowd was dancing to it!
Favorite live show(s) (strictly as a member of the audience):
Hmmm, hard to say! I love live music and when I’m not working I try to go to as many shows as I can. I saw Odesza at U St. Music Hall back before they were selling out stadium shows and I’ve seen Talib Kweli like ten times. My grandma got me tickets to Alice Cooper once which was fantastic. Grimes is super cool live. Empire of the Sun, Banks, Mura Masa, Alt J, Blonde Redhead, DJ Shadow: they all have an amazing live experience too. I also recently got to see Frank Ocean, which felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Hard to pick – there’s so much good stuff out there!
Sakana, this cool little Ethiopian spot near my place, and the onigiri from Hana.
“I can’t hear myself think in here!” Favorite spot for a quiet cocktail:
I’m a whiskey neat person myself so I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask about cocktails, but Chicken + Whiskey is a cool spot to hang.
What are your five desert island discs?
Ahhhhh only five?? Currently, I’d have to say:
- Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
- John Frusciante – Shadows Collide With People
- Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra
- Sigur Ros – ()
- Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
- anything by Elliott Smith
What’s your dream DJ gig?
I’d love to be the DJ for the Seattle Seahawks, but anywhere there’s a good crowd is good for me! 🙂