DC native Kevin Coombe aka DJ Nitekrawler has had his hands in many aspects of music. A DJ career spanning more than a decade, label ownership/licensing (through which he’s worked with such notable industry icons as Kenny Dope, Prince Paul, Jazzman Records, People’s Potential Unlimited, and Numero Group), music research for his growing online DC music archive DC Soul Recordings, and exposure from large media sources such as NPR’s Morning Edition & Modern Luxury Magazine, have informed his development into a well rounded and versatile DJ. His long running residencies have spanned a variety of DC hot spots including Wonderland, Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, Marvin, and Eighteenth Street Lounge. He’s also regularly booked to rock parties across the US, from NYC to Texas.
In the words of the Washington Post, “DJ Nitekrawler has getting crowds to dance down to a science.”
Read Nitekrawler’s blog posts
Check out Nitekrawler’s Soundcloud page for some more incredibly funky downloadable mixes.
How often do you get on the mic?
I can be on the mic quite a bit, or not at all. Either is fine and relates directly to what the bride and groom have requested.
How long have you been DJing?
How long have you been DJing weddings?
My first wedding was 7 years ago, though most weddings I’ve done have been within the past year.
What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?
I’ve been trying to tailor my DJ sets to the Wedding request list styles, and also the age group dynamics, but that varies quite a bit from one wedding to another, and I can find favs in all of the different styles. dig alot of current stuff, but that stuff is really too new to be ‘all-time favorite status.’
Here are a few classics that always seem to get people moving at a wedding:
Anything danceable and known by Michael Jackson/Jackson 5/The Jacksons
Boyz 2 Men – “Motownphilly”
Talking Heads – “Once In a Lifetime”
Stevie Wonder – “Signed Sealed Delivered”
Rick James – “Give It To Me”
James Brown – “Get Up Offa That Thing”
Earth, Wind and Fire – “September”
What kind of music do you DJ when you’re not at a wedding?
Funk, Soul, Hip Hop, Disco, Boogie, 80s, Top 40, Electro, House, Afrobeat, Dub, Party Classics. The list is ever changing based on new styles I learn, and new directions I’m interested in exploring.
What size wedding do you prefer to DJ?
Any size is good if the people involved are looking to have a good time.
What makes you different from your competition?
Both my work ethic preparing for a gig, and my ability to read a crowd and mix records accordingly, help me to capture my audience.
What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?
There are a variety of approaches here, but my favorite all around option is to switch to a song that has very general appeal, and is usually always going to work. But it’s very important to read the crowd, and determine the style or styles that have been motivating them to move, then build off that energy.
What training have you received?
I have 13 years of experience DJing many kinds of events, bars, and more recently, weddings. I’ve observed other wedding DJs as I’ve been pushing myself in the past year, DJs whom I would credit with teaching me important concepts that I now implore.
What problems have you encountered at a wedding and how have you solved it?
There are many possible issues, but there’s always a solution for a problem if you come prepared. I’ve learned that it’s important to have extra wires, batteries, etc. on hand in case anything malfunctions. Another sort of “problem” that I encountered was actually in the planning stage of a recent wedding. Dinner was to be in a separate room from dancing and cocktails, and no wires were to be run through the door to the room in order to hook to speakers and provide sound. This was solved using a wireless guitar amp hooked to a mixer, which was then run to the speakers inside, and a mic for toasts.
Who are your preferred DJ gear Manufacturers?
I’ve always been a big fan of Technics Turntables, and Rane Mixers, although I’ve certainly used a number of other turntables and mixers that appealed to me at the time.
What are your favorite record labels?
It’s really hard for me to put a finger on any one label that dominates my physical or digital crates.
what are some of your preferred clothing labels?
I’m not really a stickler for clothing labels. I’m happy with a fresh tee and jeans that fit well, plus some Pumas. (I do own quite a few pairs of Pumas at this point!)
What are your favorite DC nightspots?
Marvin, Blackbyrd, ESL, Wonderland, Velvet Lounge, Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar and U Street Music Hall for their incredible sound.
What is the best DJ moment of your career (so far)?
I’ve had tons of fun with many talented DJs over the years, including a few pretty recognizable names like Prince Paul and Cash Money. That being said, I’d have to say that the best moment would not be based (soley) on who I was DJing with. Instead, it would be a combo of who AND where. I’ll explain. the first time I was invited to play at APT in Manhattan was the first time I’d been booked as a weekend headliner for an event outside of the DC area. It was also a really big deal for me because I looked up to the other DJs who hosted that night…Chairman “Jeff” Mao, David Griffinths, Mr. Finewine, and Jared Boxx….and because APT was (RIP) a highly regarded Manhattan institution for many other DJs I grew up loving. I worked really hard to make that night the best I could. And it was well worth it! From that experience, I became determined to push my own “all 45s” weekend dance party in DC. And I’m happy to say that one of my monthly’s Moneytown, was the result. Thanks guys!!
What is your favorite live show(s) (strictly as a member of the audience)?
I haven’t been attending too many non-DJ performances lately, but The Kings Go Forth (Milwaukee, WI) with Joe Quarterman (DC) show at U Street Music Hall was something I’ll never forget. To me, it was both spectacular in musical quality, and deeply meaningful…in that Joe really enjoyed himself up there. Joe even pulled me aside afterwards to tell me how much he respected the Wisconsin group, who were in DC on their US tour. Amazing.
What are some of your favorite restaurants?
Sabai Sabai (Germantown, Thai), Marasaki (Tenleytown, Sushi), Thai Square (Arlington, Thai), 2 Amys (DC, Neapolitan Style pizza, etc.)
“I can’t hear myself think in here!” Favorite spot for a quite cocktail?
The Gibson (DC), PX (Alexandria)
What are your five desert island discs?
This is a hard one, especially since there are so many singles and one off releases that I’m into, outside of full LP’s. Whatever answer I give is gonna be incomplete, ha, but here are a few choice (and easily obtainable) albums that are solid all the way through, in order of release date. McDonald & Giles “McDonald & Giles (1970),” De La Soul “Buhloone Mindstate (1993),” Nas “Illmatic (1994),” DJ Shadow “Endtroducing (1996),” Radiohead “OK Computer (1997),”
Two more honorable mentions which could be substituted in quite easily, Gang Starr “Step In The Areana (1991),” A Tribe Called Quest “Midnight Marauders (1993).
What’s your dream DJ gig?
My dream would be to DJ an all 45s set as part of a show with DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, J-Rocc, 45 King, Muro and a number of others that I respect for doing it up with the little records.