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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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DJ Mo Niklz - Sound & Vision
Thursday, February 10, 2011

If you’ve been at an area hip-hop show recently and seen a DJ cutting up not just records, but videos, you were probably at an event that featured Danbury’s DJ Mo Niklz.

From music videos, to scenes from classic stoner movies like Half Baked and Friday, to the occasional SNL skit, Mo Niklz cuts, scratches and manipulates the clips with his turntables and a program called Serato Video-SL. “It’s something I’m trying to build on,” he says, “I’m really trying to evolve that.”

Evolution for Mo Niklz involves not just proficiency with the program, but also branching out with the program in mind “I’m trying to get into some video editing, and even some of my own animation, so I can hopefully create my own material that I can work with.” His own material, he hopes, will include music videos that will feature animation that he made.

Currently, Mo Niklz DJs for a host of Ant Farm Affiliates artists, a crew of which he is a member of. He’s been the resident DJ for the AFA’s monthly Enter The Cypher shows at Cousin Larry’s in Danbury for nearly four years, and Sketch Tha Cataclysm, Roc Doogie, d_Cyphernauts and Pruven all use Mo Niklz as their personal DJ. Even artists outside of the crew, like Duece Bug, have been working with him on a regular basis.

Mo Niklz’ DJ career started back in 1997 when he was a 17 year old spinning progressive trance and hardhouse music. A mixtape by Jon The Dentist was an early inspiration for him as he recalls “the way he was able to beatmatch everything... I remember me and my friends, we would just get high and listen to it and try to figure out when one song started and the other ended.”

Something life altering happened during one of those hang out sessions, though. Mo Niklz would lose his best friend, someone he described as “a big brother,” to a drug overdose. “We were all messed up,” he remembers, “we knew something was wrong, he just didn’t want to go to the hospital. Every time we mentioned the hospital he got up off the couch and acted like he was fine and passed back out.”

Knowing a little bit about what do in such a situation, Mo Niklz says “we tried to make sure he was going to be OK. We rolled him on his side, but his lungs filled up with fluid and I guess he got a little restless at one point and he flipped himself back onto his back. He threw up at that point and drowned on his own vomit.”

For Mo Niklz, that was the moment everything changed. “Waking up to him just, boom, dead right in front of me, that was a big eye opener to me like damn, maybe this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” Mo Niklz turned over a new leaf. “I stopped doing drugs and I don’t know, all the trance and stuff, all the hardhouse, it just seemed kind of boring after that.” It was at that point that Mo Niklz stopped DJing.

Taking time away from the turntables, Mo Niklz went to Sacred Heart where he studied business, and earned his degree, but after he saw the 2002 movie Scratch the urge to DJ returned. “I had never seen guys like Qbert, Mixmaster Mike and the X-Ecutioners. I saw them doing their thing and I thought that was really cool, so I picked it back up and started doing hip-hop.”

In addition to spinning hip-hop, and adding the video element to his sets, Mo Niklz has also been working funk and rock records, some of which are slightly obscure, into his mix. He notes “when I see a DJ I want somebody to help push me in a musical direction, something that I haven’t listened to a hundred times before.”

If you happen to approach him at a show and ask him to play a song that everyone’s heard a hundred times before, expect a slightly snarky reply. “I’m a very sarcastic type of guy,” Mo Niklz says with a laugh, adding “don’t be too offended, I think I’m funny.”

With all the music and videos he has going while working the turntables, just giving him some props for his originality might be the best idea.

Story originally ran in the FairfieldWeekly.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:27 AM  
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