Joel Trujillo, Jr. is better known around town as Killtron, and he's been playing party-jams in the Metroplex since 2005.
He got his start by listening to "Energy," a segment on nonprofit listener-supported station KNON, catching the show at every opportunity he had, eagerly listening in, and even recording his favorite tunes on cassette tapes.
In and around that time, the maintenance man at the apartments where Trujillo grew up would let him mess around with his Numark CDMIX-1. Using that equipment, he started making mixes.
"They were so bad," he sheepishly admits.
But with a little time and practice, things changed. And, soon, he was providing the music for quinceañeras and weddings. After tiring of that, though, he took his love for high-energy music and partying and merged it together with the skills he'd picked up along the way. And, voila, the party DJ known as Killtron was born. Check his DC9 at Night-exclusive mix (which even features a local artist) and learn a little more about the man behind the booth after the jump.
How long have you been DJing for?
I was a bedroom DJ for a long time, mixing things like Jurassic 5 and White Zombie, but I started getting out and doing shows in around 2005.
What was your first gig like?
A little depressing. None of my friends showed up, but I played to a really chill bar crowd. I was so nervous, especially since I had lied about my age to be in the bar. But I had been preparing forever, so I think I played a good set anyway. Technically, it wasn't my first one, since I had done mobile DJing before, but the setup is way different.
Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
I like a lot of metal and punk, so I try to bring that sort of energy when I DJ. I whoop, holler, smash beer cans on my head and thrash about, even though I'll be playing booty-shaking music.
Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
Dave Nada is one of the ultimate dudes. I saw him fall off stage with Paul Devro on his back, and he just popped right back up and rocked his set. Later in the night, Willy Joy from Chicago accidentally suplexed him onto the stage. Dude is a beast.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
CUMBIAAAAA. It's just so much fun.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
Other than the normal DJ task of playing to your crowd and timeslot, I try and play stuff that hasn't been played a lot, but not be too snobby about it. I like to keep the energy high.
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?
Mostly entertain. I love playing stuff that's not getting too much play yet, but I won't keep playing something if the crowd's not feeling it. I'm a party DJ.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
A lot of clapping, a lot of hands in the air, and a lot of sweaty folks getting primitive.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Your standard Serato setup, two turntables and a mixer, my laptop. MIDI controllers are for spaceships.
Requests. Love 'em or hate 'em?
If I'm in the middle of Bmore and someone asks me for trance, I'll hate it. But if it's something that I can work in, sure, why not? I don't like Lady Gaga, but I've got some great remixes that I do like, so it's no big deal to play it if it fits.
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
A medium-size venue like The Loft, where you can feel the crowd's energy throughout the venue, with Dave Nada and DJs Craze, Klever, Toy Selectah, and DJ Select because he gets just as rowdy as me.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
I don't play the DJ politics game, so I'm there to play and have a good time. I'm not concerned with my place in the scene. I'm not even all that interested in making new friends. I just want people to have a good time while I drink heavily and play music. That doesn't mean I don't take pride in my craft, so you new jacks back off.
When/where will you be playing next?
No real idea. We (Tony Schwa, Genova, and myself) just ended Hot Flash, our monthly party of over three years, last month. And since I'm moving in April, I haven't really been trying to get new gigs. If anyone wants me to tear down their party, though, I'm open.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2010?
Well, I'll be in Austin, so a lot less physically. But hopefully I'll still be able to flex what little muscle I have in this town and bring some good DJs through, like I did with DJ Sega in October last year. I also want to give a shout out to my fellow DJs that helped me out during these past few years: DJs Select, Schwa, Genova, Prince William, Sober, A1, Fishr Pryce. I'm gonna miss you guys. Good luck, mah dudes.
Buraka Som Sistema - ICI9 (Toy Selectah Remix)
Pittsburgh Slim & Dirt Nasty - Popular With The Ladies (accapella)
Lil Jon - Who U Wit (Crunk Cumbia Remix)
Dave Nada - Moombahton
Radiohead - My Iron Lung (Accapella)
Jupiter - Mama Used To Say
Boyz II Men - Motownphilly
LehtMoJoe - Tom Petty
Sly Boogie - Up & Down (accapella)
N.A.S.A. - Strange Enough (Ft. Karen O & ODB) (Mr. Oizo Remix)
Genesis - Land of Confusion (Metal on Metal edit)
NWA - 100 Miles & Running
Death From Above 1979 - Little Girl (MSTRKRFT Version)
Justice - Let There Be Light (DJ Funk Remix)
Nirvana - Lounge Act (DJ Z-Trip Remix)
Gucci Mane & Playboy Tre - Frowny Face (Emynd Remix)
Maluca - Tigeraso (Accapella)
Toadally Krossed Out - Toad's Theme
AC Slater - Play the Record Again
Alvaro - Make It Funky (DJ Punish Remix)
DJ Tim Dolla & DJ Jay Hood - Hit It 2 The Beat
Ludachrist - Pon De Foley
Telephoned - Dancing On Me ft Jahdan Blakkamore
Fake Blood - I Think I Like It