When Uchenna Martin first started rubbing elbows with the big wigs of the music industry, it was as a reporter for Pump It Up Radio and Pulse87.com. His work lead to interviews with big names such as David Guetta, Kaskade, Zelma Davis, and more. Now, known as DJ UCH and with his first album IMO STATE ready to drop very soon, he finds himself on the other side of the equation as the subject himself. Telling from his cool demeanor, he wasn't worried.
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, UCH first had aspirations of being more of a talk jockey than a disc jockey. Somewhere along the line, however, the craft grabbed a hold of him and he has been steadily making a name for himself. He has been steadily improving his chops and in addition to his recently wrapped up residency at the trendy Hotel Rivington in New York, he's also rocked the house at Pacha NY and internationally with gigs in Germany at AM to PM and Costa Pink Skirt in Puerto Rico.
Through sheer hard work and determination UCH has scored a few remix projects as well, most notably Lori Michaels's "Rebound," a track that reached #13 on the Billboard charts. He has some new remixes on the way as well, but most importantly he is set to drop his first album in the coming weeks.
We wanted to get more familiar with DJ UCH and had an opportunity to put him on the hot seat and ask him a few questions as he prepares for the release of his first album April 12!
1200Dreams: How long have you been DJing?
DJ UCH: I've been a club DJ for 6 years.
1200Dreams: Was that the song or experience that made you realize that you wanted to be involved in music, a DJ, producer?
DJ UCH: Playing my first paid gig on a regular basis definitely made me consider a career as a DJ. My first gigs in Europe made me want to be a producer.
1200Dreams: Tell us the what/when/how about your first big break.
DJ UCH: My first big break is kind of hard to pin down to one moment. I've definitely had great opportunities though, including the release of my first artist album IMO STATE, joining the DJ team at Long Island's 101.5/105.3 Party FM, spinning internationally, and getting interviewed by MTV News. All very cool moments!
1200Dreams: Your name is quite unique, what does it mean?
DJ UCH: Uch is half of my full name Uchenna (it means "God's Will" in the Ibo language of Nigeria). I decided to shorten it for my DJ work.
1200Dreams: You had a Tuesday nite residency at Hotel Rivington in New York’s lower East side, one of the city’s most chic hotels frequented by fashionista’s, celebrities, and VIP’s. How was it spinning for this crowd?
DJ UCH: Great! Definitely a hot crowd with many industry names and some celebs. Lots of fun playing there last year.
1200Dreams: How is spinning on a Tuesday nite different from let’s say a Friday or Saturday nite?
DJ UCH: It's definitely a different vibe. Not so much about getting drunk, it's a lot more about having a good time. The cool cache is high during weekday parties.
1200Dreams: You are releasing your first album, a 8 track EP titled IMO STATE on March 9, tell us about it.
DJ UCH: Well it's been very exciting working on this project! It's a great mix of tribal-tech with a foot in the underground and another in just fun party music. 5 of the tracks are original while the other 3 are remixes I've done for the label, Monitor Sound. I call it IMO STATE because of my Nigerian heritage. My father was born in Imo State, and I thought it was a great way to pay homage to my ancestry.
1200Dreams: Tell us about some of the remixes you have done and whom you have worked with?
DJ UCH: I did a remix for Lori Michaels's club smash "Rebound" and that went to #13 on the Billboard charts. Look out for new remixes for the voice of "Dark Beat," Obra Frank Lord, a remix for Giorgio called "Ibiza," and "Reverse The Beat" by Dina Delicious. I'm remix heavy this year!
1200Dreams: What is your dream club or event that you would you love to spin at?
DJ UCH: IBIZA!!! I went out there last year and fell in love. It's everything I ever imagined and more! In our business, Ibiza is the mecca of dance music so to be a top level name and resident out there is a big goal. I also have my eye on headlining MSG one day. Aim high!
1200Dreams: Other than Hotel Rivington, where else can we hear DJ UCH in action?
DJ UCH: Well my management at The 95 Group have me on rotation for Armani Exchange at the moment. Very cool gig because the staff are having a party while you're shopping! The Soho store sound system is great too, definitely a fun (yet unorthodox) place to spin. I also have some things in the works for this year, I've been locked up in the studio all winter so it's time to come out and play!
1200Dreams: A question we ask all of DJs is about Technics 1200’s. Tell us about your first experience with the Technics 1200’s? What is your opinion of them? Do you still have a set?
DJ UCH: College radio when the furthest thing from my mind was spinning (I wanted to be Howard Stern). I have fond memories of beat juggling with the battle DJs at the station. I don't have a set of 12's right now, but I'm picking up a used pair this Summer, I'm feeling nostalgic these days. I encourage all new DJs to learn on wax! So much more fun than a laptop.
1200Dreams: What can we expect from DJ UCH in the new year?
DJ UCH: My new album is going to make a lot of noise and I'm looking forward to it. IMO STATE is a labor of love and I'm so happy to share it with everyone! Also, be on the lookout for big things from my radio shows, PUMP IT UP RADIO and K0NTROL. Big expansions, big ideas, big goals, all done with a big heart and a smile! Thank you!