a. a person who has fled from some danger or problem
Music has always been looked at by Refugee as being the prime and constant stimulant in the past and present stages of his life. Growing up in the work-centric environment of the Northern Virginia area in the ’90s, he was fond of the fact that even though his daily routine consisted of meeting deadlines for mundane essays, projects, and all sorts of other school-related activities, he was able to perform all of these tasks and maintain his sanity with the help of a pair of earphones, a walkman, and a decent mixtape. For as long as he could remember, finding, collecting, and arranging his favorite tracks into playlists that he could listen to on his CD player or walkman while working or studying was not only a hobby but a remedy and solution to dealing with whatever problems he had inside and outside of school. But then the ’90s ended and in came the 21st century. With the advent of MTV shows such as Total Request Live and the emergence of all sorts of pop music that replaced the alternative rock and hip-hop music he had grown to love on MTV and on the radio, the remedy and solution soon became apart of the problem. Although he was still able to find music that suited his ear at underground hip-hop websites and making frequent visits to DJ Hut (a now out-of-business record shop in Washington, DC) to collect all sorts of records that were not available anywhere else in the entire DC metro area, his appetite for alternative music that would keep him stimulated grew more and more insatiable.

Refugee purchased his first set of turntables, a Numark starter-kit, during his senior year of high school. With college already on his mind and a part-time job that gave him enough disposable income to buy about 3 to 4 records a month at DJ Hut, he couldn’t have been more detached from whatever activities that happened to be going on at his high school. Inspired by the hip-hop mixtapes of J.Period and Neil Armstrong (of NYC’s 5th Platoon), he focused primarily on old school and underground hip-hop as his genre of choice, and scratching and blending as his style for mixing. Long story short however, all of that had drastically changed once he was sent off to London to attend University. For 4 years he had the privilege of being exposed for the first time to a melting pot of music scenes, which included Jungle/Drum & Bass, Dubstep & Grime, Nu-Rave, Fidget and Electro House, Baile Funk, and several other genres of electronic dance music that was being played on BBC Radio and at several club and rave events, all on a weekly basis. Most importantly, he had a discovered a community that consisted of the hobby he developed during his formative years spent in Northern Virginia, a community of music enthusiasts that concentrated around searching for and collecting commercially alternative music.

It’s safe to say that his current DJing style is the result of the years spent in London immersing himself in the city’s rave and music scene: attending Drum & Bass and Dubstep events on a weekly basis- and spending whatever disposable income he had earned from his part-time job to buy vinyl records in and around SoHo, Camden Town, and Ladbroke Grove, areas known for being home to several reputable record shops (Honest Jon’s, Sounds of the Universe, BM SoHo, KnowHow Records, Rough Trade, etc.)

What had started as a hobby in his hometown in Northern Virginia had progressively developed into an obsession and a lifestyle in London that he one day hopes to translate into a professional identity as a DJ/producer. As for now though he is once again a Northern Virginia resident, aside from being given the opportunity to host podcasts for the EXBC crew, he has DJ’d at places such as Modern, Cafe Japone, and Love (?!), all on a sporadic basis (Bookings, anyone?). Some of his other interests include travelling, tennis, and finding ways to not loathe living in the work-centric area of Northern Virginia. To be continued…

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DJ Stepan
Harry Ransom
Ricky Ricardo
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