DJ Junk Food talks Twitch, Journalism, and Paninis? – Interview

Dallas-based DJ Junk Food sits down with DJ's Amanda Maceda and Ben Nguyen to reminisce on the past and discuss the reality of being a music professional during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interview Conducted by Amanda Maceda and Ben Nguyen

(This Interview has been edited for clarity)

Ben Nguyen: How’s it going? What have you been up to recently? 

DJ Junk Food: Oh man, just trying to stay busy during the panini, ya know? Just been busy trying to stay busy working on music, working on streaming. As you can see, I don’t know if you saw the production value of all this dumb stuff.

Amanda Maceda: I mean, it’s beautiful dumb stuff. 

DJJF: Oh, for sure, definitely. 

AM: One of the big reasons why you kind of stick out on the platform is how you’ve been able to manipulate and make use of the digital platform in terms of streaming. 

DJJF: Yeah, thank you. I definitely like watching some of the other DJs, and I’m like, I can do this better. I don’t want people to just look at me stare at my laptop, you know what I mean? I wanted to give them some variety or some interaction or something they can do while I’m playing music, you know? 

AM: Right.

BN: Yeah. So, you know, when you’re streaming, you obviously want people to see you doing something while you’re doing that. How do you think this is, in a sense, better than if you were just doing a straight audio show? Do you think this has been better or just different? 

DJJF: I guess it depends on what you enjoy, you know what I mean? For some people, the visuals might be too much, and I’ve gotten that before where people are like, “wow, you know, your visuals are giving me anxiety,” and I’m like, “oh, I’m so sorry. That just comes with my content, you know?” If they don’t like that, there’s also an audio-only version mode on Twitch which I always recommend to them if they have an issue with the chaotic-like energy of the visuals.

AM: So this is a bit of a rewind question, but when the “panini” hit, there is probably a better term for that, did you have experience with this video/audio production aspect before, or was this really like a learning curve for you? 

DJJF: Actually, no. I’ve always been a nerd. I’ve always been interested in computers and video games and stuff. When it happened, it’s like a lot of DJs were kind of in shock because they didn’t know how to use Twitch or they didn’t know how to work visuals, or use a greenscreen, or use video, or work streaming software. So I was ready because I was already streaming video games before the pandemic happened and everything. I was like, okay, cool.  I can stream from home. I have my set-up here. I have everything I need: I have a webcam, I have lights, you know.

BN: Yeah. What did you stream before the panini? Like what games did you stream? 

DJJF: I was playing a lot of Fortnite and random indie games like whatever kind of game that would have you come in and be like what the hell are you playing, you know what I mean? 

BN: Yeah, absolutely. 

DJJF: Those are my favorite kind of games because people will always come in and be like, “what is this?” I love when people have questions, you know what I mean? That’s kind of my favorite thing. Like, either they’re hearing me DJ or they’re coming in and experiencing my stream for the first time. I want them to be like, “what is going on? Who is this guy? What is happening?” You know? 

BN: Yeah. Do you still play games on stream regularly or is it just doing the music? The DJ show?

DJJF: Every now and then, I’ll have a random pop-up stream where I’ll play video games or something. But as of now, I have mostly my DJ streams , but every now and then, I’ll pop up and play random games or…I’ll have the chat actually DJ. I have a feature where they can drop a link in the chat and it’ll play their song in the queue. And so they’ll play music and I’ll be like, “oh, this is cool and stuff” and I’ll talk to chat and I’ll play video games. But that’s very rare, that’s a rare kind of thing. I enjoy it, though. 

AM: That’s so rad. Speaking of earlier, you were like, “ooh, what is this?” That surprise and that intrigue and curiosity that people get when they see your stream for the first time. I can’t help but ask where did your DJ name come from? 

DJJF: Yes! Yes! Thank you for this question! You see me, you see my name, Junk Food. You see that I’m a bigger guy, and you’re like, “oh, his name is Junk Food because he’s a big guy.” This is incorrect. Let me clear the air here. So, here’s what it is. So, I produce music. I make booty music. I make junk food…I make food for your junk. Junk food. Booty music. Food for your butt, your junk. 

BN: Junk food, indeed. 

AM: I really thought that the answer would be a collab with a kindergarten-grunge aesthetic– But that’s a great explanation as well. 

BN: Food for your junk?

DJJF: Food for your junk. 

BN: I think we can subscribe to that one. Okay, earlier, you said that you used to cover music news at your high school. 

DJJF: I actually used to do music news. When I did newspaper in high school, I would specifically do like reviews and like articles on music and stuff.  

AM: Oh, that’s really cool. 

BN: Now you are the news!

DJJF: Yeah. That’s crazy, I never thought about it like that. 

BN: I guess we’re telling the story like super backwards, but what leads you from doing all of this stuff in high school and then going up til now, going into DJing and producing music and stuff? 

DJJF: I mean, I’ve always wanted to be a DJ, even in high school when I was doing journalism. It was just a matter of me not having access to DJ equipment. And at the time, I don’t know… I had a job and everything, but for some reason, I just didn’t get equipment until after I graduated. In the meantime, I was blogging and writing for my newspaper and stuff. Basically just using what I had around me. By the time I graduated high school, moved out of my parents’ place, I got equipment, I got a sound system, and I started practicing whenever my grandma would go to work. So I guess it’s just a matter of accessibility is how I basically grew. 

BN: Yeah, and on that, do you think it’s easier for people to access this kind of equipment nowadays than it might have been five or ten years ago? 

DJJF: Yes, for sure. For anybody who is interested in DJing, you know, if I see somebody loves music like passionately, I always implore them: if you’re serious about DJing, go for it. The only thing you need to do is download a demo of Virtual DJ. It’s free. If you have internet, if you have a computer, it’ll run, you know? And, I’m always like, “if you’re curious enough, it’s there for you.” And I actually do feel like DJ equipment is accessible because you can go to a pawn shop, you can go on Craigslist, like…actually, speaking of which, hold on a second. Let me grab this real quick. 

BN: What’s the equipment you’ve got here for us, Chief? 

DJJF: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It’s just random…like I said about accessibility, I found this at a pawn shop for five bucks. 

DJ Junk food shows off pawned equipment

AM: Ooh. 

DJJF: Accessibility. Like seriously, it has a little input so you can plug in stuff. That’s what I’m saying. If you want to do it, go for it, you know what I mean? I implore it. I feel like old head DJs hate that everything is so accessible, but I don’t care. If you love music, do it, you know what I mean? I love my older DJ friends, but I am very anti old-head mentality. So, do it!

AM: Access is so important. Just like be able to experiment and play and learn for yourself

DJJF: Mhm. 

AM: Shout out to Arts magnet high schools right now, but I guess last few minutes: what are your socials/best way for people to contact you that are listening to this news segment right now?

DJJF: Literally everything is Junk Food DJ. Everything. Just Google Junk Food DJ, you will see every single one of my socials. You might see an interview or two from me. I’m mostly active on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and, umm, TikTok. I’m trying to get my TikTok off the ground.

BN: Well then here’s hoping. Thanks for talking with us, Junk Food.  

(Interview transcribed by Alana King)


Check out this new remix of Falsetto by The Dream featuring DJ Junk Food!