You can’t sum a man up in a few written words, but perhaps a proper introduction will do. Derrek Shealy, also known as DJ Sez is a Rio Rancho native. He spent his high school years break dancing, writing graffiti, scratching records and once in a while even spitting a rhyme or two. Sez has always been the type of guy who excelled at anything he put his mind to.
DJ Sez started spinning at age 15. He saved for months to get a single Gemini turntable to scratch with. “ It was the worst turntable ever, but because I only had one turntable I would just put on a CD and scratch to it all day long, every day all happy in my bedroom,” he said.
In late 2007, Sez uprooted from his comfortable life in Albuquerque, N.M., to seek out his dreams in Los Angeles. He landed a weekday gig at a suburban nightclub in the greater Los Angeles area. Sez said, “Going from being one of the best (DJs) to just another DJ out there” was a difficult transition for him.
Realizing he was no longer a big fish in a small pond like he was in New Mexico, Sez started working harder to hone his craft. He followed the top DJs in L.A. by listening to their sets in nightclubs and on the radio. The most notable being DJ Vice. “He was one of the top DJs out there, so I would study all his videos and go check him out live to understand more of what I needed to do to become a successful DJ, especially in the bigger cities,” said Shealy.
He soon began to figure out how to survive in L.A. as a DJ. Sez landed a job at The Lab hiphop shop in exchange for living quarters and kept on his grind. In between his nightclub job, spinning other gigs and putting out mix tapes, he started to teach his craft to high school students.
In 2010, Sez was booked for a party at Casa Esencia in Albuquerque. The party was a complete hit! It was the first of Casa’s long lines, flashes from photographers and the feeling of “THE place to be.” Local support for Sez was overwhelming. The club wanted Sez to come back. With the change of management at Casa Esencia and QBar, agreements went back and forth, but they finally landed on a residency the last weekend of every month.
You can find Sez spinning in California at house parties on the beach in Malibu, Page 71 in Hollywood and The Little Rock in Tarzana. In Albuquerque, you can catch Sez at The Library, Casa Esencia and QBar. You can hear him on Kiss FM in Albuquerque. He has promised “to bring a whole new party vibe to the radio station.”
“I’m gonna try to take all the DJ styles I’m exposed to in LA and Hollywood and bring them to New Mexico,” he said.
Sez also just recently signed to a 30 city tour with 3 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs-in-Harmony. He is producing and has a team of producers in the studio at Affinity Music Group, so expect to see some real big things from Sez in the near future!
When he isn’t on the wheels of steel, you may catch him with a respirator and some spray cans, painting a graffiti mural (with world famous CBS crew) or in a wet suit surfing the tides. Wherever he is, his Albuquerque friends are proud of him and his accomplishments and we can’t wait to see what is next! Check out his mixes, his calendar and “like” him on Facebook at:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dj-Sez/281404258578672
Don’t be fooled by the name, there is nothing strange about this unique store. Stranger Factory is a boutique and gallery located in Nob Hill just off of Carlisle and Central.
At first glance, the windows show off life sized vinyl toys and collectables that hint at what treasures you will find inside. Second is the large and beautifully scripted “Stranger Factory” sign. Upon entry, bells chime, as resident Mikee makes sure to greet every customer upon entry, even if he is preoccupied. Walking in, you are taken back by the paradise you have just stepped into. However, this is not the paradise that involves palm trees, sand and pina coladas, but the paradise of collectable toys, novelties, and beautiful artwork.
When I was first brought to this magical place, I felt like a kid in a candy store. The aura of the store quickly came in tune with my right brain and screamed in excitement. This was certainly a place where creativity and design meet. As well as a warm environment of what it was like to be that age again, without having your mother yell at you to keep your hands off of the toys.
After calming the senses, you are able to eventually scan the establishment and realize that there is a lot to be seen. On one side, there are toys lined in beautiful display cases, on the shelves, and in custom cupcake displays. In another room you find access to clothing and apparel, along with art prints, plush toys, and even more vinyl toys. But the gem of the Stranger Factory would have to be its gallery room. Containing original artwork created by a worldwide network of talent. Thus, you begin to think, “Is this a boutique or a gallery”? Well, I am content with saying that it is a geek’s paradise. But, this is not simply a place for geeks, but a space where anyone can come enjoy viewing art and smiling at the number of unique items all around.
When you finally make your way back to the front of the room, you find yourself in a bind. I ended up telling my friends, “I could spend my whole paycheck in this place!!!” Then reality sets in, realizing that you must choose to buy something that you can live with. And yet that is the beauty of the establishment, where the thought of, “I can come back again” makes everything better.
So if this sounds like something that calls out to your inner kid, do yourself a favor and get over to Stranger Factory. With an atmosphere that paints a beautiful picture. This is certainly something new and fresh that is much needed for the Albuquerque area.
Article and Photographs by Minh Quan COO of Nightvision