If you went to Chico State University from 2008-2013, and heard a party or radio station suddenly play The Undertaker's theme song, then you experienced DJ BLAQLight in the mix.
BLAQLight first started as a DJ and radio host for KCSC, Chico State's student radio. Becoming a fan favorite, he moved from Sunday mornings to primetime slots within a year of DJing. He was known for spinning deep-cut 'boom bap' tracks, soulful R&B, and, yes, WWE theme music from time to time. His DJ tag features the legendary "gong" before The Undertaker enters the arena.
BLAQLight: "Professional wrestling definitely helped me develop my performance persona and stage presence. The Undertaker, in particular, was fearless and never backed down from a challenge. But he moved slowly and took his time with everything. This led me to become both fearless, but meticulous and patient with the craft."
He soon began DJing house parties in Chico while also DJing for the university. He also DJed for professional events throughout the Chico community. He even saved his friend's wedding day by DJing.
BLAQLight: "So it's about 7:30am Sunday. I was sleeping in since I was out the night before, and I get a call from one of my boys. He goes, 'hey I need a favor from you'. And you know what that favor was? To DJ this fool's wedding! He called me the day of his wedding to DJ for him! I couldn't say no on his wedding so I agreed to do it. I had literally 2 hours to gather all my equipment and get all the music prepared. This was also my first wedding, and, you know, it's a wedding so I couldn't mess up! There were a lot of close calls, but I pulled it through and everyone had a good time."
BLAQLight saved the wedding day, and after graduating from Chico State he moved back home to Sacramento, where he began to carve himself into the already-clustered scene.
BLAQLight: "Most of the DJs you see in Sacramento have been DJing as long or far longer than I have, and I've been doing it since 2008. They were able to establish themselves in Sacramento while I was in college, so it was really hard to find venues that wanted to take a chance with me instead of their regulars like DJ Epik, Rock Bottom, and so on. And those guys are GREAT at what they do. But I wanna spin too you know?"
He found his niche as the DJ for the community. Schools, community centers, and local groups began utilizing him as their go-to DJ for local events. BLAQLight is also a known activist in the Sacramento community, and his production has taken aim at the systemic issues that plague Sacramento & the rest of the world.
BLAQLight: "People recognized me due to my presence at protests and community events. They also knew my songs like Black History, No Peace, and so on, and knew that I was about everything revolutionary. When they needed DJs for events that honored those lost due to police brutality, I was always high on the list of those asked to spin. When Stephon Clark passed, at all of the events put on by activist organizations, I was the DJ and my music was used for the events. Even with artwork painted throughout the city, my music was used as part of the inspiration."
In 2019, when he reached his 10-year anniversary as a DJ, he got to open up for Masha Ambrosius. He decided that the 10th year would be his last year DJing so that he could focus on other endeavors.
BLAQLight: "A lot of people don't know what all I do. I'm a Supervisor at a residential living facility, and a Doctoral student researching the best methods to prevent the spread of disease. I decided that DJing was not something I could invest 100% of my time to, and because of that, it would only distract me from reaching my other goals. I also got tired of having to take all my equipment, set up, break down, and I really got tired of the lack of preparedness from promoters and performers who like to do last minute changes or, my personal favorite, bring a flashdrive in the middle of a show and say 'this is my set now'. So 10 years of parties, activism, performing with Grammy-award winning artists was enough for me. I'm comfortable retiring."
When asked about returning to DJ, BLAQLight did not entirely shut the door on the idea.
BLAQLight: "I mean, it's not my top priority by any means. I'm in no rush. But sometimes I take out one of my controllers or tables and just fiddle around, and I say hey, I kinda miss this. If I do come back, I'm only DJing at places with their own sound systems, and I'm probably gonna be throwing my own events. I really want to be part of a team of DJs so that we all can rock the house. So will I return? Never say never. But it won't be any time soon. But you never know, right?"
BLAQLight has completed the production of his follow-up instrumental beat project: Soul Power: Instrumental Soul Beats, Vol. 2, and is going through the process to distribute it for all listeners.
BLAQLight says that Soul Power 2 is going to have a few changes from its predecessor, however the Soul will remain the same.
BLAQLight: "On the first Soul Power I experimented with chopping the samples and applying filters to show how cool it is to manipulate soul samples into what you want them to be. But this time on Soul Power 2, I did a lot less to the samples and instead tried to really build around them with drums and other effects. I wanted the element of soul to be what I touched the least this time."
Soul Power 2 will be released October 30, 2020, on what BLAQLight calls "BLAQ Friday".
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
In the span of just a few weeks, we have seen numerous examples of police unjustly taking the lives of Black people reach the media. In the wake of the deaths of people like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and more, there have been protests across the country by people resisting police and state-sponsored abuse and oppression. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr famously said "a riot is the language of the unheard", and the people protesting have been screaming the same message that their Ancestors were, a simple message: "We want freedom, we want justice, we want equality." This message still goes unheard, and now we see how the people finally respond.
Though this song was initially supposed to be a "deep cut" from the upcoming Still I Rise 2 album, Paul Willis and BLAQLight decided to release "Be Free", a song addressing the anger, fear, pain, and emotion felt by so many Black people worldwide. They both hope that it can help bring healing to anyone who needs.
"Be Free" by BLAQLight is available on all streaming platforms.