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Broadzilla: “What the Hell Did We Get Ourselves Into?”

April 2, 2015

BroadzillaOnline04Interview by Lissa Alicia. Images by Darragh Dandurand.

Broadzilla has been throwing down some of the most unique and body-rocking jams for nearly a decade. Thom Roland, Michael Kassler-Taub and James Weissinger started their DJ careers with humble beginnings – in illegal venues and not actually knowing how to DJ.

After spinning at a couple embarrassing gigs, the crew learned how to finesse both the turntables and partygoers. Broadzilla has now opened up for the likes of Horse Meat Disco, M.I.A. and Diplo. You can hear the amalgamation of funk, disco, pop and dance that is Broadzilla every month at The Dolphin Tavern.

How did you guys get your start DJing?

Kassler-Taub: I guess our first party was formally in 2006, so we are coming up on 10 years of doing this. It was four of us – James, Thom, myself and our friend Sarah [Jacoby]. We knew each other from college and things like that. We got a gig before any of us knew how to DJ. We basically told people that we were DJs and through a friend got a random night at this illegal venue at 12th and Walnut. It was like an upstairs venue that didn’t exist basically.

Roland: KT called me that night and I was like, “I gotta go buy some records.”

Weissinger: I borrowed all of mine.

When did you realize that DJing wasn’t as easy as just playing a few records?  

Roland: The first night. The second song into the first night, we were thinking, “What the hell did we get ourselves into?”

Kassler-Taub: It’s probably worth noting that we were terrible DJs for the first five years. People who are our friends now would show up at this illegal venue and we could just see them pissed at us. “What the hell is going on? These kids are terrible. They are playing garbage records.” But back then we didn’t know. But we made friends. We consider ourselves very lucky.
Are any of you working on any side projects?

Weissinger: I am working on a new project. It’s called One Hundred Years Of Solid Dudes. I realized that everyone we know is a musician in one way or another. Some are active, some played the clarinet and stopped in 5th grade and have it somewhere up there in their head. So I thought it would be really fun to get them in a studio and make music and see what happens. I’ve been doing that for the past few years.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Roland: The dudes from London, Horse Meat Disco, they are definitely a big influence of ours. It was Optimo, 2ManyDJs initially, for sure. In the the later years, Horse Meat, mostly for the joy they bring. They have fun every time they play. They play the best disco that you never heard and it’s not like the same as [Donna Summer’s] “I Feel Love.”

Kassler-Taub: One thing that we see sometimes that drives us crazy is when DJs are not having fun. The Horse Meat dudes? If you are opening for them, they will come and dance through your set.

What does Broadzilla have in the works for 2015?

Kassler-Taub: I think we want to try some new things this year. Trying things that are not in a nightclub is definitely of interest to us. Especially since we are getting older and crotchetier, it’s sometimes a little harder to stay up that late. In the last year or two we have been very fortunate to have Brad “Zilla” [Kalinowski] help us out. Brad is our intern. We are going to think of some really cool stuff for him to do this year. We are thinking of having him DJ with us. Brad helps with some of the graphic design ideas. He had been doing a lot of guerilla marketing and facebook events.

Brad Zilla: I would love to. I need to practice though. Is that okay? I am at the level you guys were at 10 years ago.

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