In the Mix

Mai Tai, Red Bull DJ battles return

January 18th, 2013

<em>DJ Technique, third from right, acknowledges the Mai Tai Bar crowd after winning the bar's DJ competition for the second year in a row. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

DJ Technique, third from right, acknowledges the Mai Tai Bar crowd after winning the bar's DJ competition for the second year in a row. (Star-Advertiser File)

Next week will be a fun one for DJs and those who support our local party rockers, as both the Mai Tai Bar's "Hot Island DJ Spin-Off" and Red Bull's "Thre3style" competitions get underway.

Now in its fifth year, the "Hot Island DJ Spin-Off" has established itself as a proving ground for DJs in Honolulu, with entrants spanning various genres and experience levels for a shot at more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. Last year, DJ Technique took first place for the second year in a row.

I've judged this contest multiple times, and it's always a blast to see our local talent bring their best efforts to the Mai Tai Bar stage at Ala Moana Center.

When the first of four preliminary rounds start at 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, competitors will be evaluated in five categories:

» Creativity (originality of performance and remixes)

» Music Selection/Programming (Choice of music that moves the crowd)

» Mix Ability/Smoothness (Quality of blends and transitions from song to song)

» Showmanship

» Crowd Response

According to organizers, there are still a limited number of openings left for this year's contest. Call (808) 864-8184 or email for more details.

Later next week, five hand-picked contestants will step behind the decks at Ginza Nightclub, 1230 Kona St., for the chance to advance to the west coast regionals in Red Bull's "Thre3style" DJ competition.

While Ginza is typically a place you visit well after midnight, be sure to get there before 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, to see DJs Packo, Kowai Kowai, Mike D, SSSOLUTION and last year's Hawaii sub-qualifier winner, DJ Compose, face off with a trip to Seattle on the line.

Here's how it works, according to a Red Bull press release:

The competition series, which will be hosted in more than 20 countries, kicks off in the U.S. this month with qualifying battles in more than 25 cities. Hundreds of DJs hand-picked by curators will battle their way through a series of competitions in the hopes of landing the coveted title of Red Bull "Thre3style" national champion.

Local qualifiers are currently underway with remaining battles in Cleveland, New Orleans, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Pittsburg, Detroit, San Diego Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Austin, Kansas City, Charlotte, Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago and Orlando.

Winners of these local qualifiers will advance to the regional qualifiers in Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Seattle and Chicago where their performances will be judged by the world-renowned DJs Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Track. Regional winners will meet in Los Angeles in April at the Red Bull "Thre3style" national finals to determine the best open format DJ and who will represent the USA in the world finals.

According to Red Bull, competitors will get 15 minutes to play a minimum of three different genres of music. They'll be judged on track selection, creativity, mixing skills, stage presence and crowd reaction. For the Hawaii sub-regional, local DJs Jimmy Taco, G-Spot and Delve will judge; Flash Hansen will host the event.

Of the five DJs chosen to compete this year in Hawaii, three of them (Mike D, SSSOLUTION and Compose) are returnees from 2012 inaugural contest. Last year's USA champion, DJ Four Color Zack, is no stranger to the local club scene either, having made several appearances in Honolulu over the last few years.

Want to check out the battle? Click here for free tickets.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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