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Making Noise in Minnesota

Hey, I'm DJ Slurk (BMI), AKA Michael James. I'm from Minnesota and I make music. I wear many hats: beatmaker, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, composer, sometimes vocalist.

My passion for making music started around age 12 when I picked up a guitar my late dad had bought for himself (he was a hobbyist in his youth and wanted to pick it back up) and sat in the garage, guitar on my lap, learning how to clumsily pluck out the three notes of a well-known Rolling Stones riff with my thumbs. It sounded (in hindsight) terrible, but it made me realize how much I enjoyed being able to control sounds. After that, I took over that guitar, but my dad was happy to see me learning and enjoying something productive and self-expressive. Growing up, my father would be a consistent source of support and guidance until his death from cancer in 2013. To date, my proudest musical accomplishment was being able to record and self-produce a cover song for him (which he had been asking to hear from me for years) in time to put it on his iPod and bring a tear to his eye on the last Father's Day before his passing. (The song was Barry McGuire's 'Eve of Destruction', for those curious.)

Music production came as a natural progression -- I was writing music, the next logical step was to begin recording it. Not long after I picked up my first guitar as a kid, I stumbled upon my first copy of Fruity Loops. I've always had a knack for learning things in a hands-on way, so I immediately set about making some beats for the kids I went to school with. There were daily cyphers and battles happening at lunch time, and a lot of talented kids -- some of whom would go on to be quality DJs, musicians, and vocalists in their own right. Daily interaction, cooperation, and sometimes competition with all these other talented and creative kids made me want to improve.

Over the years, I would learn how to play properly by gaining some experience rehearsing and performing with a number of local bands (currently: Sonitus Novis) -- meanwhile learning my way around the eclectic music scene in my native city of Duluth, MN (host to a few noteworthy events I've had the privilege of playing; such as the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival, Rock and Roll Kamikaze, and the Ides of March Bacchanalia Festival.. That eclectic nature allowed me to maintain an open mind and take influence from many genres ranging from punk rock to dubstep to classical music , and craft a blend of sounds that I find interesting. Hopefully you will, too.


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