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Meet Ian Lina of Eazy in Carson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Lina.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey began with my parents. I was born in Manila, Philippines in August 1996 and then moved to America in 2003. My family has lived in Carson since then. Without my parents taking that leap of faith as immigrants and choosing to raise my siblings and I in this country, I would not be living the life I am today. Therefore it is important for me to recognize the perseverance, patience and hardwork my mother and father put in for our family to live life abundantly here.

Eazy was a nickname given to me by my homie Jolan back during junior year of highschool in 2012. The name stuck and all my close friends have referred to me as “E” or “Eazy” since then. I started partying a lot around this time and was hittin all the backyard boogies with my homies Jo, J, Ace, Jes and B throughout the city. Through this, I discovered my scene and ear for that west-coast hip-hop style and sound. We were living life, having fun and getting ratchet at all the functions. This then led to me to start digging and listening for new west coast music we’d be turning up to. I listened to a lot of Mustard, YG, Nipsey Hussle & Dom Kennedy, who I’d say influenced the style, persona and motive of this brand.

“Eazy” has always just been a nickname throughout the years until about 2017 when I started to DJ. One day, my close friend Tito suggested that I pursue DJ-ing after hearing me play music on the aux in the car. I didn’t take him seriously at the time due to self-doubt. But he genuinely meant it as he continuously encouraged me along with my other close friends Kyle, J & JR to pursue DJing. With the help of my girlfriend Nicole, I eventually bought my first controller; a DDJ-SB2. It sat in my room collecting dust for months because I didn’t know how to use it despite watching multiple youtube videos. I hit up some people to have a session with so I could learn a thing or two but only one of the homies pulled through. My good friend EG taught me how to beat match, count music and basically DJ. We had two good sessions and I took it from there. So I truly appreciate his help in teaching me the basics needed to get through this industry. I dropped a couple of mixes and it only had like ten plays, which was a lot to me back then. However, I kept pushing and dropping mixes consistently and was getting better each time. With the support of my friends sharing and spreading the word, the mixes created a local buzz and I created name for myself throughout the process.

Tito had a good friend named Thurston who was tapped in the DJ nightlife scene. Thurston as you may know is a real solid and genuine individual. We would come out to his shows every other weekend to show our support. One night, Tito suggested that Thurston should give me a chance to spin at the club he was at which was Blue J’s at the time and of course he was with it. All he told me was to let him know when I was ready, which at the time I wasn’t. A couple of months passed and it was 2018 already. I did two house party type events to build some confidence and to experience what it was like to play in front of a crowd. Both I’d say we’re successful in helping me build that confidence which is key in DJing.

I landed my first club gig on July, 3rd 2018 courtesy of Thurston. He reached out to me to play this pre-fourth of July party they had going on at Blue J’s. He also gave me the primetime slot 12am-1am, despite never hearing me DJ before. He believed in me for sure. I went in there with my squad, killed my set and the rest was history. Through Thurston, I met Ervin Cordero of Traklife Radio, who put me on and introduced me to various established DJ’s in L.A. (Adri, Blesst and 10ak). They threw crackin parties and had residencies at several night clubs which I then began to spin at ( grateful for you guys! ). The momentum was strong and things started to get poppin for me as I was spinning at different venues almost every week.

At this time, I came across many dope DJ’s and created lots of relationships through networking. Another important DJ who helped me in the beginning was Jean K. She gave me my first gig at Lock & Key despite barely knowing me, and gave me the push I needed to keep going at it. Furthermore, I met DJMattyMatt as we were both put on CrewLove thanks to the guys I’ve mentioned previously. Matt and I got close as he taught me more in depth about DJing and what it really meant to have a passion for this. He encouraged me to level up my game and to step out of my comfort zone by teaching me how to use turntables and CDJ’s, how to scratch, use wordplay, structure my library, etc. Basically, shared his ten years worth of DJ knowledge to help a brotha out. We’ve been tight ever since. Last DJ I want to mention is Gabe C who I’d refer to as my mentor. For those who don’t know, Gabe is an on-air Power 106 DJ for the LA Leakers and is one of the reasons for the success of many upcoming LA artists. I met Gabe through his cousin Keith and he’s taken me under his wing since then. Gabe taught me how to look at DJing as a bigger picture by having a vision and staying persistent to execute it. The goals we share and talk about are promising and is within reach but only in due time. He continuously guides and challenges me on how I can impact the music culture through this brand by staying consistent.

Ultimately, it feels like it has been a long journey but it is literally only the beginning. I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way and I apologize for names that were not mentioned. There’s way more people to this story/journey but it’d be too much to write. It’s something you just have to be a part of, real life. This article is a quick glimpse of my story and the reasons as to how I got to where I am today.

Has it been a smooth road?
Yes and no. Without the help of several mentors and the support of my family/closest friends this road would not have been as smooth as it was. I am fortunate to have a strong support system that helped me throughout my journey. However, I did face personal issues as I struggled with self-doubt and anxiety. When I first started out as a DJ and Brand, I always found myself overthinking and doubting my ability to rock a crowd or sell out. I’d constantly have negative thoughts and think ” What if no one shows up?” ” What if no one likes the music I am playing?” ” What if I mess up and blow my chance?” “What if no one buys anything from my brand?” And the list went on. Despite having my friends and family support most of the time, self-doubt took a toll on me. Anxiety has always been an issue I’ve struggled with and this is linked in with negative thoughts. I tend to think about the situation too much rather than just doing it. I then I find myself drowning in my conscience. The anxiety takes over and physical symptoms start to occur. It is most definitely a chain reaction and those who struggle with it know how difficult it can be.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Eazy is a brand that represents a new fresh wave out the west coast. It represents who I am as a DJ and my swagger as an individual. It represents local underground artists on the rise and gives them a platform to be heard. It represents the younger generation as it serves to inspire them that they can achieve whatever creative vision they have by staying true, working hard consistently and believing in themselves.

As a DJ, I consistently release new mixes every month to showcase new hip-hop records from new hip-hop artists in the surrounding LA area. This gives a chance for many talented individuals to be heard and for listeners to be engaged by discovering a new profound taste in music. Along with dropping mixes, I also play at various nightclubs and venues throughout L.A. every month. Some of these places include Arena K-Town, The Resident DTLA, The Federal DTLB, Los Globos Theatre, El Rey Theatre, The Lash, The Venue, Lock & Key, The Continental and the list goes on. I enjoy playing at these shows because I am given the opportunity to play in front of a crowd, give them a great time and just vibe out! On top of that, the relationships I have made through networking is priceless. It is definitely a wonderful process for sure.

DJing in the beginning is more of a passion over profit pathway and is a side hustle for many with day jobs. It doesn’t get us by financially until we have reached that level where we are on tour or have residencies at major night clubs. That’s the goal honestly, to be able to make this your career and make a living out of it. Therefore in the meantime, I figured why not use my brand/label to generate some more side income. In November 2019, with the help of my good friend/mentor Josh Brumfield, I started my own merchandise line and have been selling out to friends, family and supporters throughout the country. Since then I have dropped four collections and have no signs of slowing down.

I’m usually known to just be very laidback and easy going. I’ll always keep it real and get along with everyone as long as there is that genuine mutual feeling there. As a company, I am extremely proud at how the numbers are doing. I have over 100,000 streams on Soundcloud and have sold over 200 units in merchandise! As a company that is just starting out I am very proud at the progress I’ve been making.

What sets this brand apart is that it ushers in a new take on the west coast hip-hop movement. It introduces a simple, elegant, fresh and smooth swagger. The music I play encompasses feel good, melodic, and up-tempo L.A. music that makes you want to dance. It represents a side of L.A. that needs to be recognized more for sure. Eazy is not just some random brand thrown on a shirt or a hoodie, “Eazy” is an individual you can reach out to and engage with by attending shows, listening to mixes, rocking fresh gear and really experiencing what it is like to be a part of this west coast movement.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
L.A. is most definitely a land filled with opportunity to start businesses such as this one. There are so many different ways you can go about it but the most important ingredient in starting is through networking. I would highly recommend motivated individuals to use L.A. to get their name out there. Go to the clubs, go to the concerts, venues, bars, etc. and talk to the promoters, managers and DJ’s. You’d be surprised at how far a simple conversation will take you.

Pricing:

  • Hoodies $50
  • Hats $30
  • Beanies $20

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@hieuvinh, @htennekk, @soterojordan, @christinelinax

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