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Meet Jeffrey Basa of Bawsa in Chino Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeffrey Basa.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jeffrey. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It all started when I was a little kid around the age of 5-6. I was always attracted to listening to music and sometimes even dancing to it. Whenever my family, specifically my cousins, would start playing music, they would instantly hype me up and make me start dancing to it. When I turned nine years old, I started playing the piano. Later on, my parents put me into piano lessons to help me get better and compete in recitals. I did piano lessons for about three years until I told my parents that I no longer found interest in performing at recitals and I wanted to find another interesting hobby. A year or two later, I was in middle school and my interest in producing and composing music arose in my life. Being the spoiled child I was, my dad bought me my first studio setup and that’s when I started diving into music production. Around that time, EDM was on the uprise in the music community. My cousins and I got heavily into that type of music, specifically Trap EDM. I vividly remember this one time I was in a movie theatre at The Block in Anaheim watching a film called “Under The Electric Sky”.

After it ended, my cousin looked at me and said, ” You should become a DJ!” At first, producing was my main focus and I was drawn closer in making beats that DJing really wasn’t my interest at the time. However, a few weeks later, I asked my dad if he can help me buy my first DJ controller, So, with some of my Christmas and birthday money, I purchased the Pioneer DDJ-SR. When freshman year of high school came around, I started to transition my focus from producing music into DJing. I remember when I got back home from school, I immediately just wanted to hop on my controller and DJ for the rest of the day. The best times was when my cousin, Caitlin, and I were alone in my room with speakers on full blast and the buildup of an EDM track would be coming into the drop leading us to going absolutely nuts! I’d even sometimes close my eyes to picture myself in front of a huge crowd at a festival and performing in front of them. Sophomore year came and I was still mixing EDM music. One of my close homies, Jayven, also started DJing, but he was mixing hip-hop and rap music. He was the first person that introduced me to big scratch DJs like Craze. I remember having sleepovers at his house and we’d both be up till four in the morning, producing or DJing like we had nothing else to do. In high school at the time, house parties were starting to become a thing.

One of my friends one day approached Jayven and I asking us to DJ their house party. We gladly accepted it, but we knew that we didn’t have the proper music for that type of scene yet. Long story short, the house party only lasted about two hours because the cops came and ended it for us (LOL)! After that house party, Jayven decided to focus more on music production while I wanted to stay with DJing since I looked at it as a form of income. After that specific night, I was always asked by my friends to DJ their house parties. From there, my network grew massively. It went from DJing house parties around my city to DJing in San Dimas, Fontana, Diamond Bar, and pretty much all around the IE. Senior year of high school came and I was still DJing parties. Until one night, I remember chilling in the car with a close friend of mine and I get this direct message from DYLN, another one of my DJ homies, to be finish the rest of his 2018 SoCal tour. If it wasn’t for DYLN, I wouldn’t have been able to DJ my first club gig so I thank him for that. I’ve been doing shows for about a year and a half since then and I’ve met some of the most talented and humble DJs ever such as J.Ill, DJ MattyMatt, Eazy, and many more. I really feel like they’ve helped paved the way for us young DJs in the game. Utilizing social media platforms specifically Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud to share my mixes with people really helped me get to where I am today as well. I remember posting my first DJ mix on twitter and it did so well that it made me so inspired and ambitious for the hobby.

As I continued to grow my social media handles, I remember thinking to myself, “Maybe this can be more than a hobby, this can be my career.” I was doing these DJ mixes with my controller for about 3-4 months until December came and my uncle, who was a DJ before, brought his turntables to my grandpa’s birthday party. I remember being so thrown-off and frightened by the difference in DJing with turntables versus controller. At first I hated them until I got back home and DJ’d on my controller and telling myself, “Man, this doesn’t feel as real as turntables do.” My uncle offered to sell me his pair and I gladly took them. This was the biggest change and transition I encountered in terms of craft and the art of DJing. It was from there that I continued to grow my love for not only the business side of DJing, but more of the passion, craft, technical, and artsy side of this career. Till this day, I’m so grateful to have switched over to tables because of the impact it has done to me as a person.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth sailing is something you cannot expect out of DJing. As far as struggles, there would be times where I would lose the motivation to DJ at times. Those times made me consider my career choice in life and in all honestly, I loved those moments simply because I looked at those obstacles as a test of my passion and faith I had within myself. I knew what I was getting myself into and I can’t get mad at that. Also, the amount of driving I’ve done in the past years caused me to be super sick some times. I remember coming home from parties some times feeling cold and had the feeling of the flu creeping up on me. In terms of the business side, I remember there would be times when an “x” amount of cash would be “promised” for a certain night and the next thing you know, I’m either getting paid less or not getting paid at all. In terms of the craft and technical side of DJing, there would be so many times I’d come across creativity block. I looked up to DJs like Miles Medina, DJ Craze, FourColorZack, and many more that would destroy and put on an amazing set with all these creative and crazy transitions that made me feel so inspired. At times, however, watching these DJs could sometimes make me feel down about myself and feel almost not good enough in the game. But, I remind myself of how long these guys have been doing this and the amount of hours of practice they’ve put into it. So, it’s always a humbling experience to see the legends and icons who’ve been doing this for so long murder the craft with turntables.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Being in the music industry, I’ve always wanted to expose myself in every aspect of music. I’ve always believed in not holding yourself to only one title, but multiple ones. In that case, I’m a DJ, audio engineer, and music producer. Engineering music is a career path I’ve recently decided to follow since I’m currently going to school to achieve my Associate’s Degree in Audio Production. For those who don’t know, audio engineers are to troubleshoot any problems in a music studio situation. We also learn how to record, mix, and master tracks that artists or rappers send to us. This has always been an interest of mine because I’ve always wanted to be the go-to person that people can come to for advice or help whenever it came to their music production. On the other hand, I love helping other DJs with their own problems. Whether it be helping them in terms of program problems, equipment breakdowns, or giving them some pointers on how to improve their transitions, it always bring a smile to my face to help those that are also in the same field as I am. When it comes to “Bawsa” and what I represent as a brand, I’m truly proud of how far I’ve come in the industry. I’ve always pushed the concept of doing what you love, loving what you do.

When I take a good look at my generation, I always think about the fear of pursuing something in life that you don’t love. To me, that’s my biggest nightmare. I try my best to give the most realistic and logical advice to my friends or other DJs that are on the same path as me. The impact or message I want to leave on people’s lives is that whatever you reap, you’re going to sow it. When you put the practice in, the rewards will show. When you work hard, the rewards will show. I feel like this is what separates me from a lot of other people my age. My perspective, work ethic, and passion that I have for this craft is on another level. Also, one huge part of my purpose as a DJ to preserve the craft and art of real DJing. I feel like this generation is starting to forget the true technical side of DJing and that it’s more than just pushing buttons. As mentioned before, the DJs I look up to are always pushing the creative side of the game. Being so young still, I want to start carrying that torch and embrace the craft while we’re still able to do it. The competitive side of me always strives to be different from others by DJing differently. The way I mix my transitions matters to me the most because it’s what truly separates you from other DJs. Also knowing when and how to play a certain track can show that you know how to read a crowd. I’d say these are the foundations of what makes me “Bawsa”.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
In my success, out of all the qualities and characteristics, I’d say there’s two that should really be highlighted and those are faith and humbleness. Disregarding everything you’re passionate about, at the end of the day, it’s all about who you are and how you carry yourself as a person. I was raised in a household where these two qualities of life are very important in how you pave your way in your journey. Being humble has always taught me that there are people less fortunate than you, so a lot of these opportunities I’m given, I try my best to be thankful for them. That’s why I like to always give back to those who may not have the same opportunities I’m given. Also, having a strong faith has got me through the tough bumps in my life. It’s always going to be about endurance, perseverance, and persistence if you’re playing for the long run. I want to be able to hold myself accountable in these two qualities in my life.

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Image Credit:

Bryan Miraflor

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