There’s Him. There’s Her. They’re DJ’s. Milwaukee is their playground.
Both Jank One and DJ Venus have been rocking the 1’s and 2’s for a while but it was only recently that they joined forces to create a unique duo, a male/female DJ “crew”. While this isn’t unique to the world, it’s something that I believe is rare in Milwaukee. I don’t know too much about the history of the DJ scene and am not extremely up on all the different DJs out there, so if it isn’t a rare thing, please excuse my lack of knowledge.
What I do know is that they use each other’s specific talents to fill in the weaker spots of their personal styles in an attempt to create maximum satisfaction at whatever party/club/bar/etc. they rock.
Sometime last year, you two decided to join forces to become Him & Her. What led to you coming together professionally?
Him: I saw her spin a few times and one night she played something that really caught my attention, I believe it was Mos Def. I then begged her to spin with me and after weeks, she finally agreed. She was really against DJ’ing with somebody else, but she tried it and loved it.
Her: We had our first night together (yes, after a lot of begging) at the River Horse one night (in April of ‘09) and he played ALL my songs, and at the same time turned me on to some things I didn’t know about as well. After that, I realized how nice it was to have a partner, especially one that has such similar taste in music. After that first night, I never really wanted to have my own night again.
You two have distinct differences in your approach to DJ’ing. Venus, you will play more familiar and updated music in your sets and Jank, you like to come out of left field on occasion with what you play. How do you complement each other when rocking a gig/party together?
Him: We play off of each other. I listen to her set and I tend to play the music I prefer which is more underground but still blends really well with what she plays.
Her: I think the question says it all. We like a lot of the same stuff, but then each verge off into different directions. Jank will go and play more things that are much more underground or that old school heads will get into and I’ll play more of the popular (yet not necessarily commercial) singles and dancy stuff, while still trying to stay true to real hip hop at the same time. That’s one of the best things about us (in my opinion), that no matter who is in the crowd, they’ll be happy.
Each and every Tuesday at the Uptowner.
Every second Wednesday at the Riverhorse.
Every first Thursday for the “Rock Hop” at Mad Planet.
Every third Friday at the Riverhorse.
Certain Monday’s for “Sucka Free Mondays” at the Highbury.
Various shows and parties elsewhere.
You cater to more of a Hip-Hop crowd generally, and you happen to DJ in Milwaukee…so how important is local Hip-Hop to each of you?
Him: It’s our core audience and they help us get gigs and help us get shows so it’s very important. I’m personally not into a lot of local artists but i can appreciate what they do.
Her: A lot of my first DJ’ing gigs were for local hip hop shows so without them, I wouldn’t have the experience that I have. I appreciate that a lot. When I DJ, I do try to play the local artists I like as often as I can. When I’m not DJ’ing, I try to attend events and support artists/DJ’s/bands etc. as much as possible. There are a lot of local artists that I do really like, I just wish they would grind harder to get their stuff out there on a more national/global stage, so sometimes that can be frustrating on a personal level. There is quite a bit of talent here and the “scene” is bustling lately. It’s kind of an exciting time for Milwaukee hip hop, I think.
You two started doing podcasts in which you play a few songs, but mostly just give your thoughts about a myriad of topics while drinking and smoking…making it feel like the listener is sitting in your living room with you. What’s going on with that?
Him: We’ve been slacking on that a little. But, that was exactly what we were going for. We get drunk, talk shit, and play our favorite songs. We keep it comfortable.
Her: Yeah, we’ve totally been slacking on recording more podcasts. Let me just say too that I was initially very reluctant about the whole podcast idea. I just didn’t get it. But, Jank talked about it constantly and eventually made me listen to Kevin Smith’s smodcast which really convinced me of how good of an idea it was. I’ve grown to really enjoy doing them.
Him: Nobody really plays underground hip hop here consistently. There are some that claim to, but they really don’t (except for a few like JDL and T-Money). People who want to hear the real shit, come out to see us and we give them a good show every time.
Her: There are no other DJ duos out there…and we play good shit.
What’s the goal of Him & Her? Are you looking to expand on what you are already doing?
Him: I’d like for us to travel more and do more out-of-state gigs. I’d eventually like for us to make it overseas where I hear they appreciate hip hop a little more. I also want to get more free shit.
Her: Definitely. We are just in the beginning stages of Him & Her. We have lots of plans and I think we’re about ready to start making those plans happen. We are ready for big things.
If somebody wants to hit you up to DJ a party or gig, how can they contact you?
People are curious about your personal relationship. Can you tell us anything about that?
Any shout outs?
YES! Big shout out to 88.9 Radio Milwaukee and the Mad Kids Show on 91.7 for always promoting our events/gigs, and anyone that has put us on their shows/events and chosen us when they could’ve got any slacker from down the street…everyone who comes out and supports our nights…you…and you…and you.