Samantha Oare, also known as DJ Elise, is a native of Champaign, Illinois. She has officially and “seriously” been DJing for the past two years around town at places such as Record Service, Boltini and various house parties where she plays everything from house to rock, as well as down-tempo to trip-hop. Her musical influences include Curtis Mayfield, Mark Farina, Ada, Nina Simone, Larry Levan, Bjork and Bebel Gilberto. Every Friday, you can find DJ Elise at Boltini for happy hour from 6 to 10 p.m., where she has been playing for more than a year. Whereas she plays a wider range of music on Fridays, she sticks to strictly house music on Saturdays. “I want Champaign to keep its mind open to other music out there and realize that there are so many producers out there who use samples of some of the favorites we all enjoy,” she said.


Champaign or Urbana? Chambana

Big Lebowski or Tenenbaums? Tenenbaums … love that mutha f’n soundtrack.

Beatles or The Stones? That’s so difficult … Why you gotta play like that? Well, I guess I like how Mick Jagger dances. He’s got the moves, so I assume I’ll stick with The Stones.

Greatest turn off: Trance, mad hair gel or mousse, people who come to a party and say, “I know the DJ” (they truly need a good pat on the back, I assume), cops shutting down my party (booo!), smelly forks and tight black jeans with white Reeboks.

Greatest turn on: Smiles, alone time, funky crazy ass bass lines, DJ Bozak’s deodorant, funky original boots, singing in the shower, teasing my boss (gotta love him!) and straight up tofu.

Check out DJ Elise Friday and Saturday nights at Boltini.

– Christina Rodriguez


Her former high school is only a few minutes away from the U of I campus, where she is a general engineering major, but Jessica Phillippe’s musical influences reach far beyond CU. Known in the music scene as J Phlip, Phillippe spins every Sunday at Lava in Chicago. The 22-year-old who sang in the choir at Central High School was constantly around music in her youth. Her father worked as a “live sound guy,” she said. Influenced by the house music she heard in “dirty Urbana basements and downtown lofts” while she danced at house parties as a teenager, she acquired her first turntables three years ago. Phillippe began her local career a short time later at Barfly, where she worked as a waitress. J Phlip was featured on “Fresh Faced DJ Nights” on Sundays at the club. “It was the first time I played for people outside of my room,” she said. Around the same time, Phillippe started spinning at house parties and her music career blossomed from there.


Urbana or Champaign? That’s a tough one. Champaign because it’s where I’m from, but I live in Urbana now. I’m such a traitor.

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? I’ve never seen The Royal Tenenbaums, so Big Lebowski.

Beatles or The Stones? Beatles.

What was the first CD you ever owned? I think it was TLC. It was when I moved

from tapes to CDs.

What was your first childhood pet? I had three hamsters. They were all named Timmy.

Use your favorite swear word in a sentence: I don’t fucking swear.

Catch J Phlip this Saturday, March 11, at Trevia in Chicago. Her next local show is Tuesday, March 14 at Boltini at 10:30 p.m.

– Leah Nelson


With her roots in Urbana, Kayla Brown, a.ka. DJ Lil Big Bass, started DJing when she was 15. Also a singer/songwriter, Brown was nominated under the Best Female Artist category for the 2005 Local Music Awards. As far as DJing is concerned, Brown is influenced by Aphrodite, anything from the UK’s Moving Shadow label, EZ Rollers and two-step “UK pop”. Discovered at a house party by the late Bill-E Most, Brown played under his production company Organic Grooves for four years. Brown also used to DJ with J Phlip at the Highdive in a combo called the SHE-Js on Wednesdays during the summer. Additionally, Brown is a member of the trio Darling Disarm in which she sings and plays acoustic guitar.


Urbana or Champaign? Urbana.

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Royal Tenenbaums.

Beatles or The Stones? The Stones.

Which Greek god would you like to be? Aphrodite … that was sexy stuff

What song do you refuse to play? “Linger” by the Cranberries.

What dead celebrity would you like to face in a boxing match? Richard Nixon.

Join DJ Lil Big Bass at Boltini on Fridays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

– Heather Peart


Nine years ago Adam Boskey started listening to hip-hop because it was the rebellious thing to do. Boskey, aka DJ Bozak, found the music funky and intriguing, especially the technique of scratching. After high school Boskey bought equipment so he could scratch and he began to enter DJ battles. Ironically, his rebellious musical interest led to a long-running radio show on WEFT 90.1 and regular gigs in Champaign and Urbana. If you see DJ Bozak at Boltini or Soma, avoid requesting the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” – it’s one song he refuses to play.


Urbana or Champaign? 217

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? That’s like saying your right hand or your left? I love them both … but, Big Lebowski.

Beatles or The Stones? As a DJ I should say The Stones, but I like The Beatles better.

What was the first CD you ever owned? I started buying tapes. My first tape was Aerosmith Pumped.

What song do you get the most requests for? Anything by Michael Jackson.

First childhood pet: A wiener dog named Greta

Dream venue: Paradise Garage in New York … it’s a legendary dance club that jump-started dance music culture.

Check out DJ Bozak Wednesdays at Boltini and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Soma.

– Allie Snyder


Representing his hometown of Palatine, Illinois, 27-year-old Brian Mertz, known as DJ Mertz by his fans, accredits his love for bass to the time he spent playing tuba in his high school band. His roots in DJing started eight years ago on the radio station WESN 88.1 in Bloomington before he came to WPGU. Four years later, he took off playing on turntables at parties, bars and clubs. As far as his musical influences are concerned, Mertz references the impressions left on him by Ben Watt, The Smashing Pumpkins, Marvin Gaye and Underworld, as well as fellow DJing partner J Phlip and friend DJ Bozak.


Urbana or Champaign? Champaign. I live smack dab in the middle of downtown, and play downtown …

no contest.

Big Lebowski or Royal Tenenbaums? Lebowski.

Beatles or The Stones? The Beatles. Again, no contest.

What’s in your CD player right now? Cosmo Baker’s Love Break, a mixtape of old soul gems … on my iPod is Justin Martin’s new house mix called “Take Me Out.”

What was the first CD you ever owned? Boyz II Men Cooleyhighharmoney … and there goes all my cred right out the window.

Which Greek god would you want to be? Dionysus … the god of wine and all the good that comes with it. Enough said.

How do you relax? Put on a great album on VINYL such as Marvin’s What’s Going On, or Sufjan Stevens or Sun Kil Moon and drink green tea.

Come out and listen to DJ Mertz Thursdays at Soma (with J Phlip) from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Fridays at Boltini from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

– Anna Statham

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