By Jeremy Essig
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On a recent Tuesday, Chisholm debates whether he's going to continue in the dubby vein of the DJ before him or take it a different direction by repping the 314 and opening with a Rockwell Knuckles track. He decides on the Knuckles cut when he takes the stage, back-lit by huge projections of one-liners he's been collecting in sketchbooks and on scraps of paper since middle school. The one-liners are thought-provoking and at times mesmerizing — they're conscious, deconstructed thoughts jumbled with pop culture satire and pithy statements that resound in the echo chamber of modern thought. At 2720, they cut through the nightclub static, inciting conversation and appreciative nods: InsignificantTerrorism. Don'tGetCaughtChewing WithMySteezInYourTeeth. AudibleSmiles. ConceivedReady. YouThistheOnlyTrueGift. TemporaryJourneytoHellForTheExperience. Can'tStopaManWhoAin'tOnAMission. UrbanOutfittersPre-PissedJeans.
"These one-liners, once they're read, they become pretty anonymous, like it could be coming from anyone," he says. "It's unclear if it's supposed to be a quote that you're saying, that someone said to you, but I just think that people relate to them in different ways, so it's kind of like this magical thing that happens."
Under dancing red, green and blue lasers, his intelligent energy is palpable and extends effortlessly to the dance floor. He experiments by layering über-hip new cuts such as Sleigh Bells' "Rill Rill" and Lloyd Banks' "Beamer, Benz or Bentley" with tried-and-true club bangers: Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" and Cajmere's "Percolator." For good measure and local flavor, he plays Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," one of the last songs you'd expect to hear in a club full of spinning rave hula hoops, heady electronic trills and filling-shaking bass.
"There's plenty of room for me to have flaws," Chisholm says. "I mix visually sometimes; I'll play a song and imagine how it's going to sound. I play in an abrasive way. Sometimes I'll blend them just to be nice, but I like throwing songs in there real hard.
"I like playing at least one ridiculously rowdy song, like, 'Well, this one might clear the dance floor!'" he continues, laughing. "I got a couple songs that I'm just like, 'People have to deserve it. If it's rowdy enough, it will get dropped.'"
Chisholm knows his audience. Its members are, by and large, just like him. They're "too broke for beer"; they're struggling to find the delicate balance between having fun and getting shit done, walking the perilous line between personal or creative fulfillment and not getting evicted. It's the plight of the modern twentysomething, especially for this chronically underemployed generation. His one-liners reflect how Chisholm has successfully created a life around his passion for art and music, which is an accomplishment few 23-year-olds can claim.
"I just want to frustrate the shit out of everything," he says. "You can get away with shit in this city, and I feel like people trust me and know that I'm back. I've been waiting to have the time here in St. Louis to test things out and, like, force things upon people in a way. I believe in a lot of motherfuckers in this town."