Boxx – An established presence in House music, as well as being a complete DJ and Producer in the industry. He’s a long time Chicago DJ, beginning from his first residency at the Galaxy Disco in 1985 at the age of 17.
Boxx has had the opportunity to play in many cities and venues in recent years throughout the country and world including Nassau Bahamas, Dallas, TX – Crown & Harp, Sandaga, Renaissance, Truth, The Shrine, “The Silver Room Block Party”, The Mid, Da House Spot, The Garage, Evil Olive, Cuatro, and several other Chicago venues.
Boxx also plays consistently at venues and events across the country. For instance, New Jersey’s Club Elevation and Club Lush to New York’s Coney Island, Houston’s Club 4212, Detroit’s Club Mix, The White House, TV Lounge, “Beautiful Sundays” at Motor City Wine, Atlanta’s Club Velour, “House In The Park” and many more venues in Miami.
Having had the opportunity to live in Chicago and Dallas at the same time, he held a dual city residency at The Garage / Code Red in Chicago and “The Deep Inside” parties in Dallas for three years.
Boxx has been a Cyberjamz Radio programmer, the founding member of Ascension, and a member of Nu Bang. Along the way, he has produced many new releases, edits and re-edits that eventually lead to the launch of his label Bosar Music.
GO BANG! Magazine: When and how did you first get interested and bit by the DJ bug?
DJ Boxx: The DJ bug didn’t hit me until 1978. I was 12 years old. Me and a few friends from 35th, where I grew up, loved skating and there was skating on Saturdays at the old YMCA on 37th and Wabash. Well, we had normally been going to other rinks like Markham, etc. so I never really saw the DJ equipment being used. Well at the YMCA, the DJ was set-up basically on the skating floor. We walked in and I could see a table with the two turntables and some device in the middle, for which I had no idea what it was. But, I stood there on my skates basically the whole time watching him transition from song to song in amazement. I was instantly mesmerized that this could be done. I was used to playing one record after the other at home. After bugging the DJ and asking him “what’s this?” and “what’s that?” I immediately came home and began to ask my Mom to get me some equipment. Of course she was not having any of that once we realized the prices. LOL. But, two years later, my mom sent me to go live with my Dad in the 100s’.
My Dad saw the need to keep me busy when me, my brothers and cousins weren’t playing baseball, to keep us (me) out of the streets. Well of course he got the pitch about turntables and DJ gear since he was an audio & music enthusiast himself, but he never said ok. Well…one day in the summer of 1980, he came home and yelled from the garage, “Reggie, Mark, Kevin, come get this equipment out of my car!” Imagine the shock! I had already been buying music, etc. because I knew I would DJ someday. It was an undeniable passion that still burns just as hot on that June day in 1980.
GO BANG! Magazine: Please describe the DJ Boxx sound to our readers, explain why you named yourself Boxx, and what separates you from other DJs?
DJ Boxx: This is going to be a long answer (LOL). The DJ Boxx sound is fluid, flexible, energy received and energy returned. It can be gritty, soulful, energized, good feeling, tone setting, encompassing and far reaching. I’ve had many people over the years, suggest or say I should drive this lane or that lane, but the music in me needs to be expressed. I stay ready to lead or adjust, based on what’s in front of me. So the lane thing never intrigued me. Why can’t I play new music, as well as disco, classics, afro, pure underground, acid and even stretch to hip hop, R&B, Jazz, Reggae etc.? I still study music. My musical mental library is etched in my brain and soul. I get booked to do several different types of events and some actually require a full pallet of music to be played. But best believe, whichever it is, it’s going to be played at the highest of levels…bar none!
The name Boxx does not connote what most believe it to (LOL). Way back in the day, I went by another DJ name (Reggie ‘Remixin’ Anderson). After starting my pro DJ career in 1985, I abruptly stopped DJing due to some personal things going on in 1990. I wouldn’t play again professionally until 2003. Well, in between that time, I met some buddy’s and we worked together for a number of years. We always roasted and cracked jokes on each other. One day, me and a good friend Cedrick Hicks were going at it. I made a crack on him and he replied, “I know you’re not talking with yo’ big Boxx head ass.” It just so happened that about eight guys we knew and worked with were coming thru the door at that exact moment. They chimed in, “Yeah Reg, you do have a big ass Boxx head.” From that point on, everyone I knew and was around at the time started calling me Boxx. It ended up sticking and when I started DJing again, I just leveraged the nickname into DJ BOXX.
What separates me from other DJ’s is that number one, we are all a total of our own individual experiences in life and music and that is going to always lend towards individuality. Now I do believe my mental musical library, my flexibility to play extremely well, no matter the format, are huge for me. But one thing I truly believe is a factor, is my accessibility. I am not stand-offish and I actually truly enjoy all of my supporters.
GO BANG! Magazine: Who are your mentors, who inspire you and who motivates you?
DJ Boxx: I was actually a self-taught DJ. So when the radio mixes started in Chicago, I was already pretty well into the culture and techniques of it. I would say Herb Kent was a huge influence because before we had House, as we would come to know it, Herb would do this “Punk Out” hour every Saturday and he opened my ear and mind up to all this cutting edge new wave / punk music that was taking over the city. Then we began to take a turn toward House, as we would come to know it, and the radio stations began playing the mixes.
Well, I had the equipment and a little know how, but I wasn’t polished. So, I keyed in on a couple DJs on the radio for different aspects. I listened to Ron (Hardy) & Farley (Keith) live and Farley and Scott Silz on the radio for content. I would key in on Scott Silz and Ralphie Rosario for technical aspects. I would then go mimic everything I heard until I got it refined. Then, I met Julian Perez when I transferred from Simeon (HS) to Proviso West in 83′. I worked with him for the next three years as an understudy, you could say. His technical ability was the best I’d seen at the time and I emulated what I saw. He put me on at the Galaxy Disco/Dilligafs to open up for him and after he left. That lead to my very first professional residency as a teenager.
The people / DJs that were mentors are Craig Loftis and Celeste Alexander. Celeste is a big sister and we both played integral parts with each other in coming back into the DJing world. Ronda Flowers and Koko were huge in giving me a residency, shortly after I started back DJ’ing in 2003. Craig Loftis was right there too. He put me into rotation on some pretty cool events early on and I can’t leave out DJ Reg (Reg McClain.) He booked me for my first pro set after coming back. DJ Emanuel and Ms. Wynell were huge as well.
The people that motivate me are…the DJs that I have helped and continue to help me: Boolu (Master) is my cousin. To see where he’s gone after breaking all my needles trying to learn is massive. G-Whip is another cousin that is coming into his own. To see the spark light up and turn into a fire is motivating to me. Eric “DJ Eaze” Robinson was an understudy of mine and he wanted to learn bad, but didn’t know much about DJ’ing. I had him carry equipment, roll cables, hook up gear, break down and repack…thinking he’d say F-this! (LOL) But, he never gave up. He stuck with it, has become his own DJ, with his own brand, and now gets his own bookings. He also takes some overflow gigs for me. My other motivation is Fiddy Millz and Dee Jay Alicia. I think we all push the hell out of each other, kinda like steel sharpening steel. But not just in music, but in the walk of life. Music brought us together, but it’s love and family now. In helping others, it brings motivation. Not just musically, but personally. I always tell people if you’re feeling down and out…go help someone!
GO BANG! Magazine: You are a member of two entertainment groups, Ascension and Nu Bang. Please describe your connection to the groups and explain their impact to the nightlife community.
DJ Boxx: I first became a member of Nu Bang in 2009, so it’s been a while. Immediately upon becoming a part of Bang, I began working closely with Greg Gray, Celeste (Alexander), Craig Loftis, Sammy Rock, Tim Mc Callister and others on DJ’ing, promotion, production and the growth and representation of the Nu Bang Collective. Nu Bang connections opened many, many doors for me that probably would’ve been otherwise closed. It created opportunity to create relationships outside of Chicago that stretch around the globe.
Ascension (Elevate Your Mind, Body & Soul) – Ascension was an idea I came up with in 2013, but never acted on it because it was a lot going on DJ-wise for me. I currently had two residencies at the time, one in Chicago and one in Dallas. I had the vision and the idea of what I wanted it to look and feel like. So, when the Chicago residency ended, I sat down with my Ascension co-founder, (she didn’t know she was going to be that at the time) Lisa Henderson and I expressed my vision and desire for her to be a part of it. I really loved Lisa’s presence and energy. I felt as though she was the missing piece to the puzzle. Besides being friends and working together on events, she showed a level of professionalism, engagement, compassion and energy that I felt was needed to craft the Ascension characterization.
This ideology was the idea of impact on the nightlife scene that was envisioned. We wanted to be inclusive and not exclusive. Sure the music is paramount, but we wanted people to have a great time, grasp the good energy, vibes, the hugs and the laughs. Don’t think you’re just welcome…know that you’re home! We wanted the warmth, so we brought even more good vibes with G-Whip and Toni Marie joining us. We wanted to bring in and book DJs that are far reaching, as well as the DJ that maybe needs to get heard more. We are a collective of people that genuinely care about your experience at any Ascension event, rather it be at one of our monthly parties, personal party, party in another city or on an island in the Bahamas!
GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to being a DJ, you were a radio programmer and you have your own record label, Bosar Music. How has being a DJ influenced your abilities as a programmer and a label owner?
DJ Boxx: DJ’ing is the catalyst for all of that. I feel to be an effective, well-rounded DJ, you really have to have the study of music and its organization has to be almost effortless mentally. The ability to recall names, sounds, feels and sound textures is really what a DJ does. So, joining Cyberjamz and doing a mix show for three years was huge for me. I also did “Gotta Have House Radio” with my man Kenny Ray. The gathering of newer music at the time and its presentation was huge in getting in step with what the scene had become. Launching the label was natural. I felt as though the DJ opportunities and the programming show had given me the ear I needed to say, “I’m just not going to produce music for release on others labels.” I thought I’d start my own. So I went to work to gather the knowledge to do it correctly. House music was fresh, energized and new again to me.
GO BANG! Magazine: What type of music does Bosar Music produce, who are some of your past/present artists, what type of artists are you looking for, and how did you arrive at the name Bosar?
DJ Boxx: Bosar produces mostly Soulful House. Under the Bosar identity, even prior to starting the label, I’ve worked with Darryl Pandy…unreleased at this time. (DJ) Gene Hunt and I are about to re-work. My first full release was “Send For Me“ with Carla Prather: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoHAXgwPmLc. Wincie Collins did a beautiful spoken word on “Music Is My Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QtUhcC7MQ4 . Both released on Sophisticado Recordings. I’ve worked with Derrick Sales (DJ Sound) on a Luther Vandross remix “Wanna Love” that was released on TMC and eventually Bosar Music. Lafayette Parker was the vocalist on “Heavenly Journey” with me doing the spoken word part released on Joe Smooth’s label. Franky Parker performed on “Fly Free” with remixes from Sean Ali and Salah Ananse, released on Bosar. https://www.traxsource.com/title/775661/fly-free. I’ll also be releasing a production with Koffee (First Flowetrest of House) from New Jersey this year and two projects with some amazing performers from Detroit as well. It’s literally about six projects on the table including one with my Carla Prather.
Bosar is an acronym for – Boxx of Soul and Rhythm.
GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve experienced the House community as a DJ from various cities of America. Could you please describe the House scene here in Chicago and compare and contrast the scene to other locations you’ve spinned in?
DJ Boxx: Excluding the current pandemic (COVID-19), up to that point, and for as long as I can remember, Chicago has had the most consistent number of events / parties on weekly basis that I’ve experienced. Not being a homer either, I do believe that Chi has the largest concentration of DJs of any city, but also the best DJs. I think the number of DJs and opportunities to play created a vacuum. DJs in Chicago had to get good, out of sheer desire for a chance to even be considered to play.
I’ve played just about everywhere there is to play in the U.S., from the east coast to west coast, South Beach to Canada. Most of these other cities tend to have a complete diverse mix of dancers at a higher concentration than Chicago, I must admit. In Dallas, depending on the section, the music is wide ranging and accepted. If the doors open in Dallas at 9pm, at 9:05 the DJ has a full floor. In Chi, we are fashionably late. (LOL) I love the symmetry between the DJ and the Dancer in New York, it’s a flow. They get it in, but different than in Chi. It’s the same energy, but different. New Jersey is very close to Chicago in terms of feel, flow and energy. I really feel of parties in Houston as well. They are very receptive to the DJ, as well as in San Diego. Atlanta is very natural in its feel. It is a great chance to be very expressive with natural vibes and rhythms, when you DJ there. Detroit is awesome…gotta bring your energy! Chicago is a collective of all of these in my opinion. You can find all these aspects in one degree or the other here, while still holding on to the Disco/House foundation.
GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it personally?
DJ Boxx: Maaan, it’s heavy. It has thrown off a number of things for me professionally, as well as personally, like everyone else. Personally, I have been very selective about what I do, where I go and whom I’m around.
I can say that I can count on my hands and toes, the number of people I’ve been around constantly. I don’t do conspiracy theories. I’ve believed the seriousness of the virus since it was first made public. I know individuals who have lost their lives to it. So to that aspect, it is very personal.
As I type this, I’ve just had my third Covid test a few days ago. I believe we owe it not just to ourselves, but to our families and society, to make sure we follow the guidelines to limit the spread of this virus.
GO BANG! Magazine: What is next on the agenda for you? Do you have any projects lined up for later in the future, after the COVID-19 pandemic that you can tell our readers about?
DJ Boxx: Of course! The Bosar Music Production is in full-ops mode at the moment for upcoming releases as we speak. Nu Bang Clan is moving toward bringing in new members.
Ascension plus “The Squad”, which extends beyond Ascension itself, is planning some things for the near and far future, virtual events later in the year and hopefully real events next year. We are putting our faith in hopes that we’ll be beyond this pandemic.
Virtual events coming up are:
“BACK2BACK” w/ Dee Jay Alicia every Saturday 7:30 – 1:30am – http://Twitch.com/deejayalicia
“HOUSE STOCK 2020” Virtual Broadcast Sunday Sept 6th: https://facebook.com/events/s/house-stock-2020-virtual-broad/1202551810099670/?ti=cl
And of course mixes are always on Mixcloud:https://www.mixcloud.com/djboxx/
GO BANG! Magazine: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.” This incident has caused civil unrest and massive protests across the world. How do you feel about this unfortunate situation and call for police reform due to the horrible treatment of minorities by the police?
DJ Boxx: I found the officers’ actions and lack of care and concern for Mr. Floyd to be completely void of the level of humanity to even call oneself a human. What I saw was evil in action. Hate in its purest form.
Individuals that will behave in that fashion do not need to hold a badge in this society. Regarding police reform…sure. There’s also a need for further psychological training, in relation to arrests and responses. Hell, maybe even some sensitivity training. However, I do not feel that the “defund the police” aspect would be good for society…well definitely not here in Chicago.
You can follow DJ BOXX on FB: @DJ Boxx, @RegAnderson, @BosarMusic, on IG @DJBoxx, and on Twitch @BoxxBosar
Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram