Who do you think I think I am?

Most of us were given a name by someone else.  We usually keep the name and deal with it.  There are those who decide to have it legally changed.  Sometimes the change happens naturally.

I call all my friends by their stage names.  I see the creator under the name-tag.  I gave myself the name of “SOL” in the early 2000’s.  Within a couple of years I created “13pieces”.   Along with the name came a new identity.

There is always a desire to explain more of myself when introduced as Justin.  If I hear  ” yo, 13!,” I know they are calling the intentionally created student and master identity. When someone asks who or what is 13pieces, I suggest listening to the mixes, which are available on Mixcloud, Soundcloud, and the Mixlr Archive.

When I made the mixes as 13pieces I was making mixes only with vinyl.  Time, distance, and human interaction were the elements within the blends.  The weight of the records determined what you would play because sometimes you couldn’t carry as many as you wanted.  The music would range from dollar bin boxes to records that are considered priceless.  Many of the records came from DJs who went a direction that led them away from collecting.  I provided a vinyl sanctuary; a home for the plastic plates within pristine paper walls.

The example above is “every day carry,” a vinyl mix.  I start with Amon Tobin’s “Creatures” from the Bricolage album.  Imagine water silhouettes falling hard onto the polished onyx pavement, gutters overflowing, flooding every yard on both sides of my path.  Hear the rain tapping madly on my waterproof hood, closed ear headphones containing bouncing waves of sound within hollow shelled bounds, the symphony in my ears reflecting the one my eyes witnessed.  This entry gives the nod to jazz and a look into the future.  It is followed by a weave of hip hop and drum&bass, chosen for their creative use of language, turntablism, and bassweight.  This mix expresses a way I identify with:  walk artfully and with a strong goon hand.


In the next mix I push my creative boundary and explore a new way of mixing. It is live mixing, live improvisational acting, and live broadcasting. I used one mic to play two people. In this true storytelling mix, I take Justin to listen to 13pieces play at a beach party. I introduce Justin to “E”and techno. Listeners were included as characters in the story.

Despite making peace with digital, I felt that a name change was necessary to protect 13pieces. I wanted to distinguish his art from the other despite it being the same person. I created DJ Chopper for that reason. More about DJ Chopper will come later.

The story continues. Everyday I develop the characters and create new ones. This is the gift of imagination and the power of identity.  We strive to live up to the expectations of our identity. Why not grow and cultivate ways to extended community?  I grew up within a tribe, but I met my people when I met a few of my selves first.