Who do you think I think I am?

At one point we were given a name by someone else and that name had little to do with anything that was to become of the new being. Most times, we keep the name and deal with it. Sometimes we legally change it when we decide that is best for us. Sometimes the change happens naturally.

I call all my friends by their DJ names.  I gave myself the DJ name of “SOL” in the early 2000’s.  Within a couple of years I created “13pieces”.  I enjoyed the name and felt that it should be a new identity.  I would like for everyone to call me 13pieces. And that happens sometimes. Those who hire me only know me as 13pieces and Justin makes less sense. Slowly I discovered the power of identity and name. I felt i was understood more when I was talked to as 13pieces. There was always a desire to explain more of myself when introduced as Justin. When someone asks who or what is 13pieces, I suggest listening to the discography. And when I say discography I don’t mean that I have been doing this professionally for years, but that I have been doing this intentionally for years. Hundreds of mixes are available online.

When I made the mixes as 13pieces I was making mixes only with vinyl. I feel they are unique because they are produced with time, distance, and human interaction. The weight of the records determined what you would play.  Sometimes you couldn’t carry as many as you wanted.  The music will range from dollar bin boxes to records that are considered priceless by some. The older mixes used the bare minimum to accomplish something unheard and necessary (to me).

The example above is “every day carry,” a vinyl mix I made as an audio representative.  I start with Amon Tobin because one night, walking in the rain  with this song in my headphones, the symphony in my ears matched the one my eyes beheld and we all walked in synchronicity.  Imagine water falling hard onto the black street and seeing the rushing gutters overflow. 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.  These songs express the way in which I walk; artfully and with a strong goon hand.


As I ventured into creating sets that were digital, I asked more of myself since I was using a format that I felt was easier to control than vinyl.  Whenever I see someone playing digital tunes I feel that they should either be extremely demanding or creative with the mixing.  The next mix is a 13pieces mix that asked a little more of me.  It is live mixing, live 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.

I am 13pieces, but I can only split myself up so many times before it really gets weird.  I love creating names for myself and I enjoy creating new days for these people.This is the power of identity.  When you know, you can feel it.  I grew up within a tribe, but I met my people when I met a few of my selves first.

2 thoughts on “IdentiFYI

  1. When I returned from the beach in Playa Del Carmen I listened to Radio-theater over and over hearing something new each time. It conveyed that kind of experience so perfectly it made me feel like I was back at the Blue Venado at the BPM Innervisions party all over again. The layers of this sound art are amazing. I thought of how many times in life I have been the teacher and the student and how nice it is to have someone take you under their wing…

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