Profiles: DJ Moma

DJ Moma at His NYC HomeAppreciation is all I have for someone that has the balls to ditch their suit and secure 9-5 for a life they’re passionate about. DJ Moma’s that guy. This time last year, after more than a decade of moonlighting as and becoming one of NYC’s most acclaimed soul and dance mixers, Mohamed “Moma” Hamad dropped his Manhattan engineering job for the nightlife and music.

Now that Moma’s freed himself from the necktie, he’s spending his days creating, whether it’s new mixes for sets, his Soundcloud page or original compositions as a producer.

I caught up with Moma at his apartment in the Flatiron District, where he talked about his journey from a DJ that once “bombed” in the early days to then being a chief party rocker. Days later I checked out his set at the Everyday People Brunch, a regular function in the city’s Lower East Side that he not only spins at, but also runs with socialite culinarian Chef Roblé Ali and brand consultant Saada Ahmed.

In addition to his Everyday People set at The DL, you can catch Moma at his Dance Dance Dance party on Wednesdays at Le Bain in the Meatpacking District, at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on Fridays, and monthly at Casablanca in Brooklyn.

Follow him on Instagram here and on Twitter there.

For Students: Sound, Man

MicsPardon me for going ghost for a bit. A new video is on the way (one week or less)!

I was waiting for some new equipment to arrive and of the several things I bought, I’m most excited about those bad boys up there—Rode’s smartlav+ Lavalier Microphones for Smartphones.  The more expensive ($200) Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder had been my go-to recorder. It came highly recommended from my video production buddies, so I went with it when I was putting my New to Video-Making starter kit last fall.

Several videos later, I’ve gotten the hang of using it, but don’t much like that I basically have to put it next my subject’s mouth (save for attaching some other doohickey to it) to get excellent sound. I suppose as a novice, I thought I’d be able to put it on a table in front of someone and hear more of them and less of the surrounding room. Silly me.

In my Hino video, it was between his legs on the ground. That went terribly. In the Naima video it was just out of the shot frame on a stool next to her. Because the room was so quiet, her voice came through clearly, but every time she rubbed her jeans or patted her knees, it was super loud. Fail.

Enter my buddy Jas’, who’d watched a few of my videos and knew I could use some sound help. She shot me the texts below:

Jas' smartlav+ Text

I jumped online and ordered a pair at a relatively cheap steal ($80 a piece). I just used one on my latest shoot and I’m sold. The quality is easily the best I’ve experienced and it’s super easy to use. I just plug it in to my iPhone, hit record and just like that, all the audio in my prior video stinks in comparison to it (the Ro James clip was pretty solid, though).

So I pass this advice to y’all now. If you too don’t have hundreds to spend on audio devices, the smartlav+ the way to go.

For Students: How to Make Your Skill Level Meet Your Taste Level

Closing the gap between the work I’m making and the work I aspire to make is something I think about often.

Two months ago, I was editing the Ro James piece and was feeling pretty good about it as I was wrapping it up. Because I hated the sound on my Hollywood Hino story, I was geeked that not only did I have a video with decent audio, but I had made something that I’d watch even if I hadn’t made it!

I texted my guy Joao, who helped me shoot the footage, and told him just that. Check out his response below.

Joao TextSo I find the clip and watch it. On my Tumblr, Convertible Drop, I wrote about how “Ira Glass just became an inspiration and a gas station to me.” I was crying, like, “Shit, he’s talking to me!”  This clip helped that much.

When you’re new at something, suck at it and spend a load of time watching others create at a high level, it’s easy to get down on yourself like I did. I needed this dusty, grainy-ass Glass pep talk and I’m so very thankful Joao put me on to it. Ira’s message is simple: Keep going. “It takes a while.” Noted.