Interview: Milwaukee DJ Duo - BestFriends
Backdrop Artwork By: Carlos Rolón
Over the past year James Suchorski and Corey Wolf (aka BestFriends) have made their presence felt in clubs and venues across Milwaukee as well as statewide.
We recently sat down with BestFriends to talk about their career, their duo and their future.
Best Friends is two DJs, that’s pretty unique. How did that happen, how did you guys link up?
Corey: We’ve both always been involved in the music scene in one way or another and have been great friends.
James: Once Corey started DJing, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before we started a project together.
What advantage does there being two of you behind the table bring?
Corey: We both have different strengths and weaknesses, they compliment each other. I’m a bit fresher to Milwaukee nightlife, that keeps me excited every single time we play somewhere. We both spend a lot of time digging for rare music and I personally love scratching records.
James: Building off Corey, I’ve been in the DJ scene for quite some time. That’s made getting a variety of gigs much easier for us. Our brand is important and represents who we are, so we try to split up tasks evenly. Corey is great at promoting, while I keep our social media and designs looking fresh.
How did you get involved with Koss?
Corey: We’ve seen Martin Moore (content developer for Koss) at multiple networking events looking to spread the word about Koss. I had an opportunity to link up with him once before to take some product photos. We use headphones all the time too, whether listening to music, producing or DJing. We are always tuned in.
James: I’ve also seen a lot of peers in the Milwaukee music scene using Koss products and really wanted to get BestFriends involved with the brand. We want to represent Milwaukee, what better way to do so than working with a company like Koss?
If you guys weren’t DJs, what else would you be doing?
Corey: Whichever job I would be working I would find time to watch production tutorials and find awesome music throughout the day. I just graduated with my Masters degree in accounting, so maybe crunching numbers on the side.
James: It’s hard to picture not DJing! I’d still be playing music, either playing bass and guitar or producing beats and other types of electronic music. I have an incredible job as a Graphic Designer with a Milwaukee creative agency. If I’m being creative I’m happy.
What has been your biggest triumph?
Corey: Staying motivated to keep this project moving forward. Thankfully our (friends not fans) have been super supportive and people seem to like what we bring to the table. Putting yourself out there and asking people to accept you isn’t easy, but thankfully people notice that we are unique and want to bring something fresh and tasteful to the scene.
James: I’m personally proud of how far Corey has come in a short amount of time, it’s great working together every day. We’ve also opened at Site 1A for some great DJs that we look up to. Ardalan, Green Velvet and Bijou to name a few.
What has been your biggest tribulation?
Corey: Not a tribulation, but like any relationship, working on communicating and doing what’s best for each member has been something we both have been working on a lot. It makes the journey that much more fun to have somebody share the success and struggles with.
James: Learning to be patient has been huge. There are many factors to any music project that get stressful. You need to be kind to yourself and each other, that’s the only way you succeed when you’re working hard every day.
What opportunities does Milwaukee provide most other cities don’t?
Corey: We get to start off as bigger fish in a decently sized pond. There are national acts that come here to play, and we’ve been thankful enough to provide support for them because there aren’t as many DJ’s competing for the 1 or 2 opening slots.
James: I’m proud of Milwaukee because the music scene is growing so much. We’re getting artists here that you normally only see in places like Chicago. The team at Site 1A and Brew City Bass have really helped get phenomenal artists here and have shown us a lot of love and support. There’s also a lot of other great local DJs and bands to work with.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about both of you?
Corey: Most people don’t know that I can sing really well (at least I think I can). I competed in vocal competitions singing in other languages throughout middle school and played a lot of gigs in a band called Carrying Chris in high school.
James: I’ve been DJing longer than some people know (over 10 years now). I’ve gotten to play some cool shows that I’m proud of. I was also the bassist in an alternative rock band for a couple years with Corey’s brother, that was a great time period in my life.
How has music shaped who you are?
Corey: I come from a musical family. Growing up we were always singing and performing. When I started digging for records about 5 years ago, I realized that it was a part of my identity to take my keen taste for music and use that to express who I am. Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers provide a lot of wisdom for a young man.
James: Like most people, music has helped me through a lot in life. I was in theatre and performed in musicals at a young age. I’m a fan of a multitude of styles, genres and artists. I love learning about music and artists, that alone has given me a great outlook on life and the power to be more creative.
So what does 2019 look like for you guys? Event's, Shows? Plans?
Corey: Keeping our nose to the grindstone! We are finishing up some original music this month on top of having a full schedule of gigs. We have residencies at Belmont and Snack Boys currently, two of our favorite spots to play. We plan to take opportunities that help build our brand, while continuing to grow as musicians and individuals.
James: I’m definitely most excited about releasing our original music and getting it in the hands of other DJs. We’ve got some cool ideas and I can’t wait for people to hear them. We’ve also got some special shows lined up for summer, at our favorite venues with some cool artists. One is actually on a boat.
What does the next 10 years look like for BestFriends?
Corey: Over the next decade we hope to be steadily releasing original dance music, playing shows and festivals around the country… maybe even the world? The only things certain are death and taxes, so we continue to work as hard as we can everyday and welcome the opportunities we’ve earned. The sky’s the limit!
James: We just want to stay true to ourselves, have fun and make a lot of friends. I’m looking forward to eventually playing out of state. Leaving our mark on the dance music scene in a meaningful way while representing Milwaukee is the goal. For right now we’re going to keep working hard and live in the moment. Express gratitude every day and remember where you came from, that will get you anywhere you want to go.