D.J. MacHale talks about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” TV series and “Pendragon” Book Series

D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series, including Nickelodeon’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.  As an author, his ten-volume book series:  Pendragon:  Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Specials, the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.

Media Mikes had a chance to chat with D.J. about “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, “Ghostwriter” and “Pendragon” via Zoom and the video is posted below! Please enjoy and leave comments below of your favorite episodes of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”.

CD Review “Disney Junior: DJ Shuffle”

Disney Junior: DJ Shuffle
Various Artists
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Disney

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When I saw that Disney Junior was released their first compilation CD, I figured that I already had all the previously released albums and don’t really need the same songs again…but boy was I wrong! “DJ Shuffle” is a really fantastic collection of classic and (most importantly) NEW songs that have never been released before on an album. I think that Disney Junior could have gotten away with just throwing previously released songs on this album and I am sure people would have bought it. If you are a fan of Disney Junior, they I cannot recommend this album to you anymore! It has literally been on loop for the last three days and I see no signs of it slowing down.

Parry Gripp gets the album started with the title track “DJ Shuffle”. My 22 month old daughter immediately started shaking her butt during this techno track. Then we go right into one of Disney Junior’s biggest new shows “Sofia the First”. There is the theme song included along with the fan favorite “Blue Ribbon Bunny”. Then there are two new songs that haven’t been released on an album yet “Friendship is the Formula” and “Hoppin’ Out With You”. These are great and very fun songs.

Next up we go to “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”. First we get the new Swashbucklin’ Version of their theme song, which is previously unreleased. I have been really digging this new slightly more heavier opening for the show. Then we have two of my favorite songs “Roll Up the Map” and “Bubbly Blue”. There is also a brand new song “Swamp Stop”, which is also unreleased. I love the characters Sharky and Bones. There music is always such a blast to listen to and contributes so much to the show.

“Doc Stuffins” is up right after that with all new songs. There is an updated extended take on “Time for Your Check Up”. The other new songs are “Ready for Action”, “Picture You” and “Stuffy the Great”. Personally I feel that “Picture You” really doesn’t fit in with the album since it a very slow and kind of a downer after “Ready for Action” but it is still a sweet song. My daughter was dancing like an ole fool until this track and then she got bored and distracted. Luckily she was quickly grabbed again by the next show’s songs.

Of course what Disney Junior album is complete without “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”. In fact now that they have ceased production on this series, I have that they still continue to support it with future DVD and music releases. What kid doesn’t go crazy to “Hot Dog!” “Choo Choo Boggie” is another great track from the show. Lastly there is an extended version of the “Minnie’s Bowtique” opening from the short series.

Now the next and last two of the album are the real draw for me on this album, the first is “Henry Hugglemonster”. There is the main title included, “I’ve Got Pizzazz”, “To Monsterschool” (stay in your head ALL DAY!), “The Hugglemonster Way” (one of Summer’s better songs) and lastly “Heromonsters Whoohoo!”. This show is so great and I hope to see Disney Junior releasing a solo album for this sometime this year…hint hint!

The last show included is also the newest, “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”. This show features great music from singer Mandy Moore and Lucas Grabeel. The theme song kicks off the set followed by “Picture Perfect”, “Amazing Lucky Scarf” and “Ask for Help”. The one song I really was hoping for was “Horseshoe Peak”, which is not here. This show has so many great songs already and has only been on the air for a short time. So like “Henry Hugglemonster”, this show deserves a solo CD as well this year, no question!

Wrapping up the CD is four additional bonus karaoke instrumental tracks. They include “DJ Shuffle”, “Blue Ribbon Bunny”, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbuckin’ Version)” and “Time for Your Checkup”. There is still more if you put the CD into the computer you will be able to access additional special content. Keep them coming Disney Junior!

Track Listings:
1. DJ Shuffle (Parry Gripp)
2. Sofia the First Main Title Theme (Sofia the First)
3. Blue Ribbon Bunny (Sofia the First)
4. Friendship Is the Formula (Sofia the First)
5. Hoppin’ Out With You (Sofia the First)
6. Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbucklin’ Version) (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
7. Roll Up the Map (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
8. Bubbly Blue (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
9. Swamp Stomp (Jake and the Never Land Pirates)
10. Time for Your Check Up (Doc McStuffins)
11. Ready for Action (Doc McStuffins)
12. Picture You (Doc McStuffins)
13. Stuffy the Great (Doc McStuffins)
14. Hot Dog! (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
15. Choo Choo Boogie (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
16. Minnie’s Bowtique (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
17. Henry Hugglemonster Main Title (Henry Hugglemonster)
18. I’ve Got Pizzazz (Henry Hugglemonster)
19. To Monsterschool (Henry Hugglemonster)
20. The Hugglemonster Way (Henry Hugglemonster)
21. Heromonsters Woohoo! (Henry Hugglemonster)
22. Sheriff Callie’s Wild West Theme Song (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
23. Picture Perfect (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
24. Amazing Lucky Scarf (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
25. Ask for Help (Sheriff Callie’s Wild West)
26. DJ Shuffle (Instrumental)
27. Blue Ribbon Bunny (Instrumental)
28. Jake and the Never Land Pirates (Swashbucklin’ Version) (Instrumental)
29. Time for Your Checkup (Instrumental)

Help Support DJ Colette’s New Studio Album on Pledge Music

DJ, producer, vocalist – Colette has grown from an integral part of the Chicago underground into a breakout musical triple-threat releasing her most accomplished and fully realized artistic statement to date. Combining the tunefulness of classic pop songs with the thump of classic house of her hometown, the album ventures into new sonic territory for Colette, from intimate bedroom beats to stadium-shaking dance anthems. “When the Music’s Loud” is the sound of an artist at the peak of her powers.

Click here to help support DJ Colette as she launches the release of her new album, “When The Music’s Loud”!

Dj Ashba talks about working with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM

Dj Ashba is the guitarist for the hard rock/metal groups Guns N’ Roses and Sixx AM. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Dj about his work with the groups and hit recent connection with Bullyville.com.

Adam Lawton: How did you first get hooked-up with Axl Rose?
Dj Ashba: Sharon Osbourne introduced me to Axl in 2000 during the time I was recording the Beautiful Creatures album.

AL: What is the hardest part about balancing your work in Guns N’ Roses and your work with Sixx: A.M.?
DA: Well due to the fact that Sixx: A.M. is not really a touring band it makes things much easier. That’s not to say we won’t ever get out and play some shows, but we really enjoy just writing and putting out great albums. We tour a lot in Guns but we have some nice breaks which allows me to focus on my other passions.

AL: What was it that made you want to start your own media company “ASHBA Media, Inc.”?
DA: I was an artist before I was a musician, and in my mind art always goes hand-in-hand with music. When I was in Jr. High, I had a cartoon in the local newspaper and I have always been the “artsy kid”. I created ASHBA Media, Inc. when my artwork was seen by Virgin, and they appointed me as their agency of records to brand and market all of the Virgin Megastores worldwide.

AL: You are involved in a number of different ventures (music, art, clothing, etc.). Is there one that you find more satisfying than the others?
DA: No, One is a nice head break from the next, but they are all part of the same world.

AL: How did you get started with BullyVille.com?
DA: I had bought a brand-new house in Las Vegas, and my neighbor happened to be James McGibney-the CEO of Bullyville. After sitting down and talking to him I felt I needed to get involved. I think it’s a wonderful thing that he is giving people a place to go online to raise awareness. Because of what I had been through in my childhood, I wanted to help and Bullyville.com was the perfect vehicle.

AL: What other projects do you have in the works?
DA: I started a corporation called ASHBA AUTOMOTIVE GROUP with Ryan Freidlinghaus of WEST COAST CUSTOMS. We will be launching the brand-new, Limited Edition ASHBA CHALLENGER, by Dodge. We are very proud. It is the ultimate, modern “Rock N’ Roll Hotrod”. Rock N’ Roll and hotrods used to go hand in hand, and it’s an American tradition that we want to bring back in a big way. I will also be launching a social network, called “ASHBALAND.COMA Rock n’ Roll community”. It’s the ultimate place on the net for fans to unite, come together, and share their love for music.

LMFAO’s DJ DainjaZone talks about touring and DJing in Las Vegas

DJ DainjaZone is a member of LMFAO’s Party Rock crew. He has recently taken up residency at Las Vegas’ LAVO and will also be filling in for DJ Air on LMFAO’s current tour. Media Mike had the chance to talk with DainjaZone about his newest gig and what got him started DJing.

Adam Lawton: What got you into djing?
DJ DainjaZone: It was something that I had just a small interest in. The plan was to be a major league pitcher and have a DJ set up in my mansion of a living room. That fell short. Before that fell short I started DJing in New Mexico while I was there playing baseball for New Mexico State University. We had a big Halloween party coming up so I said I would DJ. I went out and bought a CD mixer so I could control the music. I was into the old school hip-hop and not what was poppy or hot at the time. I just wanted to play the older stuff at first. I eventually evolved in playing what is hot today.

AL: Would you say the basis of your style is mostly old school?
DJ DainjaZone: I am all about adapting to what is going on. I like to grow and be ahead of the curve. I would say my style is definitely new but it has a lot of old elements to it. Sometimes it just comes down to song selection. For the most part it is new. I edit all of the tracks that I use. I have personal edits of just about everything I use. That way what I am presenting to the crowd is unique and it won’t be heard anywhere else. We all have access to the same tracks so I create my own edits. I have my own a capella ins and outs. I just like to make it sound different than what is going on. This creates for a unique beat.

AL: What generally sparks you interest when creating a track?
DJ DainjaZone: Inspiration comes at any place and time. I can be in a club listening to a DJ and they will play one song and something will pop in my head about that song. There style will have nothing to do with that but when inspiration hits me and I think I can take a song and do certain things with it and that’s what I will do. I can take a song people are familiar with and intro it three different ways. These will be something you have never heard before. A lot of time inspiration comes from the club. I go to clubs and study DJ’s and the crowd. When I am there it’s always business.

AL: How did you initial get involved with the Party Rock Crew?
DJ DainjaZone: I have a couple friends who were close with LMFAO’s manager. Through those people I eventually met him at a music conference. He hadn’t heard me yet but had heard about me. I guess he was feeling me because he asked that when we got back to Los Angeles that we have a meeting. We met and he still hadn’t heard me. We started talking about politics in the game and seeing where my head was at and what my ambitions were. After seeing and hearing those he wanted to take me on and be my manager. This was the summer before “Party Rock Anthem” so there was a lot evolving with Party Rock. There name was starting to grow and they were touring around America. At the time they wanted to create a Party Rock brand of DJ’s. A lot more has been added to the show and to the crew.

AL: Can you tell us about your current gig in Las Vegas?
DJ DainjaZone: It’s called “La Freak Friday’s”. La freak is actually the alter-ego of the Party Rock clothing line. If you have seen “Champagne Showers” that is what La Freak is. It is mysterious, sexy and vampire like. There is a lot of dark involved. People will associate this with Party Rock. I did the show for the first time a couple weeks ago and it went exceptionally well. They want me to rotate there two times a month but LMFAO’s DJ Air recently broke his ankle in Moscow so I am going to be filling in for him over the next 3 months. I am going to be doing the main stage and after parties with them.

AL: Do you have any other projects we can be watching for?
DJ DainjaZone: I have had to cancel a lot of dates in America because of filling in on the LMFAO tour. A lot of this stuff is taking it month my month. It depends on how Air feels. I have nothing big planned after August. My number one priority right now is LMFAO. Where ever we go that’s my priority. I am going to be trying to take more control of my own bookings. When we have open dates I will be trying to get myself some shows and fill in those days. I still have my own brand to push and I want to keep my name relevant in the DJ and club scene. I don’t want to be just be known as that Party Rock DJ. I want to have other options. I will also be starting work on a new mix tape sometime in June. That will hopefully take me back to Australia in September.

CD Review “DJ Dougg Pound: Pound It”

DJ Dougg Pound
Pound It
Running Time: 37 minutes
Tracks: 27
Produced by: Doug Lussenhop

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

When we recently interviewed Doug Lussenhop aka DJ Dougg Pound, he said that he told us that he tried doing both stand up and playing in bands but wasn’t good enough at either one. He said he enjoyed most doing a combination of both. That combination makes up this really a fun and entertaining CD. It reminds contains a great mix of of comedy and music. It will leave you repeating the lyrics immediately after your first listen for sure.

I had the privilege of seeing DJ Dougg Pound perform live in NYC during a Tim and Eric show years ago and he easily stole the show. He was fun and entertaining and luckily some of the tracks he played or available on this record like the great track “Who? (Remix)”.  If you like Tim and Eric-type of humor and music, this is a must purchase.

“Pound It” is a high energy song and a great start to the album. Though my favorite track is easily “Numb My Gummies”, it is very funny and has stuck with me for days after my first listen. Normally when skits and music are mashed together, I find myself skipping the dialogue to get to the music…though not with this one. The question is asked “Do you want to hear the remix” at the end of each skit and the remix is basically a coked-up techno remix of the skit, mixed with music and pop-culture. The collaboration of the two work really well and links each track together almost seamlessly.

The album was score at 4.5 out of 5 stars, only due to the fact that I was left wanting more. I wish the album could have been double the length.  The tracks are produced very well and sound very sharp. I look forward to future albums from DJ Dougg Pound and I have a feeling this album is going to spend many years on my iPhone’s playlist.

Track List:
1. Pound It
2. Knock Knock
3. Who? (Remix)
4. Digital Cameras
5. Digital Cameras (Remix)
6. Party Next Week
7. I’m the Best Dancer
8. Ya
9. Ya Who? (Remix)
10. Pussy Car
11. Long Cummmings
12. Inspiration Point
13. Ghini Genie
14. Gimme Lamborghini
15. Any more Questions?
16. Numb my Gummies
17. Roid Rage
18. Do you believe in having some ‘roids?
19. Someone to talk to
20. npr.org (remix)
21. Kinda picky
22. Reubenesque (Remix)
23. End of CD
24. Hidden Track
25. Secret track (Remix)
26. Unlisted song
27. Nooooooo


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Interview with D.J. Qualls

D.J. Qualls is known best for his roles in the films like “Road Trip” and “The New Guy”. D.J. is currently starring opposite Jason Lee in TNT’s hit show “Memphis Beat”. Movie Mikes had a chance to attend a conference call to chat about the show with D.J. and how his character, Davey Sutton, is stepping up in season two.

Mike Smith: In the recent episode “Flesh and Blood”, you find an abandoned baby in your car, how does that shape Sutton for the future of this show? Will the baby experience stick with him?
D.J. Qualls: It definitely does. I mean it changes who he is as a man. Sutton has some realizations about himself and about what he wants for his future based on this experience with the baby. Actually, it kind of changed me a little bit as well. It changed how I feel about myself. I started making me think maybe it’s the time to start thinking about moving in a different direction in my life and settling down. So maybe that’s something that I’m going to start looking at soon.

MS: How has it been working with Jason Lee?
DJQ: Well, I think it helps a lot, the fact that this is the third job I’ve had with Jason.  I think it was my second or third movie with Jason, and then I was on “Earl” for a few episodes, and then, now, this show.  So I’ve known him a long time.  He was a friend before I did the show, which I think it makes chemistry easier. What I like about working with him most is that he keeps the mood on the set light.  We work very long hours.  We shoot in a lot of our show on location outside in New Orleans in the summer time and that’s brutal.  You’re pretty gnarly and he still always has a smile on his face.  He’s number 1 on the call sheet.  He’s you know our hero, essentially, on the show.  So working with him and when he’s in a good mood, we can’t help but be infected by that.

Q: What challenges you about playing as a police officer on “Memphis Beat”?
A: Well, this year the show has totally changed. We shifted more to a more serious, procedural kind of show. We’re still trying to fix the quirks that we had last season but this year we are focusing more on the crime, a little less on the quirk of being in the south.  Also last year my character was sort of, finding his footing, you know as a brand new cop.  So this year, I’m actually getting to do more cop work. I find that more interesting because I don’t often get to play a lot of serious roles.   Especially with the episode “Flesh and Blood”, which is, every year, I get one episode that’s a Sutton episode on my character. So in episode four you see I find a baby.  It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it was beautiful. I have seen it and I’m so excited for the audience to see it.

Q: Why do you think people keep tuning in to watch Memphis Beat?
A: Well, I think that we have become more of a standard procedural this year, but also we have maintained that character focus kind of show.  We really try to create a show where people just want to tune in an hour with these people. I think that there is a lot of heart in our show.  I read the message boards.  Some people don’t but if you don’t read your message boards, I think you’re stupid because you want to know what’s working and what’s not working about your show.  People just seem to respond to the heart of it.

Q: Can you talk about filming the shooting range scenes with Whitehead and are we going to see more Sutton helping them out in the future?
A: Those were really fun to shoot. Those shooting range scenes were awesome. Yes, this year, you see Sutton and Whitehead – because last year, Sutton and White Head really didn’t have a lot of interaction. Whitehead just sort of didn’t like how green he was. This year, Sutton really starts to prove himself and Whitehead responds to it. The actual shooting of the scenes were great. We had several days of prep. I don’t know why they were so nervous about me shooting a gun. I’m from the South and I got a gun when I was 12 years old. But we got to shoot in an actual police shooting range where all of the New Orleans Police Department trained.  It took about, maybe 6 hours and I shot probably 150 rounds during the filming of that. I’ve got to say, personally, I don’t really like guns. But it made me think, maybe I could own a gun. But then I walk away from it going, “You do not need a gun in your house.”

Q: I wanted to ask about the music on this show. It’s such a big part of creating the feeling. I’m wondering if you could just talk a little bit about how that fits in and your feelings about the music?
A: Yes, it definitely is a component. The music is a big component to this show because Memphis, if you’ve ever been there, the city is all music, all the time. You have these people who have been performing for 30 years on Beal Street in these barbecue joints and blues clubs. They are doing it for the pure love of it.  They aren’t doing it thinking cause they are going to get famous for doing it. That is a big difference from what you see in cities like L.A., where you come here and if you’re good at something, you want to be famous for it. These people just do it for the love of it.  I think that’s been a Memphis tradition you know from the birth. We actually don’t do the show in Memphis – we shoot it in New Orleans – I think that that music is a really important component to the show to make it have a more authentic feel.

Q: I was wondering if your character would see any romance on the show any time soon.
A: I do have a little bit of a romantic interest this season. We have a crime later in the season where somebody is doing identity theft and the person from the bank who’s brought on to help us solve the crime and I have a little bit of a romantic situation. It is sort of left open, but it was really sweet to play. The actress, Jennifer Masala, who plays the lady from the bank, was wonderful and sweet and cute. It was really fun.

Q: So you have been involved in a lot of different projects. What would you say you’ve learned and taken away from Sutton and “Memphis Beat”, in particular?
A: Well, when I first got the script sent to me, I was like, “There’s no way I can pull this off. There’s no way I can play a cop.” So much so that – and I’ve spoken about this before – but so much so that I didn’t even – I turned down the initial audition for this show. I just walked away from it. I had a crisis of confidence and said, “No.”  But luckily, the producers pursued me.  So I went in and I did my initial reading and they offered the show to me because they believed that I could do it. So what I’m taking away from this is keeping myself open and that I’m only limited by my own imagination. And we all are. So that’s what I’ll take away from this show. I have great relationships from this show as well.  I get to work with Alfre Woodard, who I have known for 10 years.  Jason, who like I said have known for about the same amount of time.  It is the best show I have ever had. It’s a feeling of a family like I have never known professionally. When you do a movie, you know there is an end. The show is open-ended and going for a very long time.  So you let your guard down in a different way than you do in a film. People really do become very close to you; I mean, your crew, also. I think that I’m going to take away from this experience just how wonderful it was to have that feeling of belonging.