Kurt Kaiser (aka DJ Kurt) is one of our most seen DJ’s in Maui nightlife. He works Casanova in Makawao on Wednesdays and Ambrosia in Kihei on Thursdays. Kaiser says it started with his love of music but once he got a taste of controlling the vibe of the party from behind the turntables, it was all over.
MAUITIME: What kinds of events do you DJ?
KURT KAISER: I started DJ-ing for the love of music but I’m lucky enough to have made a career out of it. I’ve played for weddings, birthdays, school events, clubs and pretty much any event that calls for music.
MT: Have you always wanted to be a DJ?
KK: My passion for DJ-ing began when I knew what a DJ did and how they worked the crowd. I love what I do to this day.
MT: How does living on Maui affect you as a DJ?
KK: Being on Maui has definitely helped my career in the fact that I’m born and raised here so I have everyone who I’ve grew up with, my Maui family, all supporting me from the beginning. Plus, I am still meeting and making new friends at every gig I do!
MT: What made you interested in being a DJ?
KK: I’ve always been interested in music. Ever since I was a kid I remember making mix tapes–sitting by the radio with a blank tape in the tape player ready to press record when a song would come on that I liked. As I got older, I became introduced to dance music and EDM and went to my first party. I saw the DJ and how he affected the crowd. This is when I knew that DJ-ing is what I wanted to do.
MT: If you hadn’t become a DJ, what other career would you have done?
KK: I’ve always been interested in marine biology. I love the ocean and all of its living creatures. I used to volunteer with the Pacific Whale Foundation cleaning up beaches and doing fun water activities.
MT: Do you dream of DJ’ing on the mainland?
KK: I love Djing on Maui but I have always dreamt of playing off island, there is so much more to see musically off of Maui. Occasionally I travel to the mainland for a show and have always wanted to do something there. The events on the mainland have a lot more put into them then they do here. Clubs have lots of intelligent lighting and big name DJs that you hear playing on the radio. It be a fun experience and a great opportunity.
MT: What drives your song selection?
KK: My playlist is based on the crowd or event. I usually like to bring a little bit of everything and I’ll go through different styles of sound until I find what the crowd responds to the most. I always come prepared to every gig with a collection of different styles to make sure I meet everyone’s taste.
MT: Do you play any musical instruments yourself?
KK: I’ve taken a couple music classes growing up but the only instrument that I really enjoyed playing was the piano.
MT: Have you ever considered becoming a pianist?
KK: People used to always tell me I should become a pianist because I have long fingers but I enjoy mixing music much more than playing it. I could see myself being interested in producing electronic music with a keyboard in the future.
MT: What’s your favorite musical style?
KK: This is a hard question as my musical style is always changing. I guess you could say that I like new sounds, fresh sounding beats. Right now I’m really into the Twerk Music–a type of EDM mixed with hip-hop sound that really gets the dance floor going.
MT: Have you made remixes as well as playlists for parties and events?
KK: Back when I lived at home with my parents I used to have my turn tables set up in the back room with speakers ready to go. Me and my friend Trevor (DJ Trvr) would get together and make mash-ups and mixes. Getting my first gigs in the clubs was a result of a mix I had recorded and given to the club owner. Going into an event, I make playlists based on the client’s preference and what I think will please the crowd. I usually prepare remixes when DJ-ing for club scenes or dance parties, too.
MT:What was your favorite memory as a DJ?
KK: A few months ago, I was DJ-ing at Casanova and I looked down and saw Dave Chappelle getting down on the dance floor. I’ve seen celebrities in Casanova before but this was the first time I saw one raging with the crowd! It was a fun night and one I will not forget.
MT: What’s your music collection like?
KK: I categorize my music by genre and from oldest to newest. I’m kind of old school about it in that I still use CDs because most DJ’s nowadays have all their music on a hard drive.
MT: Are you on social media?
KK: Yes, I’m on Facebook as Kurt Kaiser (DJ Kurt).
MT: What’s your preferred genre of music?
KK: It all depends on what type of event I’m DJ-ing. For more of a club scene, I like to play hip-hop and some of the more trending music remixed with my own personal style. When playing for my friends or myself, I prefer EDM and house music.
MT:What was your biggest gig with DJ-ing?
KK: I would have to say landing residency at Casanova as the Ladies Night DJ is one of my biggest gigs because it’s ongoing and always raging. Another big gig I was fortunate to be a part of was playing at the Mardi Gras Party in 2014 for the Maui Aids Foundation at the Kahili Golf Course. We’re actually getting prepared to do the next Mardi Gras Party on Feb. 7.
Where to catch DJ Kurt
Ladies Night, Wednesdays at Casanova, Makawao
Service Industry Night, Thursdays at Ambrosia, Kihei,
Feb. 7 at the Maui Aids Foundation annual Maui Mardi Gras party at the King Kamehameha Golf Club
Image of DJ Kurt courtesy of Branden-Jon-Photography