Catching Up with DJ Kenny Murray

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Kenny Murray is a DJ with a heart of gold. Or maybe make that green.

Murray is DJ’ing the Big Green Cruise, co-hosted by this great publication, OutWire757. The Big Green Cruise — aka The Big Gay Cruise for Weed — is a way for the community to rally behind marijuana reform in Virginia while upon the beautiful Spirit of Norfolk.  

“I think we need marijuana law reform because the laws are old and based on false information,” said Murray, who has been one of the most popular DJs in the local scene for years. “The Reefer Madness days are over, and everyone knows it.”

We got a chance to ask Murray about his beginnings in music, what he’d bring to a desert island, and when he thinks marijuana will be legalized in Virginia, if at all.

OutWire757: How did you get into DJing? What have been some of the acts and styles along the way that have been most inspirational for you?

I’ve been DJing for 19 years. I started training in classical piano when I was a kid, then moved on to guitar and metal bands. At the same time I was experimenting in recording electronic music with synthesizers, a sampler, and a 4-track recorder. In 1999 I went to a rave where I saw DJs mixing electronic songs with records and a set of turntables. This was incredible to me and I knew it was something I had to do.

I started off as DJ Kazper, mixing drum and bass records, mostly performing in VA at
underground parties and events. Eventually I stopped going by Kazper and switched over to house and techno and in 2007 I began releasing my own productions under my own name, Ken Murray, on various indie record labels. I’ve had my tracks remixed by many talented artists and received support from some major DJs. Eventually I got the chance to travel a bit and DJ in
Charlotte, DC, and Richmond many times.

I’m inspired by almost all genres of music. I listen to hip-hop, RnB, Indie Rock, Metal, and just about every genre and sub-genre of EDM. I think it helps me when I’m DJing or producing to be a well-rounded listener. If I had to pick a favorite label/artist it would be DIrtybird records in Cali and label boss Claude Vonstroke. He always puts out killer tunes, produced perfectly, and they always have super fresh artwork on every release. I also listen to Nicole Moudaber’s techno mixes on the regular. There’s something extra cool about a tough female techno DJ, yass!

The basics: Where are you from, how did you end up in Hampton Roads, who are you, in a nutshell?

I was born in DC and moved to Chesapeake when I was young for my dad’s job. I’ve lived here ever since except for my college days in Blacksburg, Va at Virginia Tech where I received my Biology degree. Now I live in Norfolk with my husband Todd and our two Chihuahua fur babies. I currently work in the family business and DJ/produce on the side. Lately I have been DJing for yoga events, either with loudspeakers or with headphones, silent disco style. This has been a fun new outlet for me to be creative with my mixing, playing downtempo and ambient grooves. It’s incredible to see so many people in Hampton Roads getting down with electronic music now. It has become more mainstream, and gives Djs like me who have been in the underground a chance to come forward and show people something they may not have experienced before.

We’re glad to have you on board with this event! What is your opinion on marijuana, and marijuana reform?

I’ve always supported people’s choice to do as they please as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. I think especially for a gay man, the right to ‘do you’ is more important to us since we were told for so long, ‘you can’t do you, because it’s wrong.’ It’s kind of the same vibe. If something in life brings you joy, do it. If marijuana brings you joy, heals you, relieves anxiety, stops seizures, makes migraines bearable, etc…then we should have access to it. I don’t believe anyone has the right to tell another person they can’t consume a plant that exists on this planet, especially if they enjoy it and it helps them.  States that have legalized have a booming cannabis industry and states that have decriminalized are moving in the right direction.

I think that the Federal government should change Marijuana’s status away from other dangerous scheduled drugs and give states the option to vote on whether they should have a medical, recreational, or combo program available to their residents.

How long until you think it is fully legal in Virginia?

It’s hard to say with the current political circus going on, but I’d like to think we are getting closer.  The recent law passing to allow the use of CBD oil in VA is a huge first step. Also, the tax money being generated in legal states is massive and I think that other states are starting to take notice. Colorado and California, for example, will be boasting new schools and highways while other states budgets are in the red. Why not give people access to what they want, make money for state improvements, and stop wasting current taxpayers money on arresting poor people that smoke.

Desert island. You can bring with you one person, one animal, one book, and one record.

My person would be Toddy, my hubs, because we are best friends, we’ve been together for ten years, and I don’t ever get tired of being around him!

Animal would of course be my Welly & Alfie (two Chihuahuas count as one!) Welly will protect us and Alfie is silly, loveable and fun to play with.

It would be very difficult to choose one book for me, but if I had to…it would probably be The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series because it’s fun, it satisfies my science mind and it also reminds me that there’s a great big universe out there.

Do we still have to choose just one record when I could bring a full iPod? But if I had to choose only a couple of albums to take, I would pick a Nirvana album, a Nine Inch Nails album, and a couple of DIrtybird DJ mixes J.

The Big Green Cruise is January 18. To reserve your spot, click here (and below). Seats are very limited, and the bar will be premium and open.

For more on Kenny, check him out on Beatport, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, and Instagram.

Big Green Cruise for Virginia NORML