Q&A with DJ Tarzan


Matthew Martinez

San Diego for years has had all-time radio personality greats help us wake up in the morning. You may not realize it but they are a part of our everyday lives with an abundance of enthusiasm that only early risers would understand and corky prank calls that fill out a morning show slot. Morning show stars such as Geena the Latina, Frankie V, Big Boy’s Neighborhood, and Jagger and Kristi have had success and have been shown love and admiration throughout the years from San Diego. For Tre O’Connell he too hopes to follow their footsteps and make his mark in the San Diego community. Formally on the radio as DJ Tarzan, the one third of the morning show on Jam’n 95.7. In this Q&A we discussed his humble love for music which then turned into a DJing career. The steps he took to be a part of a radio station as promotions to producing his own morning show.

-How did you fall in love with music?

How I fell in love with music was weird because I feel as a kid I wasn’t allowed to listen to music. My parents would listen to their own music so I kinda just went along with it. It wasn’t until high school when I was around my friends they would talk about this album dropping or this certain artist is cool and from there I started to pay more attention.

-What was the first genre of music that caught your interest?

Oddly enough it was rock music. My dad was a big Beatles fan and he would play it around the house… When I’d go to the skate park as a kid I would always hear linkin park and I thought it was dope.

-So did that love of rock music transition to the radio? Or did you dive into it a little more?

Radio would always be in the background because my parents were always working so it would be playing in the car wherever we were going so it’s like you just always hear it. I was curious about how radio works, “How did they do this or that?” So when I was a Dj it was easy for me that from that point on I knew I wanted to spin as a DJ on air. Now that I’m in the business and knowing what goes behind the scenes peaked my interest more.

-When did you start to realize that DJ’ing can open doors for you?

I learned that in high school, and with friends around me, I would just DJ for fun and upload my tracks to SoundCloud. I was invited to spin at one of my friend’s parties and my friends and the crowd came to like what I was spinning, and through that support, that’s when I realized I can do this and make something out of it. If I never would’ve seen that people liked what I played I probably would’ve never seen any opportunities in DJ’ing.

-What drives you to keep DJing?

I think about it a lot. It’s the people and how (spinning)affects them. When I get into sets at bars and clubs, I don’t create a playlist with X,Y,and Z of songs, I kind’ve have an idea, and when I see individuals at the bar I vibe with I then have the ability to freestyle a certain rhythm to keep a vibe going. Whether it is a kids birthday party or one of the radio promotion events, I always play for that one person who enjoys it.

-Would you use those techniques on the morning show?

Yeah it translates. My role on the morning show is the role of producer. I ask myself, ‘How can I create a product so that the people can feel a part of it?’” I mostly take the listeners phone calls and I take the time out to just listen to them… I have been treated like a human so I would only hope I can be that way for someone else.

-How did you end up at iheartRadio?

It happened in high school. I was the opening DJ at this hookah lounge for Dj C Rizz — who is on Channel 933 — and I’m hounding (him) to see if I can get a job, and he told me no every time. Eventually he ended up getting a promotion and he told me to apply to this position. He explained the position to me and told me it’s not an on-air position or a position to get your mixes on air, it was a position to get your foot in the door to do all those things. I ended up being on the street team for three years before I got my mixes on air. I had to lay the groundwork and gained (everyones’)trust in the building and that made it difficult.