Omi

After so many years playing Francis on “Malcolm in the Middle” how did DJ Chris Kennedy come about?

My brother had been a DJ for a decade before I started so I was exposed to it a lot and I messed with it when I was a teenager here and there. Five or six years ago I started doing it and realized really quickly how much work that it takes to go out and play and not suck. I deejayed in my bedroom for two years, literally two years that I’d just be whiling out in my bedroom. You can tell I have tons of friends! I would record my sets and feel like I was Michael Jackson while I was playing but then I’d listen and they were terrible. So I just kept practicing and when I felt like I was okay I started playing at restaurants, house parties and random little places. I did that for a long time until I started playing at a bar here or there and I’d be really nervous.

And now you’re kicking off Lollapalooza weekend performing at Studio Paris.

Yeah! I just kept going up and up.

How do you like performing in Chicago?

Chicago is awesome. Sincerely one of my favorite things is coming and playing at Studio Paris. It’s such a good club and good crew of people. R.J. [Melman] and I have some weird history with our parents so there is just lineage here. I love Lollapalooza. It’s actually my favorite festival.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at Lolla?

There are so many. Tomorrow I am going to see The Black Keys, I love them.

Are you a Coachella fan?

Yeah! It’s great, right? Lollapalooza is like Coachella but not in the middle of nowhere. You’re not standing in dirt with dust inside of your mouth. Here you have the beautiful lake and the city behind you.

How does DJ Chris Kennedy relax and transition into Chris Masterson?

I really can get relaxed anywhere. I fly six times a week.

What is one thing you won’t travel without?

I can’t fly without my pants! Honestly, my laptop. I work for the first three hours of my flight. I do everything on the plane and then when I land in the next city I don’t have to worry about catching up.

Where are you most creative?

I was on an elk hunting trip in Montana and it was eight days in a canvas tent with the little thing you throw wood into and it was 100 degrees below zero. That was my last camping trip but it was amazing because you don’t have a phone. My mind started thinking in a radically different fashion than everyday life. Now any thought I just drop into my phone or I write to that person. When you’re disconnected you just start thinking of things and then they pile up and you get all of these creative ideas. Every good idea that I have I think of in the shower. When I have to do a character for acting that is not how I am I always crack the code in the shower. I’ll just be thinking or trying stuff out and then I’ll hear myself and it’s good because it echoes so I’ll come up with a whole idea. By the time I get out of the shower I have the character nailed down.

Are you the type that keeps a pad of paper by your bed?

No, I have an iPhone. What is this, 2011? Yeah, I lean over and grab my typewriter and feed some paper into it and write down my big ideas.

[R.J. Melman: Your set time is in five minutes]

What are your favorite restaurants in the city? Besides Paris Club.

And besides Hub 51 and RPM? One of my new favorite restaurants—and this is also sincere—is R.J. Grunts. I went there on my last trip and I’m going on Sunday. I’m playing a set tomorrow night and Saturday night and I have Sunday off.

You have to get the buffalo chicken nachos.

I don’t really like buffalo sauce. I’m not from the Midwest!

Is an affection for buffalo sauce a Midwest thing?

I just assumed it was. Isn’t it like football and buffalo sauce?

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

I’ll think on that. I’ll play you the answer!

Photography by Neal Agustin

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Omi