He makes you get your jam on at club events, you bump his mixtapes in your rides, you listen to him on Hot 93.7, you call him up for the hottest album & promotional graphics, so the question remains; is there anything that DJ Semi can’t do? The soon to be 25 year old DJ/graphic artist from Waterbury , CT, Matthew “DJ Semi” Frenis has his hands on many projects these days and with his growing popularity and talent, he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. I had the pleasure to chat with the mogul in the making and got the scoop on his musical influences, accomplishments, goals, and the excitement of his upcoming birthday bash.
Although hip hop is synonymous with Semi, he actually grew up listening to alternative rock in his Catholic school days. His tastes slowly changed towards the rap genre as artists like Limp Bizkit starting adding hip hop elements to their hardcore rock sounds. It wasn’t until Jay Z’s Volume 2 and Eminem’s The Slim Shady LP that Semi really got into hip hop music. “Those albums changed my life” he recalls along with watching DJ’s Funkmaster Flex and Scribble liven the party hungry spring break crowds on MTV. At the young age of 12 Semi showed his ambition and passion by trading in his Nintendo games for his first set of turntables at a local pawn shop. “I was a weird and creative kid,” Semi stated of his ability to teach himself how to mix on his freshly acquired tables.
His newly found hobby suddenly became a huge part of his life and as early as 8th grade he began spinning at parties. By the time Semi got to high school he took his influences of DJ’s Clue, KaySlay and Green Lantern and began putting together hip hop mixtapes filled with not only the hottest hits, but many of the “rebellious” rap tracks he had a passion for from artists such as Eminem. At 17 he became the official DJ of late rapper Stack Bundles giving him on opportunity to network with big names in the hip hop industry. This connection, along with his talent for graphic design allowed him the opportunity to create album covers and logos for the likes of Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Lloyd Banks and D-Block.
Semi knew he had a gift for design so he attended Naugatuck Valley College to hone his skills. He excelled in all his classes and admits to being so advanced that he used class time to brainstorm album cover ideas for his mixtapes. This, along with producing has gained Semi attention in the CT hip hop scene and his recent link with one of the biggest rappers in Connecticut right now, Chris Webby for the “Best of the Burbs Tour” has had the mix master extremely busy touring. All his work is paying off for him, and his graphic design company Sparkdesigns.Biz is doing so well he’s looking to take some young, talented designers under his wing.
Of course Semi comes across a lot of talented musicians across the state so I had to ask him what he thinks about our artist’s chances of making it big in the industry. Semi strongly feels that CT artists need an “original sound” and should stray away of emulating the styles of rappers from other states. Originality and unity amongst artists would make the CT music industry, like Semi himself, a force to be reckoned with. To find out more about DJ Semi’s music and designs you can find him on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/djsemi), twitter@DjSemi, DJSemi.com, Sparkdesigns.biz, and his mixtapes are available as free downloads on Datpiff.com.
Dj Semi will also be hosting his birthday party alongside Chris Webby, DJ KG, Al-Fatir, Noedall,and OnCue this Friday, March 13th at Club Plazma in Danbury. Semi encourages attendance for a great time with some of CT’s biggest up and coming names in hip-hop.