This interview was one that felt natural for me. Dj Will The Thrill is someone I communicate with on a regular, so it was only right we sat down and discuss his career and his brand that’s taking over the Chicago night life. Me and Will met about a year ago and just recently he’s become someone I’ll call a friend. So it surprised me when we sat down and I learned some things about him he hadn’t yet mentioned. From him I’ve learned it’s important to show your child what you as a parent offer the world, because you never know how they’ll repeat your footsteps but leave a bigger print.
CHEANELL: Why are you plugged?
WILL THE THRILL: Because I’m a Dj but I’m not just a regular dj. Plus I’ve been reliable and consistent for a long time.
CHEANELL: It’s a lot of Chicago djs, I can name about five at the top of my head. What makes you different from the rest?
WILL THE THRILL: Me being able to read a crowd and I play that shit (he giggles). I know how to string things back to back and just go crazy. I can go deep, I get deep into my craft. I’ve studied music, my knowledge is what separates me from other DJs.
CHEANELL: We’ve had conversations where you’ve accredited your knowledge of music to your dad and uncle who were both djs. What was it like watching them growing up?
WILL THE THRILL: When I was young, like four or five, my dad used to have gigs and he would have to bring crates of music and all his equipment with him. I would help him carry that and help with the set up at his gigs. I would just sit there and watch. I didn’t want to always become a dj to be honest. My dad would try to pull me in, but I would say naw because I wanted to hoop. But one day, a switch flipped in my head and was like you need to do this.
CHEANELL: And your uncle?
WILL THE THRILL: My great uncle, he passed damn near before I was born, however, I always hear stories about him. When I tell people my last name they tend to ask “Are you related to Ron Hardy?” I’ve heard some of his edits and sets that my dad has, but I just hear stories. An owner of a club I dj for, found out who my uncle was and mentioned it was a club not too far from his that my uncle would dj at and he would have a line around the corner. It’s funny because this last weekend we had a line outside, so I tapped him and said “I got that line like my uncle did.”
CHEANELL: Why do you think Chicago djs can have lines wrapped around the block in Chicago but aren’t nationally recognized?
WILL THE THRILL: Our culture isn’t appreciated world wide and it starts with our music. The things we rap about, people in other cities can’t relate to. We rap about our blocks, we rap about killing, and that’s not what people in LA want to listen to while they party, so it keeps our culture in the city. djs like Envy who come from a different culture… where they culture is appreciated and appreciated to the point that they can branch out. Our culture is on the raise though.
CHEANELL: Is dj’n your forever career?
WILL THE THRILL: Yes, forever! I will always have some part in it. I don’t know if I’ll be as active as I am right now, but I’ll always have some part in it. It might be putting another DJ on or overseeing some DJs, but I’ll always have some part in it.
This interview has been edited and condensed.