Alter The Press!


Interview: DJ Rossstar

Since 2002 DJ Rossstar’s Punk Rock Show has been exposing fans worldwide to new music from his home-made studio. In the 8 years since its inception, DJ Rossstar has interviewed the likes of Fall Out Boy, AFI, Good Charlotte, Paramore, Katy Perry, All Time Low, and many more.

DJ Rossstar recently spoke to Alter The Press! about the show's origins, punk rock, the internet music community and more.

ATP: Let's start at the beginning. I understand the show started when you were in college in Washington, DC. What made you want to do the show?
DJ Rossstar: I started the show for a few reasons. Growing up in Long Island, I was one of few who listened to pop-punk music (Goldfinger, Less Than Jake). I loved turning friends onto my music, but found it hard to discover new music myself. By hosting my own music show, I would be able to expose a large audience to music I enjoyed & also get recommendations from the listeners. I wanted to host my own talk show on the web (& not just play music) because I hated watching interviews on television. Regardless of what show/channel the artist was on, they would always be asked the same ten questions. It became pointless to watch more than one interview per artist because you could already predict the questions & answers. I wanted to create a show that allowed me to ask my favorite artists about anything. No FCC. No rules. No set questions. No restrictions. While also allowing the viewers at home to interact & ask questions too. Just because it's my show, doesn't mean they have to just sit back and watch. I wanted my own show, so I started my own show.

ATP: For those who may have not heard the show, How would you summarise it?
DJ R: DJ Rossstar's Punk Rock Show is a live webTV show that airs Wednesday & Thursday night (7-8pm PT) on Every show features a 10-minute phone interview with an artist and a 50-minute interview with a studio guest. There is no planning ahead of time on my show. Anything can happen. artists will debut new songs, perform acoustically, take phone calls from fans and so forth. The show is shot live in my studio apartment in Los Angeles. This relaxed and original atmosphere, blended with my music-enthused personality, allows the artist to relax and be themselves. We've had everyone from Katy Perry to Pete Wentz to Juliette Lewis come by the studio for the live show. It's an exciting way to interact with the viewers & for the viewers to interact with them.

ATP: With the show being called 'The Punk Rock Show', I assume you're inspired by the genre. Any bands in particular that have shaped you and the show?
DJ R: Pop-punk music has been the soundtrack to my life since 1994. Operation Ivy, Rancid, Offspring, Suicide Machines, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, MXPX, Ataris ... but Green Day is my favorite. Their music has inspired and encouraged me to be an individual and follow my dreams, regardless of what is expected of me from my peers and society in general.

ATP: Some might say having bands and artists like Brokencyde and Katy Perry on the show isn't very punk rock. What is your response to this?
DJ R: If I only interviewed 'punk rock' artists on my show, I would be very limited. To me, 'punk rock show' represents the DIY ethics of the show
itself. I book my own guests. I ask my own questions. I choose all the music. I have two team members helping behind the scenes and that's it. We are not run by a big corporation, nobody is funding us or paying me a salary to do this. I do the show because I love it.

ATP: Do you think the punk rock ethos of community and togtherness has evolved and grown into the digital age as dozens of forums and social
networks has allowed fans to connect one way or another?

DJ R: Their are too many scenes nowadays in the so-called 'punk' scene. You have 'scene kids', 'hipsters,' 'screamo kids', 'emo kids', 'pop-punk', if everybody would get along, that would be fantastic. But there is alot of bullying that goes on through the internet between these scenes. However, yes, it has allowed fans to meet each other, they've gone to form their own street teams and plan get togethers when their favorite artists are in town. Pre-internet, the only fellow music lovers you met were at shows, now you can meet them online.

ATP: I hear this is one element you have included in the show by having fans interact by asking questions to guest. Has this been a vital element to the show's success?
DJ R: Absolutely. We have viewers from all over the world that stay awake to watch the show & talk to their favorite artists. It's tough sometimes to meet your favorite artist after a show, and you can never really tell if the person n their Twitter page is actually them replying. My show is live & you can physically see the artist answering your questions. Nobody else allows this type of interaction in the music scene & I believe this has definitely helped the viewership grow to its current 35,000 - 45,000 viewers a night.

ATP: Although the show often features well-known bands like All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, you also regularly feature smaller bands. How important and influential is the Punk Rock Show bands like this?
DJ R: Very. You never know who is going to become successful, and I try not to book artists just because they are successful. I book artists I believe it. Pete Wentz did my show alot before FOB hit big. Katy Perry did one of her first interviews ever on my show, same with Paramore, Panic! at the Disco & Cute is What We Aim For. If the music is good, everybody deserves a chance.

ATP: Out of the small bands, who would you recommend we listen to?
DJ R: I would recommend A Sky Harbor, Lido Beach, Civet, Lights Resolve & Blackout 101/

ATP: Who has been your favourite and/or most interesting guest?
DJ R: I honestly enjoy every interview. Each artist brings something new to the table. Last night (March 10), Juliette Lewis came over. I didn't
know what to expect. I thought she would park, see my apartment & drive away but she loved it. She has a great personality and truly understood how influential my show can be for artists of all sizes. She is probably one of the most successful guests to ever sit on my dirty black futon.

ATP: In the past you've covered events like Warped Tour and Bamboozle. Who are you looking forward to seeing on both this year?
DJ R: I am very interested in seeing AFI this year at Bamboozle Left. I have only seen them once before, but I have become good friends with
bassist Hunter Burgan this year & it's made me want to check out their live show again. They've been around so long, so it's gotta be good, right!? At Warped Tour, I enjoy watching the bands I have never heard of. I couldn't even give you names yet. When I show up, I look at the board & pick at random to discover something new.

ATP: Since the show started in 2002. How has the show, the music scene and your view on the industry changed?
DJ R: The show has gone from 200 listeners on Internet radio to 40,000 viewers on webTV. My interviewing skills have definately improved. Some of the equipment I use has too (Except by PC from 2004). The music scene has expanded. There are so many different sounds. Who would have thought we'd hear electronics in screamo music? Who thought screamo would even exist? As for the industry, I always encourage my viewers to follow their passion, but to be aware that if you want to be very wealthy, working in the music industry is definately not for you. But if you have a love for music that seems almost unhealthy, it will make you happy to go to work every single day.

ATP: Moving away from US bands. Do you have any favourite UK bands?
DJ R: I need to learn more about artists from the UK. I really don't know much. Care to teach me?

ATP: Anything you'd like to say to close the interview?
DJ R: DJ Rossstar's Punk Rock Show is not funded by a big corporation & I am not employeed by a company to do this show. I book all my own interviews, ask my own questions, and moderate my own social networking sites. Therefore, it is very important for you to help spread the word about my show. Whether you tweet about it, tumblr it, blog it, Facebook it, everything counts!

Catch DJ Rossstar's Punk Rock Show every Wednesday and Thursday night at


Sean Reid

Alter The Press!