Djentrification (Alex Votichenko)

Alex Votichenko, also known as DJentrification, has become an icon of the Phoenix underground music scene over the last 20 years. This strictly vinyl DJ brings an eclectic sound to his sets, fusing together a diverse selection of world beats mixed with classic soul and modern electronic styles. When attending his shows, you are likely to hear music you’ve never heard before mixed into classics that you don’t hear enough. 

As a native Phoenician, Alex was involved in the grafitti and underground dance scene in the early 90s. His passion for music started with creating mixed casette tapes until he was encouraged by some friends to start spinning on vinyl for their parties. Phoenix is a vast valley of connected communities that have gone through generations of shift. he’s seen his fair share of change and displacement in the Valley. Djentrification is his name, but it’s also his mission. He speaks out against gentrification and refuses to accept gigs from companies that contribute to it.

DJentrification is as authentic, grassroots and raw as they come. He’s not looking for promotion. He doesn’t want to make it big or prove himself to anyone. He’s also not afraid to use his microphone during a set to talk to the crowd, raise some funds for a friend in need, or call out that jerk in the front who needs to go drink some water. During his weekly 602sday residency at the Bikini Lounge in the historic Grand Avenue arts district, he has hosted water drives, sold burritos to raise money for a friend in need, and has utilized his status as a DJ to help others when he can. He also designs his own posters, which could justifiably create an epic retrospective exhibition on their own. 

Alex invited me into his home on February 4, 2019 to discuss his experience growing up in Phoenix and his process of growth as a counter cultural vinyl DJ in this desert metropolis. 

• • • • 

Produced as a graduate applied project by Malena Grosz, MFA, Arizona State University 

Intro music: “Moonlight Bounce” by Daniel T (with permission for use)

Podcasts edited by Corbin Garcia

Special thanks to Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University for grant-funded support of this project. Immense gratitude to my applied project committee for their guidance: Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain, Dr. Rachel Bowditch, and Dr. Steven Tepper.