A sketch is defined as, “a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture.”
This definition is also why it made perfect sense as the stage name for Kevin Sylvan, who approaches each night he hits the turntables as DJ Sketch with a blank slate looking for a new, free-flowing masterpiece.
“Anybody can copy and repeat what I call the safe songs which are radio songs [during their set],” states DJ Sketch. “There’s way more music than that. There are a lot of people who love the less popular songs out there.”
Being different is what he believes was most important to his musical growth and is his primary advice to up and coming DJs.
Going into each set, he has no idea what will be in store for his audience. The first time they hear it is the first time he hears it played in that order as well. Never a big fan of playlists, DJ Sketch chooses to craft his work based on the response of the crowd in real time.
“The crowd gives me energy,” says DJ Sketch. “And, I bring them into my world.”
DJ Sketch was born in Louisiana. He moved to Washington as a teen and attended Kent-Meridian High School.
Music was already a big part of his family’s life. His father was a drum major a Grambling State University, home of the world-famous Tiger Marching Band. Eventually, his father became a radio DJ in Louisiana and Texas.
Basketball was DJ Sketch’s first love. Once that didn’t pan out, he switched to music and began DJing at 19.
“The funny part is my dad didn’t want me to do it,” laughs DJ Sketch. “He was like, ‘no, there’s no money in it,’ even though all these years he had been doing it. But no, he didn’t want me to do it. I still fell in love with it.”
His dad taught him the basics of DJing, but much of Sketch’s skill came from self-teaching and practice. He turned that into a career as both a club and radio DJ.
His taste in music is, “everything,” since he was exposed to so many diverse styles growing up.
Living in Louisiana, he picked up on genres like New Orleans blues, soul and jazz. His father’s background in a marching band garnered his interest in that as well. He has a penchant for gospel music from his church upbringing.
From Reggae and hip hop to house music, he is able to find something he loves from almost any genre.
“Music doesn’t have a color,” DJ Sketch said. “Whatever makes me feel good and can tell a story. Music doesn’t even have to have words to tell a story.”
When he’s not DJing, DJ Sketch produces music and also collects vinyl records.
Ironically, despite his love of music, Sketch didn’t attend his first concert until his 20s in the mid-2000s. That concert just so happens to be one of his favorite memories. It took place in an arena packed with 24,000+ fans. He wasn’t in the crowd, however. He was DJing for the concert, which featured the headlining acts of Kanye West and Ludacris.
“I didn’t know the format of it,” says Sketch. “I didn’t know how big it was. That’s a memory that I’m not sure anyone can top. Not for a first concert.”
The crowds might not be as large here at Muckleshoot Casino, but DJ Sketch still feels right at home when he’s on the Club Galaxy stage in front of a packed house.
“It’s a great opportunity,” DJ Sketch proclaims. “You never know who’s watching. I love the atmosphere and the regulars. That energy is always there every time there. I love the casino, period.”
Hit the dance floor and see DJ Sketch live at Club Galaxy on Saturday, January 26 at 10:30 p.m.