DJ TWiN says most of his music work came about by happenstance.
“My friends would get so mad at me because we’d be out at clubs in the UK and I always knew the songs within, like, the first 10 seconds and they said I ruined it for them,” he says.
TWiN — the name was inspired by his straight twin brother who’s married with kids in Texas — was in the UK for three years (2007-2010) for his day job working for the State Department, where he’s known by his birth name, Kurt Graves. The 28-year-old New Orleans native says his friends inspired him to get some DJ equipment and “play around with it.” He did and was soon spinning at a straight bar there he frequented.
He came to Washington in late 2011 and says a visit to Nellie’s on a Saturday night convinced him the popular U Street sports bar needed a DJ. He volunteered to do it one night and quickly became a Saturday night fixture there. During a bus ride back from New York Pride last year, he met someone from Cherry and just got elected as a board member there. He makes his Cherry debut tonight (Friday) opening for DJ Kostas at MOVA. Visit cherryfund.org for all Cherry events, which continue throughout the weekend at various venues.
Graves is still with the State Department and lives in Capitol Hill. He’s single and enjoys video games, working out and music in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Since I was 17. And hardest was my Mom because she was the last to find out.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
The television. Yes it’s portrayed our community in a negative light at times, but at the same time it has put the community in everyone’s homes. The little boy in the closet who is afraid to come out can see that there are others just like him. He can see that it is cool to be gay. It has also helped “gay” become part of life, where as before it was taboo. We live in a great time and we are on the edge of a movement.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Currently I would have to say Nellie’s on a Saturday night. The vibe is so laid back and fun. The fact that I DJ there every Saturday night has nothing to do with it. I just wish there was a dance floor. Without a doubt Velvet Nation was the best spot back in the day.
Describe your dream wedding.
A legal one!
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Health care. Why should one of the greatest countries in the world have to have its citizens fighting to stay healthy? It bothers me that people would fight harder to keep guns around, than they do to keep their fellow neighbor alive. The family that’s losing their son to cancer because they can’t afford treatment couldn’t care less if they had the right to own a gun.
What historical outcome would you change?
Not sure if I would change anything. Things happen for a reason. We are human and we learn from our mistakes, individually and/or collectively. What would we learn by skipping an event? Nothing. Unfortunately, pain is one of the best learning mechanisms.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
MTV’s “Real World.” It was one of the first shows I watched that had real gay people on it. It made me feel more comfortable with being gay and showed me that being gay could be cool. It made me excited every time they cast someone gay.
On what do you insist?
I insist people come out to Cherry this year and support a great cause. I’m excited to be one of the DJs in the lineup.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
There must be free vodka at church. (It was Easter Sunday.)
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“I Hope No One Saw That.” (Hopefully it won’t be a picture book).
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Not change. I’m privileged to have a different perspective by being the
minority. Besides, gay people have more fun in my opinion.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe in God and that he will take care of those who do good to others.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep on keeping on!
What would you walk across hot coals for?
The next Xbox console. Yes I’m a huge geek. Get over it.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gays only want to party, though, ironically that’s all I seem to do.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Kissing people on the cheek when they greet you. I really hate that. Why do us gays do it so much? I have sensitive skin.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Someone’s heart. Haven’t had the opportunity to win one, but when I
do, it’s going to be amazing.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Nothing, because I feel life is all about the journey and the learning experiences.
Why not? I think I could make a huge impact on the music scene here. There is so much potential here. I’m so excited to see where it will go.