Long Beach alumnus spins the DJ world around, plays old soul

Long Beach musician and disc jockey, Chris Lynch, sweats the blues. Soul trembles out of his fingers. Even his clothing style reminisces of a classic Blind Willie McTell photograph.

Lynch, a Cal State Long Beach graduate who studied English and creative writing, uses his passion for old soul and rustic blues during his DJ sets. He started his DJ career at the KBeach radio station on campus.

“I owe DJ Oldboy to Cal State Long Beach,” he said. “I always walked by [the studio] … I was interested in doing a show.”

In the spring of 2007, Lynch got his big chance and signed up to have his own radio show. He said the name “Oldboy” was inspired by a South Korean film of the same name and it fits his love for the blues.

While most DJs spin top 40 hits and current beats, Lynch travels back in time, pulling records from the 1930s delta blues era to classic hip-hop vinyl from the 1980s. His workstation sees only vinyl, which, according to Lynch, goes with the whole style.

“It’s the physical aspect of it,” he said. “Taking it out of sleeves, putting the needle down. It’s just flippin’, flippin’, flippin’ and dig, dig, dig … it’s intense!”

His DJ set arrives to another level of intensity as he brings in a tambourine and harmonica, which he breaks out during songs to get the crowd riled up.

“He’s super hyper,” Los Angeles Amoeba Records employee and friend of Lynch, Gabby Almanza, said. “It’s good to see someone up there who’s not trying to be too cool.”

During his set at Amoeba Records on Aug. 17, the crowd got a small taste of his dynamic energy. He ran around the store, banged his tambourine against his hands and yelped during and in between the old school tunes.

“He’s an amazing showman,” Grace Le, another friend of Lynch, said. “He’s got a huge encyclopedic knowledge of music. He does all the research … he knows the artists, not like other poser DJs.”

Lynch fulfills his passion for music by also playing guitar and singing for his group, Brother C and Sister J, who played an unplugged set during Saturday’s Buskerfest in downtown Long Beach.

The duo, composed of Lynch and drummer Jacqueline Pablo, jams out blues-drenched songs that often include hip-hop references in the lyrics and guitar tabs.

“I’m just following my bliss,” he said. “If I didn’t have Oldboy and my band, I’d be so miserable. This isn’t just a hobby; this is my life.”

Aside from DJing and performing with his band, Lynch also holds jobs as a store clerk at a local record shop, as a barista at a Costa Mesa Pete’s Coffee and also as a promoter for the Prospector on Fourth Street.

While others expected him to become a teacher after he earned his degree in English, he turned their assumptions around and began to pursue DJing as a fulltime gig.

“I can’t live up to other people’s expectations,” he said. “You gotta make your own plan, your own path. I do what makes me happy.”

Lynch has residencies every fourth Saturday at the Pike on Fourth Street, every second Friday at the Commissary Lounge in Costa Mesa and every third Tuesday at the Prospector on Fourth Street.

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