DJ Kos

DJ Kos mans the decks at Aura Ultra Lounge.

DJ Kos mans the decks at Aura Ultra Lounge.

Photo by Brad Bynum

DJ Kos performs Monday through Thursday nights at Aura Ultra Lounge in the Silver Legacy, 407 N. Virginia St. He’ll be performing with The Crystal Method at Knitting Factory, 211 N. Virginia St., on Friday, Nov. 12, at 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.djkos.com.

Aura Ultra Lounge

407 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501

(775) 329-4777

Knitting Factory Concert House

211 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501

(775) 323-5648

On the dozen TV screens in Silver Legacy’s sleek Aura Ultra Lounge, Spider-Man dances to Mike Posner’s electropop song “Cooler Than Me,” and then, after a seamless transition and a perfect mixing of beats, “I Can’t Dance,” by LMFAO and Dirt Nasty, is wedded to Elaine’s bad dancing from Seinfeld.

“If people want to listen to the music, and they don’t want to dance, they get a whole other entertainment,” says DJ Kos. He mixes both the music and the video during his regular club performances—he DJs at Aura every Monday through Thursday—and many of his videos are custom-made, using found footage from TV shows, movies and YouTube.

His video for the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” uses footage from Disney’s new Alice in Wonderland movie. When Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist Karen O sings “off with your head,” it’s matched perfectly to a clip of Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, saying the same thing. (The Red Queen’s line might actually be “off with her head,” but it’s close enough that you can’t tell, and the rhythm is dead on.)

“I was sitting in the theater, and as soon as she said that, I immediately thought of that song,” says DJ Kos. He’s developed a sixth sense for matching video and audio.

He’s a big movie and music buff. His open-format DJ sets range from cutting-edge electronica (Deadmau5) to classic ’80s songs (Michael Jackson) to the biggest current pop hits (Katy Perry). He tailors his sets to who’s in the club—the ages of the patrons and whatever gets the people moving.

His birth name is Mike Stinespring. He’s originally from West Virginia and has been DJ-ing since the early ’80s. He got into it through break dancing—he used to make his own mixtapes for dance battles—and took his DJ name from another early passion—Kos is a model of BMX bike.

He competed in and won a number of DJ contests. He started doing video mixing four or five years ago and started creating his own videos a year and a half ago. His schedule at Aura leaves his weekends open, so he can play out-of-town gigs and high profile gigs at other local venues, like his opening spot for The Crystal Method on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Knitting Factory. That show will also feature his video productions projected on a big screen.

Another of his videos uses spooky footage from Paranormal Activity wedded to a dance track by Deadmau5, “Ghosts and Stuff.” The beat-heavy music makes the movie seem more pulse-pounding, and the eerie footage highlights the latent spookiness in the music. The video adds a narrative element sometimes missing from a lot of electronic music.

“Without video, you don’t get that impact,” says DJ Kos. He maintains a busy schedule—researching music, creating videos, his regular gig at Aura, and headlining out-of-town shows.

“I don’t sleep much,” he says. “During the day, I edit videos. And at night, I play them.”