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This DJ Makes Chicago His Castle

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Four nights a week DJ Nick Castle hits the streets of Chicago to play not only hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B hits, but also his own mixes.

DJ Castle, 26, of Humboldt Park doesn’t DJ every night, but at home he likes to get his fix about every day of the week.

“Music and film are my passion, I go back and forth,” DJ Castle said while relaxing in his studio.

“I guess that’s why I love DJing and making and creating music videos.”

At 16-years-old, DJ Castle said he started to DJ events as soon as he got his license. He started performing at weddings and block parties. Then he eventually moved his way up to the bar scene of Chicago.

During the day, DJ Castle produces films for his own company, Jermaine Productions, which he and his co-worker, Sindre Ronningen started in January 2010.

Ronningen, 26, editor and videographer for Jermaine Productions, said he and DJ Castle have worked together for the past few years, but has known him 13 years.

Together they work on non-profit projects, sporting events, parties, music videos and corporate projects.

“We are trying to build our business and we hope to have steady work soon where we can pick our projects,” Ronningen said.

DJ Castle also does freelance film work for other companies, and has opened shows for big music artists.

“When I was 23, I opened up for Big Daddy Cane, The Roots, and Skillz at the House of Blues,” DJ Castle said.

And two weeks ago he opened for someone he grew up listening to–Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who he described as a legend and an icon.

As for film, DJ Castle said he has shot for the Travel Channel and specializes in shooting music videos.

“I want to eventually shoot my own video that has my own music beats in it,” DJ Castle said.

Venues where DJ Castle plays includes: AliveOne, 2638 N. Halsted St., the Rocking Horse, 2535 N. Milwaukee Ave., Lumen, 839 W. Fulton St. and Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago Ave.

After moving from the suburb of Lake Zurich to Algonquin, DJ Castle and his family moved to Palatine. DJ Castle played hockey since he was 8 years old. He said one reason his family moved was to join a travel hockey team, the Chargers.

He went to Harper College for two years after graduating from Fremd High School in Palatine. Later he transferred to DePaul University and received undergraduate degrees in communications and film and his masters in digital cinema.

Choosing to study communications and film at DePaul was easily accepted by his family. Every time he visits home and has a project to show they are always amazed, he said.

Support from his family is one thing, but he is also thankful for his supportive girlfriend.

“My girlfriend let me turn one of the rooms a studio in our apartment, and lets me play loud music at night when she has to wake up early for work in the morning,” DJ Castle said.

DJ Castle doesn’t plan on stopping the music anytime soon. He wants to DJ for the rest of his life, he said.

“Sometimes when I go out, and I’m not behind the turn tables DJing, I feel uncomfortable,” DJ Castle said.

“I love playing music.”

To Johnny Castle, looking up to his older brother is something he said he does every day.

Johnny, 19, a digital cinema student at DePaul University, said his older brother is more than an inspiration to him–he is his greatest idol.

“Nick is honestly one of the most honest, humble, modest, caring, creative, intellectual and moving individuals I will ever encounter,” Johnny said.

“Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am. There is no one that can hold a torch to compare to him.”

The brothers’ seven-year difference doesn’t affect their relationship. His older brother has taught him everything he knows: music, rapping, filming, editing and producing, Johnny said.

DJ Castle said he always tries his hardest to impress his clients, so they will get more than they paid for.

“I don’t just have one goal. I have small goals that will hopefully open up the doors for bigger ones,” DJ Castle said.

“I live in the moment.”

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