We caught up with Kevin Lazatin of Play It By Ear, and discussed the brand, personal style, his idea of the perfect DJ set, and more.
Shot by Matt Opena
Where are you from? Where do you live now?
I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley (Temple City specifically) but live in Koreatown now.
For those who may not know, how did the idea of Play It By Ear come about?
Play It By Ear is my outlet for sharing music, but it's also a way to highlight the idea that music is a shared experience. I realized that so many songs I liked came from moments I spent with other people and through recommendations by certain individuals. Play It By Ear is a reminder to myself and others that our tastes can change depending on the context in which we're receiving information.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not working on the brand?
I just like kicking it with the homies, honestly. I feel most inspired but also at peace when I'm having a good conversation over a solid meal with people I love.
How would you describe your style?
I've always found the segmentation of fashion (Techwear, Menswear, Streetwear, etc.) super limiting. I take aspects I like from each of those areas and incorporate them in different ways depending on how I'm feeling. In doing that, I can guarantee that my style is always uniquely me. I think about what makes me feel the most comfortable and confident.
Describe your idea of the perfect set.
A perfect set to me, is one where the crowd is able to vibe out to song choices that come out of left field. If the room is open-minded & dancing the whole time, even if they're not familiar with some of the songs I'm playing, that's what I aim for any time I DJ.
What's your favorite restaurant in New York?
I'm long overdue for another NY trip, but the last time I went, I really enjoyed Marea!
What's your favorite restaurant in Los Angeles?
Man, there's so many. Etta in Culver City. Melody wine bar. Lasita. But I could go on for days about the food in the San Gabrel Valley. If you want dim sum, I highly recommend Atlantic Seafood. After a night out, go to a Hong Kong-style café like Baccali or JJ.
What's your most precious item or items?
My laptop, probably. I spend so much time on my music & photo library, so I would be a mess if I were ever to lose either of those.
Name one record you couldn't live without.
Voodoo – D'Angelo
Any books, movies, or music you recommend?
Books: Thich Naht Hanh – Peace Is Every Step, Rick Rubin – The Creative Act, Joe Dispenza – Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.
Movies: Everything Everywhere All At Once (of course) & Puss In Boots: The Last Wish are my favorite movies I've seen this past year, lol.
Music: My favorite artists right now are Hablot Brown, SAULT, BEAM, Nick Hakim, Knxwledge, and Larry June.