BAD BOY BILL
Collection: 30,000 to 40,000 records, maybe more
Prized possessions: Disco originals like "Walk the Night," by the Skatt Bros. Lots of house and hip-hop, including the original Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck"
Influences: Huge fan of early house DJs. "The guys on the radio were the Hot Mix 5. I used to tape their shows on the weekend, or come home from school on a half-day and listen to a lunch mix."
Best part of the job: "House music has brought me to Kuala Lumpur and Osaka. It just goes to show that house music has a universal sound."
Site of sketchiest moment: Chicago. "You grow up in Chicago and you see it all. You go to Japan, you might see some dude drunk and laid out on the floor."
Favorite city and country: Chicago. "Every time I play here it's a homecoming." Denver, he says, "has an amazing scene." Then there's Colombia. "It has the hottest women on the planet-whether it's Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, or Cartagena, the women are unbelievable."
Music trend to know about now: "House is making a comeback. Hip-hop dominated so long, but people are wearing thin on it."
Song on repeat: Brazilian Girls' "Talk to La Bomb"
Catch him: At Crobar (1543 N. Kingsbury St.; 312-266-1900) on May 26th
J2K (Josh Young, seated) and Autobot (Curt Cameruci) linked up in 2005 after each had DJ'd independently for years.They live in North Center/St. Ben's.
Collection: About 10,000 songs, digital and vinyl
Opposites attract: J2K likes sixties soul, and Autobot likes metal. "But to say those are our favorite genres would be a stretch."
DJ or inventor? Autobot developed a sound effects program that turns a keyboard into a sampler. "‘A' is an air horn, and ‘X' is a gunshot. That comes in handy in sweaty dance party scenarios."
Most memorable gig: "One time at Town Hall Pub (3340 N. Halsted St.) people were crowd surfing to us," says J2K. "That's basically our goal: to make people go off the deep end at our shows."
Where they shop: Dusty Groove America (1120 N. Ashland Ave.; 773-342-5800) "for those hard-to-find hip-hop/soul gems," says J2K, "but you're going to have to pay pretty much exactly what that record is worth." Reckless Records (3161 N. Broadway, 773-404-5080; 1532 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-235-3727) "is an amazing source for Top 40 urban promo cuts for cheap."
Most inspired mix: "We've really been experimenting," says J2K. "For example, mixing the Para One remix of ‘Prime Time of Your Life' by Daft Punk with ‘Money Maker' by Ludacris. The two songs are completely different tempos, and normally wouldn't mix, but the Daft Punk song has a really weird breakdown [that] allows for strange off-tempo mixes. Sounds nerdy, too, as I'm describing it, but the end result is really powerful."
Like the song says, is it true that DJs save lives? "In a way, I think we've all saved some lives."
Catch them: At Sonotheque (1444 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-226-7600) on April 20th