When did you start your DJ career? And Why?
I started back in 1988 after I joined the military. After I arrived at my first duty station in Oklahoma, I
bought records of songs that reminded me of home. Unfortunately, my first style of music was not popular
because of location. I had to learn to adapt by expanding my taste in music by accepting what was played in
the local club scenes on and off base in OK and TX. There came a time I started getting bold enough to start
asking club owners to play at their venues and they let me play! They enjoyed my music selections and hired
me. Some were hole-in-the-wall jukejoints and others were popular hangouts for military and civilians. My
major breaks came through clubs “Chat n Chew”, Night Trax” and the “Mad Dog Saloon”. Prior to that, I
recorded mixes to tape from radio stations (WJPC, WBMX, WGCI & WKKC) and mixed them with songs that I
bought, or acquired from the radio. The DJs at that time were too many to list but have to note the following:
Ron Hardy, Farley Funkin’ Keith, Frankie Knuckles, The Hot Mix 5 and Walter Get Down Brown and Tom Joyner (When he was on WJPC). Also, going to different clubs to “experience” what moved the crowds helped as well. Sampled clubs were “The Box” (second one), “Warehouse” and “CODs”. It was the love of House, Old School Funk, Disco and R&B that compelled me to quench my passion by starting my hobby / career as a DJ.
I rededicated my life to Christ in 2000 and eventually transitioned and started playing Gospel / Inspirational house and Disco in 2010. My music is now carefully selected for secular music and I started playing more GHM. I am still learning who the artists are, but can relate to the messages and beats, in respect to what is hot.
What is your genre of music or your style? (if you have one)
I love House and Old School music respectively. Both go hand in hand for me because of the styles of music I listened to on the radio and in the club scenes in Chicago. My tastes expanded due to the inevitable necessity of location change while in the military. However, I still maintained a “thirst” for my original genres.
Do have accomplishments that you can share for those who do not know the industry?
Mainly, I was given a gift to be able to convince the owners at different venues world-wide to let me play for their clientele. I have played across Germany, various venues in Oklahoma and in Washington, DC. I had a residency at a night Club for 3 years in Adams Morgan called “Crush”. My story is yet building and God is revealing more as I press on.
How did you learn the Trade/ART of being a DJ? Were you an understudy? Did you have mentors? Or are you self taught?
As I mentioned before, I listened to the radio and went to various clubs. I started dabbling with “tape remixing”. I also had a friend who Djed as well named John Summers. He was really great on the turntables and was creative with his setups. He taught me initial “work around” tips of the trade. It was not until the military that I received further training. My Section chief William Pendarvis (Ill Bill) was on the local radio station and shared what was hot on the music scene at the time. When I went to Germany, Alan Stokes (Mr. Magic) mentored me on the fundamentals of the business in the trade, as well as the opportunity to play at different venues with him. Friends Frank Horvath (Frankie Vibe) and Marcuis Wade (Salt Shaker Music) currently keeps me in check in regards to respecting the artists, producers and anyone else that has a role in the music industry. I have friends who co-labor with me to keep me uplifted and motivated as well: George Thompson, Rico Flores, Randal J Yorker, Garry Dennis and George Calloway.
Who were the artists that influenced you and why? ( If you have, list a TOP 5)
Ron Hardy – He was a very creative spirit who was before his time in his style of mixing/producing.
Frankie Knuckles – He produced tracks that made you move. He was a household name at the time.
Farley Funkin’ Keith – One bad dude who got my ear the first time I heard him play on the radio. It compelled me to want to hear him live, even though I could not.
Steve Silk Hurley – He just flooded the market with his style of mixing and produced great tracks.
All the artists, prducers, DJs and key players at that time when I was coming up.
What was the 1st DJ equipment you bought?
Radio Shack, 2 channel mixer
Are you old school with Vinyl or new school with MP3s?
I play mostly MP3 now because of convenience of setup. However, I am still a fan of the vinyl, to play at HOME.
What is your actual DJ setup?
I Use a Pioneer 500 mixer, a set of Numark 400s and a set of Denon 3700s via USB and CDs.
How do you choose your tracks and create play lists? Describe the creative process?
I go at random based on what I am led to play. I do have a pool of music I prepare, but it tends to be eclectic. When choosing my music, it depends on the mood I want to create, which is always motivational, inspiring and encouraging. I tend to stray away from anything that is not edifying, even if I like the beats. I resolve that by playing edits and instrumentals.
Do you freestyle on the decks?
I keep it smooth and easy. I rarely do scratching, but do effects with my Denons, Pioneer mixer and sampling on the fly.
Describe what it was like the 1st time you had the party jumping? What was the venue? A basement or sold out club?
I was at a military club where I played with my mentor Alan “Mr. Magic” Stokes in Hanau, Germany. We played opposite to a very talented DJ named NYs Finest. I was intimidated at first because he was very well known and just did his craft well. I was encouraged to just play the way I felt comfortable. I did a slow music set that I practiced in the barracks because my safety net was pulled from me. All the popular music of the time was already played. I started with an empty floor then continued to mix all the popular and beat related songs of that time (R Kelly typed beats) The crowd filled the floor and was well pleased. When it was time to hand over the set to NYF he continued to play 3, to 4 more songs in like fashion. It was then that God was confirmed me to play the way I am comfortable in playing; not like anyone else.
Describe the relationship *for you* between DJ and Party Goers/ Dancers on the Floor. (see Mr. K’Alexi Shelby’s Article)
The DJ is the focal of entertainment / ministry at a venue. However, the energy comes when the party goers and dancers are motivated to act on what is being played. You have to connect with the people. There is nothing like seeing the floor filled with excited people to dance to your selection of music. It is also disconcerting to see that same floor scatter when you make a mistake, or play a song that nobody but the one person who requested it likes. You have to be diligent to watch your crowd and be flexible in what you play. If you have a crowd that dances to whatever you play, this is a performer’s dream.
I have read the quote “I am a DJ not a Jukebox” - is this annoying?
I can relate to this on a certain level, but on the other hand, as a provider of service for certain events, it would behoove you to listen to your audience. If you are playing as a creative art form, do your thing. But if you are being paid for an event like a wedding, you better make accommodations as possible; otherwise your popularity will be diminished. There is always someone else willing to play what you won’t and is willing to do it for less.
What is the endurance like spinning? I’ve read about Ronald Soares who spun seven days a week under the Ray “Pinky” Velazquez Biography on the Legends of Vinyl website. (All the biographies are mind blowing!)
The most I have ever played consecutively is 5 - 6 hours at a time, up to 3 times a week. I was motivated and young at the time. Now that I am older, I can go that long, but the price is lack of rest and missed family time. If I could do this full time and not be concerned with having to do another job to pay bills, I could do more. This season is coming!
What is the Venue you would love to have a Gig?
It would be the the “Park Cafe” in Wiesbaden, Germany; provided that I get to play with a live band to hand off the floor to throughout the night. - if not there, Italy.
Who is the DJ you would Love to Play with at your Dream Venue?
I would love to play with my brothers here in the states abroad. If it were someone from overseas, it would be Richie Haynes from Australia. I like his eclectic, but smooth style. He really knows how to connect with his audience.
Are you a DJ for life or someday you plan to move on?
I am a DJ for life and will continue. However, I will also branch into production and other works as well.
What would you change in the DJ business if you could?
I would create a venue where anyone who is inspired to be a DJ could come and freely be encouraged to hone their craft. Also connect them with key players in the industry who are willing to mentor new recruits to the industry. I would provide a platform where they could come and network resources in a mutually agreeable environment. The key is respect from both ends of the table.
What advice do you have for New DJs - especially in regard to respecting the Trade/ART?
Pray before you start on this venture and continue to pray for guidance. Be true to yourself and the industry. Be willing to contribute by serving. Only pursue if you are serious and passionate about playing music. Be yourself and develop your own style of playing. Connect with others in the industry to encourage and share information with you. Be willing to try new ideas and be positive. Be willing to sacrifice time to train. Support other DJs, artists, producers, promoters, event planners, etc....
Do you have a quote that you love?
“Here to build you up, not tear you down!” God Inspired
Is there any message you would like to relay to all the various viewers, some novel and some experienced to being a DJ?
This is a great career to be in if you like meeting people and encouraging the masses with great music. Do pursue your dreams and continue to press if you have challenges. Opportunities have opened up for me to DJ and even be a creative resource like being an A&R for music label (Lady Mary Sound International with Isa Vis Platnvm and Felix Ricci) I also was able to edit a show snippet (Exposing the Gospel in Gospel House Music w/ Min. Cliff Jones) and play on that same radio show in NJ called “the Gospel Housing Authority”, on WFDU (DJs Darryl DReal and Garry Of The Way Dennis are hosts). I have had mixes played on www.Sisterpoochie.com with Angela McCarty in Chicago and http://www.godradio.gr/en with Eva VonGod Skoupra in Greece. I now have been blessed with online residencies with the following sites: House Station Radio - www.stationradio.com The Masters Groove - www.themastersgroove.com WCSE - http://djcrushin.wix.com/station-wcse-radio
After Favor and wisdom are applied, more opportunities are coming...
Allow people to see the greatness that is inside of you and encourage them to do the same. We all will come out better in the end as a result.
*** Please provide the following play lists - which will be posted after your feature****
1. Top Old School Tracks (Minimum 5 - Maximum 10)
There are many more songs i can add to this list, this is just a random sampling in my mind...
Flashlight – Parliament Funk – “Everybody’s got a little light, under the sun!” Speaks on so many levels, but plain and simple, you have to dance to this great track!
Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body – This is the House Music Anthem and great dance floor track.
Alicia Meyers – I Want to Thank You – This was an inspirational song where the singer was not afraid to give thanks to God for a relationship. This and newer versions are still hot. It was a treat that the B-side track “Say, Say, Say” is hot as well.
Dan Hartman and Loleatta Holloway – Vertigo / Relight my Fire – This song had an awesome build-up and continued with an explosive transition. Loleatta brought her voice and singing style to the track and POW, the listener is finished. It is impossible not to be stirred after listening to this classic track.
Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) – This is a great song to play at the height of the party. The mellow version is great to play during a break, beginning of the set, or at the end of the set. It has a churchy feel to it.
Robert Palmer – This track is very smooth as this version mixes well with Disco and House music. The extended version of this song kicks. Played at the right time, this song gets and keeps people moving. This is another relationship song, but the subject apologizes for getting his admirer interested in him.
Machine – Grace of God – This song tells the tragic story of how the parents of one young lady was too strict, causing her to rebel. This song goes out as a warning about parenting styles, but the listener is really hearing those PHAT beats, piano rifts and melodic rhythms that cause you to beat up the dance floor.
Made In USA – Melodies – “Come on now, where’s the rest of the tape!”, classic line as the artist was referring to reel to reel tapes. This was popular method of recording and playing long hours of music back in the day. This song has been edited to the nth degree, but is still a hot classic.
ESG – Moody – Clearly this pouty song title would suggest a negative outlook and a defeated outlook. But if you listen to the track and the lyrics and listen to the track, you will notice that the song betrays itself, because you will dance to the beats. This is another highly sampled and played track from back in the day, to today.
2. Top New School Tracks (Minimum 5 - Maximum 10)
I have plenty to name, but I will keep it brief....
ANYTHING by Kenny Bobien – Enough said. This brother blends well with the tracks he sings over. He is an anointed singer as well.
DJs Karizma & Spen – 4 The Love Of House – Any House lover identifies with the song title and the lyrics expressed. This is an updated anthem song.
DJ Marcuis Ft. Rodney Biblical Jones and Rachel McDonald – We Will Continue – This song declares HOUSE music is not dead. Thank you!
Mary Mary – Survive Remix, Featuring DJs Junior White and Frankie Vibe – This is a hot track already and the remix comes as timely as the song itself. This encourages the listener to press on and that they can. Hot remix!
Lady Mary Sound – Who Is, Ft JT taylor, mixed by Isa Vis PlatnVm and Felix Ricci – The jazz version of this song is so smooth, you do not mind that you are mentally on a dance journey. This is a great song to dance, or just chill out to.
Yes, there are more, but for the sake of the reader, I will stop... J
3. Links to showcase YOUR mixes (unlimited)
Connect with me via:
Facebook - Under Construction page - http://ow.ly/fyC1M
Facebook - L dUb - http://ow.ly/eKQkc
Twitter - https://twitter.com/#!/DJAVIT
Youtube - http://ow.ly/fyCi7
Soundcloud - http://soundcloud.com/dj-ldub
Email - email@example.com
Visit the "Under Construction" show broadcast on various sites:
- House Station Radio - Sunday nights from 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm EST. http://ow.ly/fz42F
- Masters Groove - Monday nights from 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EST. http://ow.ly/fz3ZT
- WCSE Online Radio - Saturday nights anytime from 7:00 pm - 12:00 am EST. http://ow.ly/fz3Xp
- IDMW - Monday nights from 10:00 pm - 11:00 pm EST. – Coming soon! http://ow.ly/fz3Oz
Thanks for following me on sites listed above!