SR0039: VJ THE DJ
For SR0039, we've got not one, but two mixes to bring you this week. And we are excited.
Something of scene legend with more than 20 years in the game, VJ the DJ of Pumpdabeat first gives us an hour of vogue house and then a second mix packed full of soulful and progressive house.
I’m from Washington DC, went to school in Nashville, and settled in Philadelphia.
As a kid, I heard the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It sounds vague but if one has Youtube now, then you can understand. I am so grateful to live through a time of artist expression, music invention, and performance calibre. My start in Djing came from the love of music and the mixing of those songs for people to enjoy. I got behind the decks in 1997... TERRIFIED. My first night alone exploded into the WWF somewhere between Yvette Michelle and Master P! HaHa (this is the club energy that I will learn to guide).
After leaving TN, I subbed at 2 High Schools for a year in Maryland. I moved to Philadelphia and began to spin again while working days with a Behavioral Science degree in Social Work and nights with a DJ Company (Mixed Up Sound) that serviced clubs with DJs in PA/NJ/NY. Soon with some self-promo, I was at clubs like Kat-Man-Du (PA/NJ, Q102), Shampoo, Pulse, The Legendary Five Spot, Paradise Alley, Evolution, Smokey Joes, Egypt, and probably every LGBT venue in the city...like EVERY...Thank U Philly!
From those DJ jobs, I would always leave on the weekends and go uptown or across town to a notorious after-hours called the Breakfast Club. It's a place that I have the joy of being involved with since its inception and experience that is stamped in history. It is the blueprint of the “vogue party” and the residency of which I’m most proud. The BC is defunct now however it has opened the door to be involved with the Worldwide Ballroom Scene and to be an institution of music-making for the culture.
A mastery to which I aspire.
DJ Richard Huber, Billboard Reporting DJ and Resident at The Music City Mix Factory on his way downstairs leaving the booth stopped and asked how I liked the music one night as I waited for my friend to emerge from the bathroom of the now-closed club. I replied it was great he told me 'thank you and handed me a Maxell XLII IEC Type II 90 Minute High Bias Audio Cassette Tape of the night we just experienced. Being able to hear again how perfect he phrased TOP 40 songs and programmed underground into it for a supremely diverse crowd in Nashville, TN … Country, Booty, Hip Hop, Progressive House, Classics, everything with a beat was played on that floor and everyone got a piece. That's the mastery to which I aspired.
A simple Y connector was my first DJ tool, when he allowed me to listen to his cueing in the booth on a packed Saturday night to Two 1200s, the Denon CD Player and that damn tape deck that must record every night you spin. I apprenticed for about a year learning everything he shared along with the duties of retrieving the loads of promo from the mail almost every day. Great memories and great teaching endowing me to remain a DJ for over 20 yrs.
I love to hear the ‘analogness’ of a DJ.
How they put songs together is what I listen to most...the way they control mistakes and recover... whatever transitions they have mastered that’s my favourite part of DJing. My sound is busy and hi-energy. A Saturday night can go 12 hours in which one DJ is responsible for ... let's just say….A LOT! I usually use more than two turntables when creating mixes or playing out to invoke the organized confusion and unpredictable randomness that is a club night. I want you to hear and feel that energy in your headphones, at home, and in the car.
My early DJing was my lesson multitasking. It showed me how to manipulate my instruments and interact with the crowd, kick it with patrons, handle tech issues, all while being able to sip a drink and time out a potty break through a crowded club. Philadelphia would be where I learned to push harder to please sterner crowds. My Top 40 and Underground background prepared me for the above and below ground sets I’d build relationships with. The by the book annoying bridal party waterfront cheeseball Top 40 Night Spot and The anything goes, alternative lifestyles, all night semi-legal afterhours set is my mix giving looseness to one and direction to the other.
In mix one, I showcase tracks produced by the collective PUMPDABEAT that I front. I'm so proud of these producers and DJs who have grown into legends, stars and up and comings in their own rights. They, as well I, continue to make tracks for the love and am super grateful to the supporters that listen and follow and dance with us. My labelmates and friends Kevin JZ Prodigy, Capital K’aos, DJ Delish, Jukeboxx, MC Chuckles,CiCi & PAM are in this hour...Trust me there are many and much more!
In Mix Two it's an ode to the HOUSE MUSIC I Love. To mix it is an art of storytelling I still seek to master. It includes vocals and dubs and classics and mixed the way I imagine when I'm “FULL”, in my zone dancing next to the speaker at 5am.
The tracks that grab me will always do it on the first few notes or beats.
It’s never anything that has to “grow on you." It would go without saying PUMPDABEAT producers are my favourites, but I will say it anyway (insert LOL). I'm digging the sounds of peeps like KG (UK), Thunderstone Labs, Blu Bone and Loffe Ninja. With so much to stream they are stopping my click finger these days.
This month I've been listening to Amerigo Gazaway Mashups, 70’s Funk and Mariah Carey among others.
Currently, I DJ Virtual Balls via BIGO Live and host a series called ‘LIKE WE IN THE HOUSE’ VogueSession where I mix LIVE on Youtube and Facebook and peeps can zap in and interact.
The last 12 months before our worldwide shut down travelling consisted of travelling to DJ at the monthly Philly Vogue Night at Voyeur NIghtclub, “Sk8orVogue” A monthly mini ball series I hosted with DMV KiKi Nights in Washington DC, also Model Mondays and industry night in DC showcasing Model Troupes, as well as Balls and various Events in our favourite cities and who doesn’t love to get out and party with new peeps.
Pumpdabeat was able to experience providing sounds for the HBO MAX Hit “Legendary” which has been lit for season 2. The cancellations from the FOR ALL QUEENS Festival in Belgium to numerous scheduled summer and pride events, they are water under the bridge now. With our new stillness, I am looking forward to scoring an animated project, releasing a full PUMPDABEAT project for the 2020 holiday and celebrating 20 years of ballroom beat-making in December.
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