DJ Spinna_jameosmusicfestival_cactlanzarote

– Can you tell us about your beginnings in music and what atmosphere was lived in NYC in your beginnings?

I started playing records as early as 2 years old. My dad’s records were my starting point. By the time I was 9 years old I was buying my own records. In elementary and middle school I took up violin and clarinet so there’s some music history there but I never stuck with any instrumental. I’m pretty much self-taught and still learning as a musician. But as far as DJing goes, I feel like I grew into it naturally. In Brooklyn City the multicultural environment I grew up in definitely played a significant role on my musical palette. In the streets, you would hear all kind of grooves from Latin to Disco, Soul and Funk and eventually Hip Hop in the late 70’s. NY radio and local block parties were my study guide for learning how to DJ.
NY was also a dangerous place in those times. I stayed out of trouble by consuming music and learning the DJ craft.

-What is the difference after you between that time and the current NYC??

New York is changing so much. There are cultures moving in from other places that are shifting the energy of the environment, sometimes not for the better. The idea of communities that stick together is disappearing rapidly. Everyone is on a self-mission. This also affects the party scene. The older crowds are trying to hold on to a memory while the younger crowds are creating their own thing. Gentrification is real, it’s happening everywhere in the world.

-You have worked with numerous and important artists, but Can you name someone who really impressed you or someone you learned from and gave you to grow as an artist?

Jazzy Jeff is one of the most important role models and inspirational figures in my life. He created a yearly event called the Playlist Retreat which is a conference of his personal hand picked DJ’s, producers and artists that get together on his estate to collaborate, get inspired and learn from each other, both up and coming and old school artists combined. It’s the most uplifting time of the year for me as an artist.
The music industry is changing daily, it’s hard to figure out how to navigate through all of the chaos sometimes. With the digital social media age, we live in where everyone is a “star” it can sometimes be hard to figure out where you stand as an artist. Jeff has single-handedly given me so many tools on how to keep above water. He’s helped me
and so many.

-I believe you began in 2001 with your party: Wonderfull, a tribute to Stevie Wonder’s musical universe, tell us about your relationship with him and what it means to your career to have collaborated with one of the greatest musicians in history

Stevie calls me family. It’s a true honor and blessing. To have him in my life as someone I can have a casual conversation with even beyond music is mind blowing to me sometimes. He’s given me so much hope as an artist and a human being and made me realize that if you stay positive and focused you can really accomplish anything in life.
He’s blind and has the most courage of any person I know.

-Tell us about the parties you do with the film director, Spike Lee (a well-known advocate for culture in Brooklyn) to maintain the Prince and Michael Jackson legacy alive, how did the idea come about to collaborate together?

I have been doing tribute parties for Michael Jackson and Prince since the early 2000’s. My collaborations with Spike Lee started first when Michael Jackson passed away, followed by Prince’s passing. He wanted to honour their legacies by throwing huge annual celebrations in Brooklyn. In 2009 he was looking for the right DJ… a few people including Q Tip brought me to his attention as the best person to handle the duty and the rest is history. I’m currently his main DJ for all his events.

-Your first jobs where in hip-hop record labels such as RawKus, etc, and your first house tracks came later, how has hip-hop influenced you when producing other styles of music such as House?

The beats are the main influence. Hanging around Kenny Dope at MAW sessions in the 90’s, he always told me when you make house beats make sure you take the same approach as you do with Hip Hop by using dirty, hard drums. It’s quite interesting these days when I think about this, Kenny and Todd Terry started a revolution with this approach. I see so many younger producers following the same pattern today. It’s become a new standard.

-Your new album “Unpicked Treats Vol 2” has just come out. Can you tell us about this one?

I still love hip-hop. The Unpicked Series are a collection of beats that were never chosen by rappers. Releasing these instrumentals is my way of staying relevant in the true school hip-hop world. I can’t let people forget that I can still do that. Plus, instrumental hip-hop is popular these days. I’ve been putting out instrumental hip-hop since 1996 with the Composition series and the Heavybeats Vol one album on Rawkus. I’m simply carrying on the movement.

-John Morales is the Godfather of the Jameos Music Festival. You were recently seen in your studio in Brooklyn during the recording of his documentary. What does John Morales mean to you and what do you think is his greatest legacy?

John Morales is one of my inspirations and a true master of the disco mix. I hold him and his legacy in a very high standard. If it were not for him and a few others from his era I would not have a job. Inner Life, his first official job is his greatest legacy. When I hear that record I think of John Morales. It’s the most popular of his works in my opinion. That track crossed over into the R&B and to some degree the old school hip-hop world.

-You will go and play in Lanzarote in a volcanic cave. It’s a unique space and it will surprise you. What do you expect from your session?

I don’t believe we have met yet, he has a great reputation for blowing up dance floors with rare tunes at the moment. I’m looking forward to sharing the musical space with him. I’m sure the experience will be mind expansive.

-You share Line Up with Red Greg, a notable DJ. Have you ever met in any cabin with him?

I don’t believe we have met yet, he has a great reputation for blowing up dance floors with rare tunes at the moment. I’m looking forward to sharing the musical space with him. I’m sure the experience will be mind expansive.

 

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