DJ Spinz: Inside the DJ Booth
DJ Spinz never thought he’d be this deep in the music industry back when he was in high school. In fact, in those days, he had no idea what he’d be doing as an adult. He showed interest in the turntables when he was 14 and his doting mother invested in a beginner’s set.
“I practiced on them but they weren’t the best turntables,” Spinz tells The BoomBox. Although he wasn’t thinking of what he’d end up doing for a living, a 16-year-old Spinz was sure to put himself in the right place at the right time. The local radio station in his hometown of Augusta, Ga., would broadcast high school football games and Spinz made quite an impression on the station’s program director — so much so that he began deejaying during breaks in the game.
“The radio station had the best turntables,” he admits with a laugh. “So I’d just go out there and they started letting me get on during the commercial breaks. I just stuck with it.” Two years later, the program director gave Spinz his own radio spot.
“Everybody around me wanted to play basketball or rap or whatever,” Spinz says. “But somehow deejaying just stuck out to me. I always enjoyed listening to music and I wanted to be able to control the crowd.”
His love for the turntables took precedence over everything else he was doing, which proved to be fruitful once Spinz moved up to Atlanta for college. While at the Art Institute of Atlanta, Spinz received his second big break through a fellow DJ he’d met years before.
“Funny story. I actually met [DJ] Scream when I was 16,” he discloses. “I was coming up to Atlanta to buy some cables for my equipment and Scream was working at Guitar Center. We kept in touch and when I moved up here we got tighter and started to move together as a unit.”
Two years after meeting Scream, Spinz was enlisted to become an integral part of the HoodRich team and continued his radio career at SiriusXM Radio alongside his mentor. Another two years after that, in 2009, he shared an evening spot on Atlanta’s Hot 107.9′s HoodRich Radio. But by then, Spinz had begun dabbling in other avenues of creativity.
Around the time he started at 107.9, Spinz decided to experiment with production. “I picked up a keyboard like, ‘Let me try to make some beats,’” he recalls. “I stuck with it but had a couple rough points, where I said, ‘I’m done. I’m not gonna do this anymore.’”
It wasn’t until 2010, when he’d hit gold with Travis Porter‘s breakout hit “Go Shorty Go,” that Spinz felt encouraged enough to persevere. “It kinda woke me up and let me know that people liked what I was doing so I kept doing it,” he says.
It’s a good thing he did. Last year, Spinz had a pair of impressive placements: 2 Chainz‘ “Riot” and the other is his biggest production credit to date with upstart rapper Ca$h Out‘s debut smash, “Cashin’ Out.” The track has been on the Billboard charts since late 2011, quite an impressive feat since Ca$h Out was unsigned at the time of release.
“I’m always into young talent and new people on the scene who bring that energy,” Spinz says excitedly. One new artist that he admits to wanting to work with is Chicago’s Chief Keef.
“I like what he’s doing,” Spinz reveals. “I think his record is crazy. He’s pretty hot, he’s working and I feel he definitely brings that energy.” The DJ-producer also has another two bangers on their way up the charts: Gucci Mane‘s “Don’t Make No Sense” and Waka Flocka Flame‘s “Rooster in My Rari.”
With equal success in both passions of deejaying and producing, 23-year-old Spinz is unlike many of his peers — working more often than not. So when he does get a minute, the HoodRich affiliate loves to listen to music — the band Coldplay being one of his faves — and play video games.
“Sometimes I just like to sit and meditate actually,” he states. “I just like to chill out and sit back with my friends and my family, pour up some Ciroc. I’m not really big on doing extravagant stuff but I just like having fun and for everyone around me to be having fun.”
Family is truly important to Spinz — his 11-year-old brother is the voice behind a couple of drops featured on most of his beats including “Riot” and “Cashin’ Out.” He’s also a partner in HoodRich Publishing with DJ Scream and Marcus “Rip” Rippy. The company’s dedicated to uniting the most talented songwriters, producers and creatives in general.
“My whole family’s been supportive in everything I do and they’re excited about every accomplishment,” he says. “I’m a little bit more calm. I mean, I’m really appreciative and humble, but [since the beginning] I wanted to keep advancing. It was a blessing for me to get to another plateau.”
It’s been a steady climb for Spinz, even while traveling overseas. The best DJ experience Spinz claims to have had was while he visited Asia. “To actually go to Japan,” he says, still incredulous, “Where people don’t speak the same language as you or even have the same culture, for them to enjoy the music that you bring and embrace your culture, that’s a beautiful thing to me.”
Top Five Songs to Rock a Party
“Cashin’ Out,” Ca$h Out
“Love Like This,” Fatman Scoop feat. Faith Evans
“All the Way Turnt Up,” Travis Porter feat. Roscoe Dash & YT
“O Let’s Do It,” Waka Flocka Flame
“Throwed Off,” Treal Lee & Prince Rick
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