DJ Spinna Recalls Learning To DJ, Explains How To Maintain Longevity
Spinna recalls how Brooklyn block parties introduced him to DJing and says that listening to all types of music is necessary to ensure a lasting career.
Flud Watches continues their in-depth producer spotlight series Beats Per Minute with their latest installment, featuring Brooklyn DJ and producer DJ Spinna. The verteran beatsmith and Fat Beats NY alum spoke on how his native BK first introduced him to DJing through block parties as a child. After perfecting his skills on the wheels of steel, Spinna said that production was a logical step forward for him in the mid-'80s and early '90s.
"During the '70s - [from] '77 [to] '78 - the block parties in Brooklyn, New York, I was that little shorty on the side just hanging out, kind of checking everything out and seeing what was going on with the DJ and what have you," he recalled. "I knew from then that that was what I wanted to do for sure. The first time I ever laid my hands on a pair of turntables was when I was about 12 years old. [I] practiced everyday after school, really learned the craft [and] learned how to put records together, cut, scratch, blend, all of that stuff, and '85 was also the first year that I first entered a recording studio. I messed around with that and learned how to use a drum machine. Between '85 and '91, I was really honing in on my craft as a producer and a DJ."
Spinna also spoke on the amount of dedication it takes to maintain one's presence in Hip Hop as a top-tier producer. He said that the best beatmakers in Hip Hop maintain a high level of respect for all forms of music by studying classic records from decades past and implementing the very traits that made such records succeed into their own music.
"My thing is just listen[ing] to music," he explained. "All of the greats that came before us, from the [DJ] Premier's to the Pete Rock's and the Large Pro[fessor's] and the Diamond [D's] and all of these guys, they're music heads; they're not just Hip Hop heads. I'm pretty sure if you ask any of us what we listen to in our spare time, it probably would not be a Hip Hop record. Buy records, buy vinyl, study the art, study musicians, study labels, study all of the great records and great projects that were made in the '60s, '70s and '80s and try to figure out whay made those records great records and put those ideas into your muscianship...If you want to stand the test of time, you've got to do your homework."
The full video can be seen below.