LAist.com has a regular section called “Seven Questions With…” where they interview people involved in LA lifestyle and culture. This week’s guest is Soul Assassins own DJ SOLO.
Seven Questions with DJ Solo of the Soul Assassins
LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it’s the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we’ve created “Seven Questions with…”
Today’s subject is DJ Solo.
DJ Solo is a member of the Los Angeles-based collective of artists known as the Soul Assassins which includes hip-hop legends Cypress Hill along with the DJ Muggs, super producer Alchemist and the world famous tattoo artist Mister Cartoon. Recently, DJ Solo teamed up with producer Roger Jao to create a masterpiece mix made up entirely of the essentials of the hair band era called “Hair Metal Hero,” which can be downloaded for free.
DJ Solo, who can also be found blogging on the Soul Assassins Web site, took time away from his busy schedule to answer our Seven Questions.
1) How did you join the Soul Assassins? How big of an influence was the Soul Assassins Crew on you as a DJ coming up?
I got a job working for DJ Muggs’ old label Angeles Records off of Craigslist in 2005. I had been a fan of the Soul Assassins since the early 90s and Muggs’ production was very influential on the type of music I wanted to make and play as a DJ/Producer.
2) Soul Assassins is much more than a crew of DJs, what are some of the other areas of interest for SA?
We’re a collective of artists that span a wide range of art and culture. From tattoos to photography, graphic design, fine art, film, music, and we’ve recently branched out into the apparel industry with the Soul Assassins clothing line.
3) You like many other DJs are also active online, you write on the Soul Assassins blog. How important is it for DJs to be involved in social media like blogs and Twitter? Why do you think social media has become so important to DJs?
Well, I feel two ways. Personally I think all that Twitter, Facebook, and blog stuff is garbage and just a way for every uneducated asshole to voice their public opinion or tell you what color shirt they have on right now. On the other hand, because that’s the status quo, it is very important for artists of every kind to establish an online presence. These days it’s not enough to be just a DJ or a musician, you literally have to do your own marketing and promotions. That’s what I keep telling all these rapper kids that don’t know how to send an email. Game over, homie!
4) Where did you get the idea to do your latest mix Hair Metal Hero? How much rock music do you listen to?
The Hair Metal Hero mix was the second concept project I’ve done for my friend Roger Jao, who is producing a series of mixes done by different Djs. As far as music goes, I primarily listen to 60s & 70s rock, old-school punk, and metal. I’ve listened to Hip-Hop since 1983, but in the last 10 years it’s really been disappointing and not what I want to hear in my free time. I like to spin it live but when I’m riding in my car I’d rather hear the Misfits box set.
5) In the description of Hair Metal Hero, it says that you “seamlessly blend the very best hits of the hair metal era, without relying on the typical hip-hop / rock mashup DJ approach.” Why did you want to avoid the mashup? Do you think it’s overdone?
Mashups are a wrap. I was real big into doing mashups for a while and it’s fun to see how creative you can get with it, but after the whole Hollywood/Vegas DJ explosion, it got real old real fast. Besides, it’s easy to put rock over hip-hop beats and mix it… try NOT using those beats to fall back on. That’s a real challenge. I just didn’t want to put out another mashup CD in a time when everyone and their mom has done that to death.
6) Who are your favorite DJs?
I’d say D Styles & Ricci Rucker because they took the whole concept of using the turntable as an instrument to another level. What they did with turntable music blew my mind wide open.
7) What are your feelings on the current state of hip-hop in LA?
I’m not sure that my feelings on hip-hop in LA really matter because I don’t listen to any of it except Psycho Realm. I think all these kids need to stop trying to imitate what LA Hip-Hop is “supposed to be” and start doing something different. You know how many people come to me on some stereotype LA gangsta shit and think they’re the next big thing? We’ve heard that already a thousand times over. You can be LA and you can be gangsta, but give us something new.