3. How and when did you start dj'ing?
My brother started spinning at college (DJ King Khan) and bought equipment in the summer of '91. I had messed around on a friend's stuff before that, but that summer was spent really honing the art of a blend. I spent hours learning how to listen to music; really listen to it. I remember taking a cappellas and matching them to any and every instrumental I had at my disposal. The practice gave me a true understanding for how to transition from one sound to another effortlessly.
4. Describe your musical style
This is a tough one as I'm not a scratch or performance DJ, although I do bring aspects of both to my sets. I'd describe myself as a Party DJ; I feed off of the energy of the crowd. But, style? I guess I would summarize as: seemless transitions you didn't see coming.
5. What are 3 tracks you always play?
I pride myself on not having anything I ALWAYS play, but there are sets you can expect - an MJ set, reggae set, BIG, plenty of old school, etc. One of my favorite tracks to play, though, is T.R.O.Y.
6. How would you describe your set?
Captivating. I try to keep you from going home. I always know when I've dropped the "out" song (the "aiight, I can leave now" song), but I'm more used to folks saying their goodbye's to me . . . only to reappear 30 minutes later complaining that I'm not letting them leave. My bad (wink).
7. Who are some of your favorite dj's?
DJ Cosi. Grew up listening to his sets and he never lets me down. There are a ton of other DJ's I like a lot, too...
8. If you could collab with one dj, who would that be?
Jazzy Jeff. He was the first DJ to rock a scratch set that made me stop and study (it was Whodini's "Be Yourself" - "Grandmaster Dee, if you please!")... He recently released "He's The King, I'm The Rapper" - a dedication to MJ that I haven't stopped listening to. Incredible.
9. What gear do you rock to parties?
I can't even pretend to be a gear dude - whatever looks good, usually a t-shirt with minimal writing on the front. Grown-man things.
10. What gear are you rocking right now?
11. What are some of your favorite fashion trends/labels/gear?
I've always been partial to one pant-leg rolled up, but I'm too old for that now. ;)
12. Any parties that UR readers should check out?
There have been a bunch of memorable parties in NYC - Soul Kitchen being the biggest standout to me. But, call me old-fashioned, I still like to follow the DJ. Where's DJ Obah tonight? Where's Cosi spinning? Rich Medina? Qool Marv? Good DJ's tend to make good parties. If not, I'll still enjoy my night... But, if you need a spot rec, come check me at LCL on Saturday nights...
13. How can folks reach out and touch you (internet-style, of course)? vanvader.com or facebook fan page for Van Vader. Or, hit me directly at email@example.com
14. Which artists are you feeling right now?
I've been all over the place musically as of late. I find myself listening to folks on youtube, like David Sides - a hip-hop pianist, of sorts. He covers a lot of popular music by ear - crazy...
15. Who has been your favorite MC to work with?
That hasn't really been my direction in music, but the coolest group I got to rock alongside was The Gap Band.
16. What is the best movie soundtrack?
"The Fish The Saved Pittsburgh" (only, that could be because I love the movie, not sure...) and "Beat Street" (I wore that tape out!).
17. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Boring my then-13-year-old son to tears with stories about how his father used to hold down the decks all over the city...
18. Any final words?
I've got tons - when you're ready to write your book, hit me up. I've got thoughts on requests, theories about musical tastes, how race and socio-economics play out in the party scene, and the list goes on! :)