DJ Name: DJ Stef
Hometown: I was born in San Pablo, lived in Richmond as
a baby, grew up in Concord, but I claim San Francisco as my hometown.
Trademark saying or philosophy toward music/life: Hip-hop
keeps you young.
Groups/crews that you have been a member of: Sister SF
guest DJ (www.sistersf.com), Brick crew (with Big DJ Serg
and RasCue), and back in the day my partner Stacey and
I were I.T.M. (In The Mix).
How would describe the music you spin? I like to play
a variety -- old to the new, underground to popular, hip-hop,
R&B, soul, funk, electro, bass, jazz, rock, dance, electronic.
I love it all but my very favorite sets are uptempo classic/old
school hip hop or mellow, soulful stuff.
Is there a style to the way you put your music together?
Sometimes I play a lot of genres all at once, sometimes I stick
to a theme and sometimes I cater to a specific crowd or situation.
Typically, if I have a gig, I'll start with something I think
the crowd will dig and I'll like playing, and build from there.
DISCOGRAPHY: Old School I and II, Hip-Hop '94, Down There,
& When I Hear Freestyle, an 80s freestyle mix
recorded for Spinner.com
The first record you ever bought: Other than a Chipmunks
album when I was really little, Maybe Tomorrow by the Jackson
5 was the first record I bought myself. I was 9. I still have
Most influential record(s) in your life: "Rapper's
Delight" was the first rap record I heard, so definitely
for introducing me (and a LOT of kids around me) to rap. And then
Super Rhymes shortly after that. I remember buying the first Public
Enemy album without hearing it, just seeing it when it came
into the store (Aquarius Records when they were on 24th Street),
that it was on Def Jam and from the picture on the cover. The
first Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions and Gang
Starr albums all blew my mind in terms of new styles and what
the future held for hip hop at that time. Also when I was little
I loved the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album. I'd sit
and listen and follow along with the book. I learned how a record
could transport you to another place.
When did you first DJ? I used to play records during lunch
in junior high. We played from a classroom next to the quad. But
my first club gig was at DJ EFX and Mind Motion's
Sunday night weekly at the Nightbreak on Haight Street. That was
What made you want to be a DJ? I've loved playing records
since I was a toddler. I wanted to make people
dance and get the party started, or keep it going. I would think
of mixes and then HAVE to hear them for real. It was especially
fun to mix in the 80s-- throw together Miami bass, freestyle,
R&B, hip hop, new wave, rock.
What makes you continually want to be a DJ? Music soothes
and excites me. I get a kick out of playing that right record
at the right moment for the right people. That keeps me going.
As long as people keep asking me to spin, I'll spin. And it's
still fun to mix!
Most memorable performance of your DJ career: I opened
up for Atmosphere at the Fillmore last year, to a packed
house. I was scared -- I'm not used to people standing and watching
me, especially that many, but once I started and got love from
the crowd, it was fun. It was actually easier than a lot of club
gigs because the sound was so clear and the equipment setup was
perfect. (Thanks, JBird and Mr. Dibbs.) It's an
historic venue. I can say, "I played the Fillmore."
Do you play CDs ever at gigs? No. I have before though-
I had a DJ job at a restaurant/bar and the music director asked
me to play some of their CDs. I played with the CD mixer there
sometimes but I got bored with it. I don't like CDs.
In your opinion who is the best DJ of all time? That's
a tough question because there are so many great ones and every
DJ has his/her unique strengths... Be it scratching, mixing, selection,
playing for emcees, battling, innovating technique, hyping the
crowd... If you could combine QBert with DJ Premier
and give him all of Afrika Bambaataa's records (and 80s
outfits), that'd be the best DJ of all time.
Best website to find out more about you: VinylExchange.com
-- The message board is pretty active and you can stay in touch
with me there.