AKA: DJ Smite
Current club night(s): Every first and third Friday I DJ at Rose & Crown in downtown Phoenix. It's free and you won't get anything like it anywhere else.
Preferred genre(s): All types of heavy Latin funky shit. Afro-Colombian funk, cumbia, salsa dura, psych, funk, soul, disco, post-punk, dub, early '80s electro, boogie and slept-on rap.
Where have been your favorite places to spin at in the PHX? House parties. My favorite lounge. After-hours at Quincy's. The puppet theatre. Fate. B-boy battles back in the day.
How did you get your start as a DJ? Back in sixth grade my best friend Ron claimed it was "all bout having the sickest cassingle and custom embroidered hat collection" which he did. His first two drawers in his dresser were nothing but cassette singles and full lengths lined up immaculately. By eighth grade when there were little parties, my more low-profile Filipino homie Dennis would DJ with a gang of tapes. He rocked off of a dual cassette deck with an extra deck he'd bring along to get all the songs cued up on point in his headphones. I would lay back in the cut with him and shot call. I was into making pause tapes. By the time Juice came out I was sold.
What happened next? Going into freshman year my mom bought me a radio shack mixer and I had one janky ass turntable and an all in one home unit to fuck around with. I remember going to Headquarters in Tempe and going up to Soulman of the Phunk Junkies to ask him what kind of setup I needed to scratch. He told me to get any old turntable and cut out a piece of paper to put on the platter underneath the record and just go nuts. I had already been doing that and it was whack. I walked away thinking, "Thanks a lot man, lots of fucking help." By 1993 I was buying hip-hop vinyl nearly every other week, and in July of 1994 I had Technics 1200s.
Are you part of any DJ collectives? I stand on my own two feet but shout out to my potnas Djentrification, Melo, Johnny D, Mantis Claw, and Meaty Ogre.
Do you have any philosophies when it comes to DJing? Originality. Take chances. Break records. Have fun!
What do you usually drink during DJ gigs: I ain't no pinche hipster DJ, you won't catch me drinking PBR. I drink good fuckin' beer. Lately at the Rose & Crown it's been Kilt Lifter and Guinness, plenty of water too.
When you're not DJing, where can you be found: In the lab working on music. Grilling, sautéing, cooking and juicing. At the park ballin' it up. At the Downtown Phoenix Public Market or Ranch Market.
What's the explanation behind your DJ name? I was tired of writing other people's graffiti names. One day in sophomore English class I was flipping through the dictionary looking for a name I liked. I knew I wanted it to begin with S-M, and have a T-E ending because I was good with those combinations. The definition couldn't be more appropriate. Word to my antediluvian kin.
What's been your best experience as a DJ: The first time I played Funky Sole in LA at Star Shoes in November 2006. Walking up Hollywood Blvd, 45 cases in hand, some dude who later introduced himself as the Gaslamp Killer spots me and says, "You looking for Star Shoes?" It was just Egon of Now-Again/Stones Throw and I on the decks all night. I mixed nothing but my filthiest 45's and the crowd was wylin' out the whole night. Egon of course killed it.
Any others come to mind? The other would be Johnny D's Birthday Bash at the Rhythm Room in May 2006. The night was dripped in funk with local legends Michael Liggins, Big Mike Lenaburg and Chico Chism in the house. Chico wanted his picture taken with me after I shouted him out as being the drummer on Howlin Wolf's "Evil" while I was playing it. He told me I was bad!
What's your connection with Johnny D? He's my homie. He is the OG AZ DJ, keeper of the funk and soul. R&B with Johnny D. Shout out to Mamma D. Be on the lookout for his latest CD he compiled with Bob Corritore "Flyin' High." It's all local late '50s/early '60s soul, gospel and R&B with about half the tracks being previously unreleased and all of them impossible to find.
What sites or blogs do you use to get your music? I'm strictly vinyl right now, though not for long. I'll exploit any online resource to get records.
Where do you shop for vinyl? Revolver. Eastside. I'll hit Zia every once in awhile with low expectations, although I've had some major come ups there in the past including rare random rap 12-inches and Incredible Bongo Band's first LP for $1.99. I need to hit the new Rockzone, haven't been there yet. I used to be a soldier at Tracks in Wax back in the day but have stopped shopping there since my relish Don died. Don was cool as fuck. "The only rap I listen to is from Compton." He was one of my big early music mentors. I remember when he pulled Headless out of his collection for me because he knew I'd be into it. When the Quasimoto LP dropped it made it's way into the store used and I played it for him to see how many of the samples he would recognize. He kept dropping the needle back over the Electric Prunes loop loving it.
Last album purchased: I buy a lot of 12-inch singles and 45s. The last LP I bought was last week and it was Ray Barretto's "Power" LP, near mint for $1.99. My third copy but my cleanest.
Last song downloaded: I don't think I've downloaded any songs. Some mixes yes. By default it's got to be Toy Selectah's "El Milli" cumbia remix of Lil Weezy, he e-mailed it to me awhile back. Still gets me hype.
Song that's currently stuck in your head: Labtekwon's "Break it Down."
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What do you like best about the PHX scene: That there has never been much competition when it comes to diggin.
If you had the power to change anything about the local scene, what would it be: I would have a real night club district in downtown Phoenix and not the plastic one in Scottsdale.
Any upcoming projects? Cumbia-Crunk. Latin re-edits. Beats.