All Aboard the A-trane
About 10 years ago when I was 14 I started going to raves. You know, underground parties.
About 10 years ago when I was 14 I started going to raves. You know, underground parties where drugs and alcohol were in abundance and the beats came fast and heavy. That was a long time ago it seems, too long if you ask me. Back then the DJs were all underground artists save for the select few who sold out. And they were actually good! Vinyl spun on decks and sweat poured from brows as these DJs worked their asses off to provide perfectly mixed beats with smoother than silk transitions from one song to the next. Ecstasy wasn't only a drug, it was that feeling you got when your favorite DJ got up on the decks and started hitting every mark and slamming down every beat with a perfection that only came with hours and hours of practice and an overly apparent love of music. Gone are those days it seems.
These days it seems the passion for music has gone and all that's left are a few laptop computers. DJs these days click a mouse and the next song gets played. Click a few more times and the BPM (beats per minute) speed up, slow down, and match up - just like that. No skill. No talent. No hours of practice. Just button pushing. Hell, any monkey can sit there and push a button. I'm one of those people who has the "ear". I hear beats, and I hear when the beats are off. Anything longer than 2 seconds of being offbeat I consider to be a train wreck. I'm jaded. I grew up in the Houston underground scene listening to the best-of-the-best spin. It's been a long time since I've heard someone who matches the calibre of the Houston underground DJs. Over the past month I've been listening very carefully to a regular DJ at a night club in Portland called Dirty Nightlife.
DJ A-trane has got skill. I listened to him bang out beats one after another night after night and he did it on decks! The other DJ he shared the night with probably has vision problems now due to staring at the computer monitor for so long. A-trane was all over his decks and mixers, sliding from A to B and back again, throwing down the finger pinch spin on the top of the decks to speed up his vinyl! I didn't know a lot about A-trane until I got to talking with him a little over a few nights. He's extremely passionate about the music and being a DJ. All it takes is one night of watching him spin to see he's all about the music and keeping you dancing all night long.
An excerpt from A-trane's bio:
"DJ A-trane originally from the coast, has been spinning since he was eleven years old. Now in Portland, he has brought more than his tables but also a high-energy fusion of coastal and urban styles. Although only working the Portland nightlife for a year, he has become one of the city's most sought after DJs. Playing not only the hottest cuts available, in the swankiest clubs in town, DJ A-trane brings his high energy sets to a scene that drastically needs a performer and not your typical DJ. His ability to spin all genres of music including a mash-up of hip-hop, mainstream, throwbacks, electro and hard house gives his sets a flare of originality and a very diverse way to pack his dance floors..."
I had the pleasure of getting to sit down with A-trane and have a few beers with him while we talked about his passion.
Kontraband Police: Where do you live?
A-trane: Downtown Portland, grew up on the Oregon Coast in a really small town.
Kontraband Police: What made you start DJing?
A-trane: I was at my brothers' middle school dance when I was in 5th grade. I saw what the DJ was doing and thought it looked rad, even though the DJ sucked ass (I hope he's reading this right now whoever he is). Pretty much started that summer.
Kontraband Police: How long have you been DJing?
A-trane: 11 years. I actually just started chiropractic treatment because of having my head tilted to the side for so long. My X-ray is on my MySpace...ha ha...
Kontraband Police: What's your favorite genre to spin?
A-trane: Electro hip-hop probably. A lot of energy.
Kontraband Police: What's your biggest inspiration?
A-trane: Seeing DJs that just kick ass and that are creative in what they do is really inspiring. AM, A-Trak and the dude who scratched the Imperial March in a battle one time. CHECK THAT SH#T OUT!!
Kontraband Police: What are some of your accomplishments?
A-trane: Winning a DJ Competition at a 900+ venue, spinning for 2000 peeps out of town, being a top headlining DJ in Portland at age 22. I recently graduated from film school, worked on the show Trading Spouses and on a feature film with Joel David Moore (JP in Grandma's Boy), and placing in the top twelve in an international film competition as the director of photography of a short.
Kontraband Police: Where'd you go to college?
A-trane: The Art Institute of Portland
Kontraband Police: What did you major in?
Kontraband Police: What is your dream job?
A-trane: Right now? It's either spinning in Vegas or working for the Discovery Channel.
Kontraband Police: What's your favorite DJing memory?
A-trane: Oh so many...Spinning the Diesel fashion show, winning the DJ Competition, and taking a body shot off a church girl on her bachelorette party in front of all her other fellow church ladies. It was hilarious, I'm pretty sure she was rethinking marriage...
Kontraband Police: What do you think about Kontraband?
A-trane: Kontraband is freakin' awesome. Where else can people see hot chicks and people destroying themselves or their egos on one website? It's truly ninja.
It's not often you come across a well rounded DJ who knows what's going on around him and knows what he's talking about. DJ A-trane is one of those DJs. In fact, it's not often I care enough about a DJ to give the guy a second look. If you're ever in the Portland area and you're looking for a good time, check out A-trane. You won't be disappointed.