I met Richard Martin, a.k.a DJ Reddy Fox, way back in ’the day. We were both working part-time at a crappy music store (remember Music World?), trying to make ends meet while we hungrily pursued our goals. I was trying to establish myself as a writer by publishing a semi-autobiographical zine while Richard was an aspiring DJ.
At the time, I was thrilled to discover that our newest co-worker was trying to make it as a DJ. Little did he know that I was COMPLETELY infatuated with DJs. I was enamoured by the power that they held. I loved the fact that they had the skills to whip a crowd into a mad frenzy by spinning a few tracks. Yes, I was a DJ groupie.
After Reddy and I became friends he made sure to tell me about his upcoming DJ gigs as well as remind me to listen to his late night radio show—Showtime, on CHRY 105.5fm. On the odd night that I missed a show, Richard would provide me with a cassette. (Remember cassettes?!)
As my co-workers and I left Music World one by one to pursue our passions, we promised to stay in touch.
Although Reddy and I didn’t speak often over the years, he kept me abreast on everything he was up to. I was happy for him when he told me he was DJing live shows for Kardinal Offishall (2003-2006) and completely proud to hear his voice on FLOW 93.5fm (2008). Reddy was living the life!
So inviting Reddy to sit down with me to be interviewed was a no brainer. I am completely proud of him and all his accomplishments and pretty honoured to say I know him.
Even though I can’t recall the last time that I actually lay my eyes on Reddy, it felt just like old times when we met up. It didn’t hurt that we unwittingly decided to meet at the same mall we worked at 15 years ago, so the memories were overflowing when I walked into the mall. We both looked a little older, sounded more mature, but we are essentially the same people.
I originally intended to speak to Reddy about his current DJ endeavours; however the interview took an interesting detour. He spoke about DJing in the “Digital Era” and his mixed emotions about the technological change. I never gave thought to what DJs thought about the change, but Reddy assured me it was a hot topic in the world of DJing. Here’s what he had to say.
Real Name: Richard Martin
Fave Hip Hop Artist: Jay Z
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
You’ve been DJing for over 15 years, how has the industry changed?
I don’t want to be negative…but for a person that has been DJing for a long time, I think the changes that they will see are not necessarily good. If you are a young guy and you’ve only been DJing for 2-3 years, you don’t have any perception in terms of what it’s been like.
Because of the digital age, you’re DJing with software. You’re not going out and buying music. I don’t go down to Play De Record anymore and spend about $400 a week on getting as much music as I could get my hands on.
With the way things are today, there is NO financial commitment in terms of being a DJ. You get a laptop, you get the software—which you can get for free, and you download music for free. It’s not like you’re lugging around 50 crates of records with you to a party. Now you just show up with a laptop and you’re good to go.
Because there is no financial commitment to be a DJ, everyone thinks they are a DJ. You may not necessarily know how to DJ but you have the music. I call them “Microwave DJs.”
Are there any advantages to DJing with a laptop?
All you need now is to make sure there is enough room for your laptop. Before we would have to pack our car with the crates of music, go to the club, find the DJ booth and see how you were going to fit all your crates in the DJ booth depending on the space you have to work with. All that’s gone now.
I like that it’s now physically possible to have your entire music library with you when you go out to DJ. When we were carrying crates of records there was only so much you could bring with you to a party so you had to strategically bring music that you believed would work for that party. So it was something of a guessing game that way.
Is there a side effect of the Digital Age?
Because it’s easier for people to call themselves DJs….it may not be not a skill that they have necessarily learned. I’m not saying that’s true of all new DJs, I’m just saying that I’ve noticed that there are a lot of DJs who are hypnotized by their laptops…zoned into them. I have the habit of looking around the crowd and seeing if everyone is having a good time. It’s a skill that is acquired over time. It’s not easy.
What do you think of celebs DJing?
Makes me want to vomit ‘cuz they’re not real DJs. What the fuck does Paris Hilton know about DJing? She recently got a contract to DJ in Ibiza. They are probably going to pay her a gazillion dollars…………….she’s already a multi-millionaire and the heiress to the Hilton dynasty! She’s taking food out of the mouths of real DJs.
What’s your favourite type of music to DJ?
R&B ….. 90s R&B in particular. Jodeci, Total, Mary J. Blige….It was the music I DJed when I was just starting out. I didn’t know how to mix 2 records to save my life!
EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is very popular in clubs now. How do you feel about this type of music?
I’ve learned to appreciate it since I’ve been DJing it more so over the years….you don’t have a choice.
How have you adapted to some of the changes in the industry?
Maybe I haven’t adapted. I don’t play out as much as I used to. It’s really an in and out of love thing for me.
There are times when I feel like I don’t want to DJ anymore and I’m okay with not getting gigs.
Not sure if it was a networking thing in terms of who you knew was your means to getting gigs. It seems like that more so today than it was back in the day. It probably was still like that but I was working more…. maybe I was more passionate about it back then. I’m DJing out once a week, which is cool. If I got more work I would be okay with it, I’m just not killing myself to try to find it. I just see other things that I would like to do.
Other than DJing, what are your other ventures?
I started a website called Spinformation.ca. The whole idea behind this website is that DJs can use it to critique DJ booths that they worked in. There are so many variables that a DJ has to deal with when they go to a club for the first time. I’m talking about the regular, every day DJ that goes to the club and….. maybe the equipment is subpar, or the space that he’s working in is horrific or even amazing. Either way, I wanted something where DJs could go to a website to see what other DJs have said about a venue…so they have a better idea of what they are getting themselves into before they go to the club. I wanted to take out the “I wish I knew this before I came to the club” factor.
Tell me about your upcoming website www.djreddyfox.com.
Well that’s just overdue! I have a love / hate relationship with social media (for more on Reddy’s views on social media, click here). That being said, as a DJ you have to have your own website. It’s just another means for people to listen to my mixes and if people want to book me or to get in touch with me.
Well Reddy, I’m positive you’re going to have a lot of traffic on spinformation.ca and djreddyfox.com. You have a lot of experience in the DJing game and you remain humble and full of passion. Thanks for sitting down with me and waxing poetic about the Vinyl Era and schooling me on the impact the Digital Era has on the art of DJing. Loved every minute of it.
Twitter : @DJReddyFox