On the strength of one of this year's best projects, expect DJ Spinna to take his place among top dance talent as the positive force of HERE TO THERE (BBE Music) radiates throughout the music community. An outstanding collection of original compositions that explores the root of all music - the drum: from the tribe to the club, Vincent Williams Jr serves a titillating glimpse of his limitless talent that just like great Chinese food, will leave you wanting more. Good thing is, you won't have to wait long since this prolific producer is already looking ahead to dropping new music on his own labels while he appears around the world in support of this one. In these 5-Qs, we caught up with our favorite newly-minted, CHOICE Award-winning legend where he shares some insight on how this project came together, how you can be a part of his musical family and why 80's television is his secret obsession…
1. This is some real good music - rich with solid beats, lyrics, arrangements and head-nodding sincerity. Take us inside the production process: the songwriting, recording and studio for the evolution of this project. Who brought what to the table and dish about working with your fellow collaborators?
DJ Spinna: The majority of the tracks were pre-produced musically before they were given to the artist for lyrical participation. Mostly everything was recorded in my studio with the exception of the Shaun Escoffery ["Music In Me"] and Ovasoul ["Surely"] tracks. Those songs were written and co-produced with Mark De Clive Lowe who resides in London. So there was overseas involvement as well. Ronny Jordan, Soul Live,Ticklah and Angela Johnson are all musicians that I've had the pleasure of working with over the years, so naturally they had to be included here. I prefer to work with people I vibe with.
2. From the cover of XLR8R to a mention in Entertainment Weekly, everybody is talking about you and this project. Take us inside the hype of a new album - serving up the good, the bad and the ugly of constant interviewing, touring and staying neutral.
DJS: Every time I finish a project, I'm ready to move on to the next thing. I always move forward. Sometimes it could be a drag because of all the necessary interviews and touring that comes with it. But it has to be done. That's the only way to maximize the full potential of an album, especially after all the hard work put into completing the project.
3. Discuss your labels and your goals for them. Are you looking for artists and if so, how can someone holla?
DJS: I have two labels: BEYOND REAL, which has been around since 1996, and WONDERWAX, which is still brand new. The WONDERWAX label was created as a means of contributing to the dance market. I want to be able to capitalize on dance and soul music instead of giving my best work to other labels all the time. BEYOND REAL is the underground Hip-Hop vehicle. Right now there are singles and EPs ready to drop, if there is any interest hit me at www.djspinna.com.
4. It's clear that you are an avid music collector but what's the ish with your TV obsession? Care to share how old-school television themes have found their way into your work and why you can still quote lines from classic 80's sit-coms like Mork & Mindy?
DJS: Late 70's and early 80's TV reminds me of the best years of my life. When life was simpler. "Na Noo, Na Noo!" [Sampling or channeling - you decide, the great Robin Williams.] I can't even watch that much TV anymore. If old episodes of "What's Happening?" were to come back on the air, I would record every episode.
5. Are you ready to give up the secret on how you became DJ Spinna?
DJS: It's not that deep. I used to have another name that some of my peeps found to be corny. So around the late eighties my crew started calling me simply Spinna because I was the only DJ on my block, spinning the joints. The name sounded catchier, so I kept it.