Stepping Til The A.M., R.I.P. DJ AM
i was one of those grumpy quasi music experts who dismissed neo
electronica as mindless cocaine drivel.
a means to get your inner sharon stone on in the middle of the club
body rock on.
no merit whatsovever.
i made my disdain vocal back then.
without it i woulda never met my friend adam goldstein.
without getting uber dramatic about it i will say that of all the dj’s
that i’ve encountered
in my life (i could write a bajillion paragraphs on flash, jay, jeff,
cash, cosmic kev, primo, muro, kon, amir, wolf, z, king britt, medina, and
cosmo) i believe its safe to say that adam’s influence has effected me
he truly taught me the art of taking risks.
we first met at a maxim superbowl party in 2005. as usual i was
shocked that he was in awe and happy to see me. he told me of his
philly roots and INSTANTLY stopped his uber pulsed 130 bpm electronic
fest that at that point even i will admit had me even hypnotized
–well this being my first type of party of this stature in which ever
cliche was going on around me on some sex, drugs, rock n roll
ish——to start playing….real hip hop?
i yelled “no man! dont do that for my benefit! do you see that 5 girl
make out fest on the floor? put that Daft back on man!!”
he laughed at me. “its past 1am….they’re already warmed up”
i didn’t get it but he taught me the 1am rule. he said you spend the
first two hours in foreplay “warming them up”—but the second that
1am arrives (presuming the crowd has um…..”warmed up” at the bar and
whatnot”) THIS is when you establish your legend. you take risks and
you use their vulnerable state to truly establish an imprint in their
that night i was jaw dropped at how this mofo found a common thread
between michael jackson, herbie hancock, alan thicke’s “different
strokes theme”, a diplo Seinfeld remix and james brown.
that night changed my life forever.
and im not the only dj to tell this story.
those not in the know can scoff “blah blah nicole ritche” all they
want”—dude was a maverick in the highest order.
i changed my entire approach to djing and my approach to how i
listened to music. yes you’ve heard me use that quip before when
describing the late great j dilla as well. but that is using all music
to create music. now i have to use all my knowledge of music to SHARE
i mean of course i love the andy griffith theme…but how do i make it
work in a club context?
see! you have adam to thank all those times you’ve heard me go from:
-a breakbeat sample
-the song that used that sample
-a jazz song from the 40s
-some commercial ish i would never imagine in a bajillion years
playing 10 years ago
-some crazy underground ish you aint up on
-some rock ish that my 80s patrons remember their big sibbling
listening to back in the day
-some funk jam their aunt and uncle played at the bar b que
-some real hip hop
-some disco song….
i mean i can go on and on and on…..i started treating records like
they were 10,000 piece puzzles that i had to assemble the right way in
order for you to have a good time….
before i just showed up and played whatever. never giving a thought to
now i spend a minimum of 20 hours some days before testing and prepping
each step i take at the booth.
how can i shock em?
how can i move em?
how can i make em say “YO MAN HE IS MY FAVORITE DUDE ON TURNTABLES?!”
how can i match that night at the maxim party that i first saw DJ AM?
—adam was a humble man.
he loved music.
we aimed for hours sharing treats.
he was NEVER stingy with sharing his records and music with me
he put his money where his mouth was: i knew alot of cats who get the
spotlight and never use that moment to enlighten someone.
the fact that he used that light to bring aboard his mentor dj jazzy
jeff WITH him to introduce jeff to a whole nother audience is an
he was a stand up dude. he spoke of his health issues that he had when
he was younger and sometimes we just spoke on ish having nada to do
with the latest kanye remix or a breakbeat.
that dude was one of my favorite teachers. with the exception of dj
jazzy jeff, you will rarely to NEVER catch me in the club unless i
have to dj myself. but EVERYTIME he was in town i came to learn.
this is a sad sad sad painfully sad loss.
peace be with his family and friends and all who loved him.
-one love ad.