Ask anyone and they will tell you that a party isn’t really a party without the DJ. I remember the first time I heard DJ Gringo play over 20 years ago at a college party and the student union was on fire with energy as people danced, grinding to the dancehall rhythms that pulsated through the loud sound system speakers. It was so good that even when the lights were turned on, people wouldn’t leave. Fast forward to the present time and DJ Gringo is still feeding the souls of his followers with music guaranteed to make you dance, make you happy and cause you to forget about your troubles. I recently sat down with DJ Gringo to talk about his journey as DJ and what’s next.
WhereItzAt: What made you decide to become a DJ?
DJ Gringo: Well I guess the fact that my father used to DJ kinda influenced that…He would DJ parties and I would go with him and help set up the equipment and spin records. I can remember as far back as 7 years old doing that. I don’t know but it makes me high when I am spinning songs and creating a vibe that makes people want to dance
WhereItzAt: How did you come up with the name Gringo and why?
DJ Gringo: No specific reason or story behind it… Just a silly name that stuck as a youngster
WhereItzAt: What type or genre of music are you best known for?
DJ Gringo: Well, I would say that most people know me for Reggae and/or Dancehall or Reggae/Dancehall or whatever people choose to call it nowadays but I am sure you get my drift. Some would call me a roots and culture DJ or some would know me for spinning dancehall, reggae, soca and afrobeats all in one.
WhereItzAt: If you had to name one artist or one song that impacted you the most as a DJ, who or what, would that be?
DJ Gringo: I would have to say, surprisingly, Eric B. and Rakim “I know you got soul”. As a youth I would scratch and cut that record for hours and hours every day for many days.
WhereItzAt: How long have you been playing music?
DJ Gringo: Since I was 6 lol…Not to disclose my age but pretty much more than three decades… But actually on a professional level over 25 years. Lately, I have also begun producing and I currently have three songs in production with some very well-known reggae artists. I will share the details with your readers at a later date.
WhereItzAt: What was your most exciting experience as a DJ?
DJ Gringo: Up to this day I would have to say my most exciting experience as a DJ was the year I was the DJ for Rebel Salute…. That Was 2005 in Port Kaiser Sports Complex in St. Elizabeth Jamaica … I was the only DJ the whole night before and after the artists’ performances in front of what may have been over 30,000 people…I will never forget that day…we set that place on fire that night…Want to thank Tony Rebel again…bless up.
WhereItzAt: Where do you currently DJ?
DJ Gringo: Currently I DJ every Sunday night at a spot named Bar 13 in Union Square, New York on 13th street, every Tuesday night at a spot in Williamsburg Brooklyn called Kinfolk, every Thursday night at a spot called Bleachers on Flatbush in Park Slope, like two blocks down from Barclays center and I DJ every Saturday at Solomon & Kuff in Harlem, as well as a lot of one offs/guest DJ appearances on other nights. You can also hear me play every Sunday from 1pm – 7pm EST on Sirius XM Radio on The Joint SXM42.
WhereItzAt: How you would describe the experience of DJing on the radio versus DJing in a nightclub or at a concert?
DJ Gringo: It’s two totally different experiences. I would say. One is more of a staged experience, in a sense where when being in a club or a concert I personally as a deejay am directly influenced by the people I see in front of me responding to each song I select. It’s a situation where I can’t go in with a plan like I could doing a radio show. Any particular night at a live performance can go anyway.
WhereItzAt: Who are some the artists you have had the chance to meet and interview?
Marcia Griffiths, Vybz Kartel, Romain Virgo and Tony Rebel.
WhereItzAt: Name 3 things that people would never guess about you?
- Lol, lemme see, well I graduated from SUNY Farmingdale’s nursing program.
- I’ve recently stumbled upon acting and I am currently acting in two separate YouTube web series one named “Sons of Kingston” and another named “Blue City”.
- I have intentions of establishing a life and future in Africa. I am working on it now. Traveling back and forth, I had some of my children in school down there as well. Just basically in the process of figuring it all out.
WhereItzAt: There’s a line from a Bob Marley song that says “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”, describe how music makes you feel?
DJ Gringo: Wow, well music…Oh boy music. Music is life, which consists of a variety or should I say a library of feelings. There is different music for different feelings. Music has been an intricate part of my life for as long as I can remember knowing life itself. I would say with the majority of the memories I have there are songs associated with each of them. Even if it wasn’t a full song there would even be notes or a verse. Music has consumed most of my time from the time I knew time. I would always sing songs in class, or my mind would be on a song in my head instead of what the teacher is saying. I can’t remember much of my life without music so I would have to say without music I wouldn’t have much of a life. I believe there are those that see the power in music and use it to influence people with messages in the music. I believe they purposely promote songs to control the people.
WhereItzAt: Have you had the chance to travel to different cities and countries to DJ and if so, where?
DJ Gringo: Yes. I have traveled and played in San Diego, Seattle, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Trinidad, Jamaica, France and Ethiopia.
WhereItzAt: What are your 5 greatest hits of all time?
DJ Gringo: Little More Time Beres Hammond/Buju Banton
Scenario Tribe Called Quest, featuring Leaders of The New School
On and On Erykah Baddhu and a slew of songs from Burning Spear, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Prince.
Finish this sentence. “A world without music… is a world without living.
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