For DJZone.net and Sid Vanderpool, Editor in Chief,
this is DeeJay Naphtali Jimi Bruce "Turnin' da Tables n'
Discs" from the downtown Nashville, Tennessee scene here at the
end of the summer of the double-oh-deuce. I'm with D.J. Onasile
("she-lay) at Bar Nashville tonight. He's one of the
hottest I've heard since I've been here, and in most demand.
He also plays at the Nashville version of New York
City's club NV. Read-on my precious reader, as we talk about it!
NJB: Saturday night at Bar Nashville
where dancing on the bar is on only encouraged but necessary, and
there's mucho ladies on the dance floor...and not many men.
SHILE: I wanna do it better than any DJ
that's ever stepped inside a bar's corporate group. Giving the best
that I can hip, Ya know what I mean?
NJB: I feel ya. The call you DJ
"She-lay" but you have a longer name than that, I'm gonna
let you say it.
SHILE: ONAshe-lay. O-N-A-S-I-L-E.
NJB: Cool. What does that mean? What are
the origins of that?
SHILE: It's a Euriban name, comes from
the Euriban tribes of Africa, that's West Africa, ah parts of Nigeria
basically. It means the artist that builds the house, the
artist that opens the house. It has two translations.
NJB: Okay. Are you from there?
SHILE: No actually I'm from west Tennessee, I
grew up in Jackson, Tennessee.
NJB: So how long have you been spinnin'
here in Nashville?
SHILE: I've been spinnin' in Nashville
'bout five years; strong 'bout four years.
NJB: And you've relocated, you now new
live in the Nashville area?
NJB: Well I'd hear of you, but I really
first discovered you back on my birthday last winter at BAR
Nashville, so let's start there. For my readers, Bar Nashville
is like a place with a big bar and an even bigger dance floor; DJ
booth above the crowd. Outside, it's a brick building in the
heart of downtown and the sign over the door says "BAR" in
big letters, and in little letters underneath it says
"Nashville". So from your perspective, what's Bar
Nashville all about?
SHILE: Some people say it's like a college
fraternity party. It's all about energy. It's a fun
factory. When people leave, you wanna them remember what
happened at BAR. BAR plays everything from, like the fun
fifties sing along, sixties, seventies, eighties, plus the new
stuff. It's all about knowing when you playing them, that can
bring the energy up of the crowd an' whatnot. I love it!
NJB: I notice that you play mostly CDs. You're
SHILE: Yeah, we just recently got on the MP3
files at DJ settings like, DJMKS1 an whatnot; so we're usin'
that. It's real tuff.
NJB: How do you feel about that? I mean
did you ever come from a place where you spun vinyl?
SHILE: Yeah, my roommates in college, ya
know DJ L.J., ah, my roommate right now, a cat by the name of
Universal Vibe, and I had a real, real close friend who passed away
in '92 that got me into Hip Hop in the beginning and so ah, by the
name of DJ Chicano (rest in peace). My man hooked me up back then and
I was always on the musician's side of things. I played
keyboards and drums growing-up; I played in the band and whatnot in
High School ya know, did that kind of thing. Got into college,
got involved in the music, but I've always been around DJs so it
really kinda helped out. So when I got my first start, which
was actually here in Nashville at Have A Nice Day Café, I was
actually doing security,
SHILE: Yeah, and a big group of people came in,
three hundred plus, and they wanted a live DJ to spin and there were
CDs up there, and so I walked right in and did it. Did a great
job at doin' it on CDs, and then it's like all of a sudden its like,
'hey let's rotate you in!' They brought me in actually on a
Saturday night, my very first night...
NJB: Right in the deep water!
SHILE: Ohh, man it was wonderful!
It was wonderful. And the radio stations around here helped
pump me up, whatnot, keep me going an whatnot, cause ya hear a lot of
the DJs mention my name here and there over the radio, so I've really
mastered, or not really mastered, but let's say I know how to control
the politics and all that nature when it comes to down to being
around a mainstream flow. All of this going into a mainstream
culture right now, anyway...
NJB: Right, exactly.
SHILE: Especially down here in the South
where some people call it the "dirty South" but it's not
like what everybody thinks it is.
NJB: To me it's not the "dirty South",
I mean, being from the New York metro it's been a little bit
pleasanter surprise, especially since 9/11. Some of the stupidity
seems to have calmed down, and various peoples are getting along more
somewhat because of the music out across the spectrum.
SHILE: It's totally different now. I
really appreciate being here, seeing some of the things that, uh, I
mean, my parents grew up down this way, so it's all been a learning
experience. When I came from west Tennessee to middle Tennessee
I was like, "whoa, there is a difference!"
NJB: What's the main difference?
SHILE: The mentality. Mentality.
Probably the reality of it all everybody works in factories down in
west Tennessee, more as where here everybody's into music , ya know,
but they still work.(laughs)
NJB: Right! Yeah, I'm feelin' that.
It also doesn't hurt that this is the state's Capitol either; givin'
it a more big-time status. When I came here and they had sold
it to me coming here for radio, Nashville has a more of a "baby
Atlanta" feel to it.
SHILE: Yeah, and we've heard that about,
let's see, I've been in the area 'cause I went to MTSU [Middle
Tennessee State University] school...
NJB: Yeah? What'd you major in?
SHILE: Recording Industry Management
NJB: Wish they'd had that major when I went to school.
SHILE: That, which is whole 'nother
story, we can talk about that(laughs)
NJB: Ha! Yeah, I bet...
SHILE: When I got up this way, probably like
for ten years in the middle Tennessee area, and you can tell the
difference from city to city, and this is like thee spot, ya know
probably next to Knoxville and they've got U.T. up there and whatnot,
but we've got a lot of colleges here in Nashville, and that really
helps us out a lot besides all the music!
NJB: Okay, and this brings me to another point
I wanted to mention when you were talking about how you DJ at Bar
Nashville, you have a college crowd, but would you say also that a
lot of your support is from tourists to the capitol district and
"music city" stuff?
SHILE: Yeah. Ah, we have people
coming from western Kentucky, northern Alabama, west Tennessee, parts
of Missouri, parts of Mississippi all the time. You play
"Sweet Home Alabama" at midnight, you gonna have a great
reaction. It's not gonna be like, "what in the world are
you doing?" Especially at a place like BAR Nashville, so,
I mean, you play that, I get a lot of love the surrounding states.
NJB: I've felt that love the times I've hung
out with you there because the crowd is totally with you, an African
American DJ, and they're mostly Caucasian, or as you say, "mainstream"
but they're digging what you're doing and what you're
sayin' on the mike. Everybody seems happy as you juice the crowd!
SHILE: Yeah, it's really, really hard to
pinpoint what it is, but I just think man, if you have a great
aura, and you try to be positive about everything, and you really
look at everything for what it is and see the reality of it all, and
make the most out of it, everyday is a party.
NJB: Everyday is a, I like that (laughs)
SHILE: I mean not necessarily saying you
actually just party and get wasted, but everyday is a party because
life should be fun! And if you're not having fun, or if you're
learning anything, then...
NJB: Then you're doing the wrong thing.
SHILE: Yeah, ya doing the wrong thing.
NJB: I've been there. What's the
address of BAR Nashville?
SHILE: BAR is 214 Second Avenue South.
NJB: So let's switch tracks and
talk about the other place you play at. A club that I
know from it's original in New York City, NV. I've played the
original on Spring and Hudson streets, and Nashville's has been open
about a year now?
SHILE: Yeah, just a little over a year
now, it's called NV Bar and Nightclub, 131 Second Avenue North, there
just right up the street from each other.
NJB: Now there practically right across the
street from one another, do you have any politics with that?
The people, apparently they work with you on that, they're not jealous?
SHILE: A lot of the DJs around here that
are truly great DJs and have great personalities, they're able to not
have to deal with the conflict of interest...
NJB: Okay, well put.
SHILE: For the first two years that I was
down here I was with the BMG group which owned Have A Nice Day
Café`, BAR Nashville, and all that whole stuff so I was with
them for like, five years. So when we had some of the guys that
worked over at NV and those other clubs it was like a family
thing. I've always had an interest in Dance music in cause my
music as an artist, myself was kind of ambient and kinda
transient sometimes but I was using different rhythms in my mix at
times. So I flipped the rhythms and learned a little bit more,
and got involved with NV an' whatnot and it's a family
atmosphere. The club looks like no other club in Nashville, ya
know you're like, "where am I", so it's a great place for me.
NJB: That's that NV décor patterned
after the original one in New York City. It's like a harem room
in there with the drapes and the burgundy furniture and plush
accents, crystal chandeliers, brown tones, lasers and checkerboard
patterns too. Real nice.
SHILE: Real nice.
NJB: And the balcony upstairs in New York
was the DJ booth. So what's your experience with NV in
total? You're having a good time there as well?
SHILE: I'm having a great time. I'm
there Thursday and Friday night. I'm linking-up with two of the
hottest DJs also here that's in the dance music scene, "DJ
Fly" and "Dave Apauzo", those are special-type guys.
NJB: So you're in the mix turning the discs
there, but NV's crowd wants a different flava don't they? BAR's
more Top 40 and NV's more Club, right?
SHILE: Yeah, NV's more club. I play
more club mixes.
NJB: You still workin' CD's though.
SHILE: Yeah I still work CD over there.
NJB: Awright. See, personally, I'm ole
skool guy. I admire guys or gals who do CDs these days. I'm, uh,
tryin' to make the transition, but I'm begrudgingly wit it. If
I got ta play a gig, I'm gonna play vinyl and some CDs unless I'm
playing a Gentleman's club where it's not mix intensive.
SHILE: Yeah, yeah. One of the
things about playin' on CDs; it's like, a lot of the clubs
around here bought the whole CD thing...here comes Dave by the way
NJB: Dave Apuzo's coming over on our interview
set right now. He's also a major punter here in downtown
Nashville. Thank U, Good to meet you.
NJB: So which club let me put you on the spot,
which club do you like better? And no politically correct
answers either (laughs)...
SHILE: Actually I like NV better.
NV has, well a lot of people down here do not understand the concept
of being a DJ as an artist.
SHILE: Being able to go over to NV, I can
play my original music as well as, ya know mix something off the fly
that's totally off the wall. I mean, have opportunity to do
what makes you Hot! Get the people to really, really know
about'cha, and so it's been really great over there at NV, and I love
it; it's not a lot of pressure 'cause you don't have a lot of people
NJB: Even though the "DJ booth" looks
like a closet...You can walk right by it, it's like the coat check room.
SHILE: It's like a double door with a red light
in it. It's just totally out of the way and they're looking'
for ya .
NJB: So does that affect the way you can see
SHILE: Naw, the crowd is right there,
though, so, you know, actually you're real close to the crowd, and in
most cases they spill over the dance floor, and they over by the
tables near me, still dancin', and plus there's the stage right by me
in the booth, so it's just a matte of just walking up to the door and
looking out to see what's going on.
NJB: And using the big mirrors mounted on the
opposite wall too, I guess helps.
SHILE: Yeah! Versus like at BAR Nashville
where you have everybody in the booth with you
which is one reason why they won't bring turntables in there.
NJB: Ah huh, 'cause it's too accessible.
SHILE: Yeah, and you got girls dancing on the
DJ booth; I'm leavin' one extreme to another.
NJB: Ah yeah, at BAR Nashville I noticed one of
their main things is they let the ladies dance on the bar, on the DJ
booth almost. The phenomena I first saw at Hogs 'N Heifers back
in lower Manhattan.
SHILE: Yeah, and that was the thing that
every bar store that they have all over the country; all the girls
they have dance up on the bar, that's one of the concepts things. Not
really like, ya know a thing..
NJB: It's a gimmick, everybody has one...
SHILE: That's what they do. NV's totally
different, I've got no pressures.
NJB: It's more laid-back, it's more, I think,
New York style. I think that's its concept, more East Coast
vibe on Second Ave! They're branching out all over
nowadays. Well dear reader,
We're sitting here in Nashville, Tennessee with DJ
Onasile. This is you chance to promote yourself on
DJZone.net. Let my readers know about your upcoming events,
gigs, or parties...
SHILE: Actually I've got a big armada of
stuff that's just about to come together. I was recently on a
TV show on channel 4 WSMV. We don't know if we're gonna be back
for this upcoming season; there's a lot of politics and whatnot going
on, so we'll wait and see what's going on. I'm about to get a
website started. Right now it's in the making, but I can tell
you the address is gonna be www.angelfire/electronica2/onasile.com.
NJB: That's a short address for ya! (laughs!)
SHILE: Yeah, it's cool. Basically it's a
simple set-up; we had to get something started up real quick because
there's a lot of attention that I've been getting lately, where if
NJB: Ya blowin' up!
SHILE: It's really cool, so I got a lotta
stuff that's gonna be going on from mix compilations to actually
bringing out some of the original work. Some of my work will be
featured on e of the upcoming TV shows. I can't say which ones
because it's still in the works, and it's a lot of good things and
maybe I'll be the one here in Nashville to show with a lot of
the cats that are with me, to show these people that DJs are artists,
and what can be done! I will be in Cincinnati soon; I will be
up at U.T. up in Knoxville for some of the parties whatnot...
NJB: No specific dates?
SHILE: No specific dates right now,
everything's still in the talk right now, ah 'because it was supposed
to happen a month ago, and we didn't get things together.
NJB: Right, scheduling's a mutha.
SHILE: Sometimes a DJ gets really busy
with a lot of things going, and to keep my attention here takes focus.
NJB: Yeah, and I feel your concentration from a
mentor status, and that's good my brotha!
So here's the sixty-four thousand buck question that I
always ask my interviews, do you do private parties? (laughs)
SHILE: I haven't yet did one private
party. I'm working at it...
NJB: Good answer.
SHILE: I actually gave a card out the
other night. You was in the booth, and the guy came up
NJB: Yeah, I remember that guy.
SHILE: I probably don't do it, but since
the emergence of me going to the MP3 files, and being able to DJ from
laptop or computer and whatnot, I might cause it's just a matter of
just pluggin' it up and that's it.
NJB: You got it, that right! You can mix
the party at home or wherever, even if it's a wedding, bachelor gig,
and something, bring your laptop, and then you can just basically
bring your microphone, and you're set.
SHILE: Yeah, because I don't like
complications. Like I said, I was with the DJs who went to do
the private parties, stacking your crates of records in there, gotta
get'em out that night because the sun is gonna warp'em in the morning...(laughs)
NJB: Been there big time, 'man. I
remember the days when I had to break-down my whole system every
night. The crowd would be gone, here you are with the clean-up
crew and the owners of the spot; maybe one girl lingers to try
to hang out with ya after you finish, but by the time you repack all
your stuff, you're so tired that you hardly have enough energy to
deal with her! (laughs)..
SHILE: Exactly. You tired!
NJB: That's whey nowadays if someone asks can I
do a private party, I say if it's in a club, and they've got their
own equipment, then I'll bring my records, and that's all. Well
Onasile, I'm glad you took some timeout from your busy schedule to
talk with us here at DJZone.net.
On behalf of our editor, Sid Vanderpool back in Idaho,
it's been good. I know you gotta step down the street to NV and
a fashion show rehearsal, thank you for hangin' in the DJZone.
Much success and stay in touch.
SHILE: Everything has a message.
NJB: DJ She-lay, a man of many quotes! (laughter)