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Friday, November 28, 2008

Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Romanowski

Posted By on Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 6:21 AM


You looking for someone to DJ your next dub club night, hip-hop birthday party, or disco bar mitzvah? DJ Romanowski has, oh, 15,000 slabs of vinyl in his collection to choose from. Those records have informed his life not only making and spinning music, but also as a visual artist. He says his library of album covers is a better education than anything you can pick up in school. Check below for our Q&A with this Swiss-born man about town (who, over the past 20 years in the field has released music under his own name, with various electronic acts, and DJ'd everything from fashion shows to movie wraps. He was also one of the founders of the Soulvation Crew.) He spins twice this weekend, at Elbo Room and Wish Bar.


Style(s) of music you spin:
All styles, all smiles...From Dub, Funk, Hip-Hop, Soul, Jazz, Boogaloo, Disco, Breaks, Electro, House...If you can dance to it, I play it.

How would you describe your approach to DJing?
Educational... Medicinal... Eclectic... Keep it in the mix connecting the dots.

What's the concept behind "Biscuits & Gravy"? Gravy is a 5-year running party that was started by Vinnie Esparza and friends. It's a free party at the Elbo Room (the day after Thanksgiving), that I DJ at once in a while.

Name of a track you can't get out of your head: Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" as sung by James

Favorite DJ experience: I got my start DJ'ing in 1983 at this youth club called The Kornhaus in Baden, Switzerland. It was on Wednesday afternoons from 2 till 6 and all these kids from the region would show up and party...We played everything from Italo Disco, Freestyle, Electro, Rap, New Wave, And Disco. Me and two other kids were the main DJ's and we tried to out-mix and out-style each other..Ahh, I also remember my Ciao Piaggio Moped...Good times.

Worst request: There are no bad requests, just bad timing. For example, you request the chicken dance or the macarena at one of my gigs -- wrong timing. You ask for the same songs at your b-day/wedding/barmitzwa after you paid me a few g's -- perfect timing.

Best thing that's come out of becoming a DJ: Making connections with like minded artists, DJ's, and producers from all around the world.

I read in one bio on you that your mom had a big impact on your early record collecting tastes...what sort of stuff did she help funnel your way? Well for starters, we would listen to Mahalia Jackson during the holidays; Ike and Tina; Beatles; Stones ... For my 9th b-day she let me pick out three records. I picked Blondie, AC/DC, and Kraftwerk.

You also have a respected career as a visual artist -- what's new with you on that front? What can you tell people about  your most recent solo show "Small Works for Great Minds"? Well I had about six solo shows this year and participated in a few group shows. SmallWorks is a special collection of found objects assemblages I made for the Fabric8 gallery at 3318 22nd street. It will be running trough December 21st...One of a kind X-mas gifts anybody?

On Dec 5th I have an opening at Rags Gallery from 6 to 9pm (541 Octavia Street). Come through.

How do the worlds of music and visual art connect for you? Well I have over 15,000 records. Each one comes with a cover or some label design..some of them are amazing..some not so much. So each record besides the musical content is a lesson in art, graphic design, photography, lettering etc..even the bad ones, on how not to do something. Better then art and music school combined into one.

Musical mantra: Share good music with friends.

Other music-related projects you're currently hard at work on: I am working with Walter Earl on a soul album due out spring 2008, P.R. Public Relaxation: that's P.E.A.C.E. from Freestyle Fellowship and I do the beats..that should be out. I just finished with Jan Whitefield from the Poets Of Rhythm and Whitefield Bros. We are called O.C.B. - that's short for Opiated Circuitry Board. And last but not least, I have my next album: The Return Of Steady Rocking Romanowski. I also started my own label called Trouser Trout Records...check for releases by me and other collaborators on itunes or your other favorite digital distributor.

Question we didn't ask you but  you often ask yourself: Who stole my stack of Italo Disco 12'' in 84 at the Kornhaus..Il Disc8, L'altro Mondo..Xenon..All gone.

Next time we can see you spin: Friday, Nov. 28TH at Elbo, Saturday, Nov.. 29 at Wish Bar. Check on MYSPACE.COM/ROMANOWSKI45

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Ian S. Port


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