The Indy jock scene is kind of a boys' club, but that hasn't stopped Stephanie Deanne Swanson from making her mark. Her first regular gig was at a place called Bullwinkle's in Bloomington. Now, she's a resident at two of Indy's hottest clubs. Deanne describes her sound as "a combination of tech, electribal and progressive house," highlighting its blend of "big beats, strong synths, dramatic arrangements and a soulful sprinkling of vocals." She spins with a purpose: to move people, to tell them a story. She says every set, "has a beginning, a climax and a happy ending," and "is full of passion, excitement, energy... connection between me, the music and the dance floor."
Standing gigs: Blu every Sunday; Talbott Street the 1st Saturday of every month
Record she loves playing: "Cowbell" by Martijn Ten Velden and Afroboogie
Record she hates playing: "She has her place, and I love her, but Lady Gaga is wearing me out!"
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "Are you going to play techno all night long?"
For Nick "MetroGnome" Saligoe, it's not a real party without the classics. "I'm trying to shine light on music that still deserves getting played," he says, "Ice Cube, Erykah Badu, Mr. Vegas, Donald Byrd, and NWA for example." In terms of genre, MetroGnome tends to spin hip-hop, funk and soul, but he'll throw some reggae and electro into the mix if the mood suits. "I don't play by a traditional "radio rotation" format," says MetroGnome. "Because I know there's a crowd out there that wants to deviate from that same 12 song redundancy."
Standing gigs: Tuesdays at Coaches Tavern, Wednesdays at The Music Mill and every other Friday at The Upper Room. He's also part of Artbox Gallery's "A Film and some Funk" events, combining a movie and music every 3rd Friday.
Record he loves playing: "Check the Rhime" by A Tribe Called Quest
Record he hates playing: He says you won't catch him playing any Miley Cyrus, or Brittney Spears.
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "Yo, I have a CD. Can you play track 7 off it right now?"
DJ Jared Curry
When Jared Curry was asked to make a last minute main floor debut at Talbott Street, he didn't feel totally prepared. But once he started spinning, it all just clicked. "The excitement in my veins, the strain on my nerves, the tension in my voice, the drive and momentum of the crowd brought an experience that filled me with confidence," he remembers. He's been a fixture on the Indy DJ scene ever since, bringing progressive house music to huge crowds of happy clubbers at places like Blu, The Vogue, and Forty Five Degrees.
Standing gig: House DJ at Talbott Street every weekend
Favorite Musicians: Tiesto, Tony Moran, Roger Sanchez
Record he hates playing: "Heaven" by DJ Sammy
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "When a clubber asks the DJ to play a track, the track gets played, and the clubber makes the same request moments later."
DJ Slater Hogan
The morning after he finished a set at Circus in Liverpool, Slater Hogan was supposed to share a car to Manchester with DJ's Fatboy Slim and Yousef. Unfortunately Fatboy and Yousef were a little over-served the night before and Slater ended up on a $300 taxi ride. Two months later, at a Miami club, "Yousef snuck up behind me, gave me $300 cash and apologized for missing the ride," Slater remembers. After 12 years of spinning in Indy and all over the world, Slater has lots of crazy DJ tales and a turntable style that keeps people coming back. It's "jumping and bumping, four to the floor, party house music," as he describes it.
Standing gig: Thursday nights at Blu
Influences: DJ's Mark Farina and Derrick Carter
Record he loves playing: "Disco Cubism" by I:Cube
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "Do you take requests?"
DJ Action Jackson
In 2004, Ben Jackson was just DJing house parties for his IU friends. Before long, he was a regular on the Bloomington club scene, and he had a new first name: "Action." As a full time jock, that's exactly what he likes to see on the dance floor, "people just getting loose," as he says. How does he get them moving? "I love mixing genres and tempos." His mix of Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" blends bubbly Motown pop with a light, modern groove. It's cheeky and smart.
Standing gig: Wednesdasy at Casba
Influences: DJ Topspeed
Record he loves playing: "Percolator," by Cajmere
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "Play something I can dance to."
DJ Indiana Jones
Ron Miner had every little boy's dream job: DJing at his family's roller rink. Fast-forward a couple of decades and he's one of Indiana's best-known hip-hop/top 40 DJ's. His skill and personality have landed him gigs all over the world. "My clientele has included celebrities, athletes, moguls and hood superstars," he says. But he still calls Indy home. "Hip-hop has opened doors for me worldwide and DJing is my window. I crawl in if I have to, and l leave it cracked just enough for the homies to slide in right after," he says.
Standing gigs: Midtown Grill on Friday nights and Casba every Sundays
Record he loves playing: "Any record that gets an AHHHHH"
Record he hates playing: "Any record that clears the floor"
Worst thing to say to a DJ: "Do you got a pen I can borrow?"
DJ Buck Rodgers
Jason "Buck" Rodgers first jumped behind a turntable when he was 12 years old. "My grandfather was a musician. So, I come from a music background, and DJing was a way that I could express my musical knowledge," he remembers. Rodgers got his first club gig at age 20. Now, just 2 years later, he has two residencies around Indianapolis. Having learned under the tutelage of local DJ Topspeed, this party-style jock has a gift for reading the crowd and plays what he describes as a "funky, smooth, seamless, energetic, enjoyable" set. Want to hear for yourself?
Standing gigs: Tuesday nights at Fox and the Hound in Carmel and Thursdays at their Castleton location
Influences: DJ's Jazzy Jeff, Cash Money, Cut Creator, Qbert, Mixmaster Mike, Topspeed
Record he loves playing: "Say Something" by Timbaland & Drake
Record he hates playing: "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus