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Artist Interview: Scout

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Scout; Ann Arbor based DJ | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Scout; Ann Arbor based DJ | Photo by Benjamin Weatherston

Benjamin Weatherston met up with Scout at the Leon Loft for a photo shoot and discussion on why it’s awesome to be able to do what you love full time.

Ben: Did you grow up with music in your life? What influenced you?
Scout: I grew up taking music lessons on a variety of instruments.  For example, instead of going to preschool, my mom had me take Suzuki violin lessons. Later on I was exposed to rock ‘n roll.  In my adolescent years I would scour the internet for new music and would spend hours at the library exposing myself to older material.   Bands such as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones in addition to Detroit-based groups such as Iggy Pop and the Stooges, The White Stripes and The Von Bondies were all very influential.

Ben: What made DJ’ing more appealing than the traditional “instrument in a band” route?
Scout: In my teen years I would go to see a lot of live music, both live bands and DJs.  One of the biggest differences I noticed between the two was the level of engagement.  Yes, there will always be hard-core fans who know every single song but the average audience member of a band will only know the singles.  In a two hour set that boils down to 15 minutes where the entire audience is completely engaged.
As an open format DJ, I am able to play any and all types of music.  I realized I could more easily engage a crowd with wide demographics as opposed to a band that sticks to one genre.  I really do enjoy a wide variety of musical genres so this route is more fun for me!

Ben: When you did you decide you might want to do this for a living?
Scout: I spent part of 2013 in New York and my mentor, Rolando Calip (AKA Deftmix) exposed me to the world of open format DJ’ing.  He introduced me to lot of people who are doing this for a living. It was an eye-opening experience.  Also, in late 2013 I competed in won a DJ battle called Red Bull Thre3style.  Those experiences were both very instrumental in helping me realize I could do this full-time.

Ben: What’s it like working full time doing what you love as opposed to being a barista/DJ?
Scout: I always think of how blessed I am in that sense. I used to work for The Parade Company as a scenic artist.  We built floats for the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I enjoyed the job and my coworkers were all artists themselves so it was an inspiring environment.  However, it was very difficult to be at work at 8 AM during the week and then stay up until 4 AM on the weekends.  I would come home from The Parade during the week and try to prep for the weekend and fall asleep with my laptop in front of me.  I felt like I wasn’t able to do my best.  Now I can just focus on my main passion.

Ben: What’s the most difficult thing about your job that no one really knows?
Scout: Growing up I was very shy.  I didn’t like to have birthday parties because I didn’t like being the center of attention.  I think one of the most difficult things about my job has been learning to how to be the life of the party in a way that is natural for me and doesn’t feel forced.
Ben: What have been some of your favorite events/festivals?
Scout: Gan-Ban Night in Tokyo in 2008, Sonar Festival in 2009 in Barcelona and most recently Movement in Detroit just this year.

Ben: Do you think Southeastern Michigan is a good place for you professionally? Any place you’d rather be?
Scout: Southeastern Michigan feels right for me at this point.  I have a large family in this area so Metro Detroit will always be home but who knows what the future will hold!

Ben: Do you have any future plans? What’s next?
Scout: My next project is to create original material and see where that path leads.

 

Leon Loft

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