When the beat drops

  • Published
  • By Airman Miranda A. Loera
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Music has been around for ages. Before advanced technology and computers, musicians scratched and remixed tracks by hand using crates and turntables. While the preferred medium for playing music has slowly changed over time, from record players and tapes to laptops and iPods, the art of manually scratching and switching tracks has remained intact throughout the years. These sound experts are commonly known as disc jockeys or DJs.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base’s Make it Better program offers a club to help those interested in learning and advancing in the art of mixing. The DJ and Producers club also provides insight on the basic fundamentals and the evolution of a turntable.

Staff Sgt. Eric Prince, 4th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion technician, is in charge of the club. He began mixing eight years ago and can still recall the first time he came in contact with a turntable.

“I don’t remember where I was stationed, but I was hanging with another Airman and he showed me his turntable,” Prince said. “At that moment, I knew this was going to be something I would enjoy.”

In addition to Prince, the club is run by two other Airmen who enjoy sharing their knowledge to interested people.

Prince said the club focuses on the basic fundamentals for newer members. These basics include the history, different functions of a turntable, and differences between mixing on a turntable versus a computer. As club member’s skills increase, the club offers opportunities to network around the area, including DJing at squadron and off-base functions.

Prince said he’s had the opportunity to DJ at numerous high school proms, as well as every week at the Kitty Hawk Lounge on base.

“I like to DJ at the Kitty Hawk because it allows me to play a wide variety of music,” said Prince. “Some weeks it is Latin night and other week’s country. It gives me the opportunity to appeal to different crowds.” 

 Staff Sgt. Jonathan Gambrell, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron supply liaison, serves as one of the group’s instructors and has been mixing for six years.

Gambrell said their goal is ultimately to allow people to come out and enjoy the music and sounds as much as they do.

“We enjoy having new people come out and give it a try,” said Gambrell. “We cater to every type of music genre, from country to rock. At our club we help to teach the different ways to transition different rock songs or even reggae.”

Although the club focuses on turntables and computer beats, Gambrell said the equipment is not a requirement.

“As long as there is positivity and a will to learn we are willing to use our own equipment,” said Gambrell.

Along with turntables, mixing and scratching beats, the club also focuses on the production aspect of music. Prince said there has been so much interest in the producing, they actually have branched out, and are currently in the process of forming a new producing club.

“Producing is actually a big part in music,” Prince said. “I love mixing music, but it’s nice to put your own little spin, and that’s exactly what the producers help me achieve.”

The DJ and Producers club meets every Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Eagles Landing Ballroom.

“If there is anybody else that is really interested and  wants to join, all I ask is come out and give us a chance to show you how much we love and care for music,” Prince said. “We will teach you whatever we know to the best of our ability. We’re all about pushing people forward. DJing is an art; a passion.”