This week another Spun Academy associate joins the Hang the DJ ranks in the form of Clint Kuper. More a DJ of private events than the city's club scene, Kuper DJs full-time under his given name and kindly fills us in on the details of such an arrangement. We ask about MySpace as a promotional tool and he answers. He also explains how Serato has improved his game, talks about patrons who want to assist him at the decks and his kinship with DJ Nature.
How did you decide on your DJ name? What's your real name?
My name is Clint Kuper. No alias required. I am who I am!
As the Rapture say, "People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this" - how often do you encounter this?
Fortunately not much anymore! But there's always the haters that stand there holdin' up the wall. They just don't care that you're working hard to make the party. But if they want to watch the ladies dance that's their problem.
Or maybe a benefit. Ideal crowd?
People that are ready to hear a classic '80s cut one minute and hear a new cut turned on its ear the next minute!
How do you feel about requests?
Tip: If a DJ says "I'll look and see if I have it..." there's a pretty good chance it's not going into the rotation. Come with money, smile, consider what I'm already playing, and don't ask twice or more!
Do you have a story about a particular request or requester?
Oh man. Every weekend.
1) "Can I look through your records?" No...
2) "Can I make the wikki wikki sound?" Hell no.
3) "Can you let the whole song play instead of cutting it off?" It's not cutting it off...it's a mix.
4) "Yo man, can I play this track here?" Seriously?
5) And the always classic..."You should play (insert genre here)..." as you're totally playing something in there...
In regards to "Can I make the wikki wikki sound?," is that someone wanting you to make the sound or to make it themselves on your record as you DJ?
It's always someone who wants to try it while you're performing live.
Do you DJ full time? / What do you do outside of DJing?
I am lucky enough to do what I love full time, but it's not all fun and games. So much time is donated to marketing, practicing, digging for new music, and networking with other professionals in the industry. When you see me on Saturday night, it's a culmination of a lot of hard work and many hours of work. Time off is dedicated to family and my vintage scooters.
Where can we find you?
In addition to lots of private parties...I have occasional spots at places like The Chesterfield, Dirty—places like that. Check me out at MySpace for the updates.
How'd you get your current main gig?
Lots of networking and practice!
What do you consider your main gig?
I do a lot of private events. They have a lot less glory, but a lot more money. Club work is great because it doesn't pay much traditionally, but it gives you the legitimacy to throw out a much higher dollar amount at those high dollar corporate gigs and private parties that want the "club experience" brought to their party.
How instrumental do you think MySpace has been to your success as a DJ?
MySpace has been a great networking tool. It's a lot easier to meet other DJs and promoters. I have met people in the industry that I would have never been able to call on the phone, but easily messaged them through MySpace and made a valuable contact. It also helps you keep tabs on events that are happening, clubs opening, clubs closing, and lets you know where the rest of the talent in town is playing and what they are doing.
How long have you been spinning?
What drew you to DJing originally?
I hated the crap on the radio. But people are always going to want to listen to that. My goal has always been to sneak in a spoonful of sugar with the shovelful of shit. If I can present music in a new cool way and combine it with something great they've never heard before, [then] I did my job.
What are your thoughts on vinyl vs CDs vs laptops?
I'm a Serato with vinyl DJ. Serato has stepped up my game so much, and I think the DJ game in general. I can really appreciate the vinyl guys paying their dues and being frustrated by the pups sweeping through and doing it cleaner and better on a laptop than they can on vinyl. But it's unrealistic to expect a 16-year-old kid new to the game to go buy enough vinyl to rock a party. The price of vintage vinyl is crazy now, but my digital music collection is just as precious and valuable to me as any vinyl DJ collection. I have my own little secret corners of the internet I dig for music just like the vinyl guys have their own record stores they don't tell anyone about. I'm definitely not gonna take shit for using Serato. I can rock a party just as hard with Serato as any vinyl DJ. Bring it.
In terms of Serato stepping up your game, what were you using before?
I started with CD players and then switched to a laptop/turntable interface a few years later.
What songs will we find ourselves dancing to with you?
[I] love the blends. Been mixing the Scissor Sisters with Whitney Houston. The new Estelle "American Boy" track. A blend of Harry Belafonte's "Shake Shake Senora" mixed with the Ying Yang Twins "Shake." I could go on and on. It always depends on the party and the vibe. Changes every night. Whatever rocks the party.
How would you describe yourself in five words or less—complete sentence or not:
As the old TLC would say: crazy, sexy, cool. Just kidding. Sorta...
How do you describe the genre you play?
Hip-hop, Top 40, Party Rock...
Who are your other favorite Portland DJs?
DJ Nature is at the top of the list for sure. In addition to being a big mover and shaker in the PDX/Seattle markets, he is an amazing networker and is one of the few in the game that I have met that is not scared to share his skills and ideas. Thanks Nature! Lady Adie, Keys, Gray Matter, Stray, FlipFlop, Mani...all homies. All great DJs. Check them all out!
How did you originally meet DJ Nature?
I met Nature at a weekly he was doing at the Chesterfield about a year ago with Evil One. I had looked him up on MySpace and dug all of his remixes and mixtapes. A hookup at Spun Academy actually introduced us. I just kept showing up at his events and he would be gracious enough let me drop a few tracks here and there or cover for him for a night at some great parties. Again... never scared to share. For a newer DJ, those opportunities mean the world to us. I can only hope to pass it on someday...
Photo care of Myspace