The Seattle native and current Las Vegas resident DJ Tina T is more than just an ordinary club deejay. She can create remixes, produce songs, she can spin on vinyl and digital systems like all the rest but let’s not forget her side project as the director of Camp Spin Off, a deejay summer camp for kids thirteen to seventeen. She takes her passion for music and deejaying and allows other kids to get hooked much in the same way she did thirteen years ago. I got the chance to catch up with DJ Tina T on the phone last week.
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Tina became a deejay almost by accident. While sitting at a friend’s house one afternoon she noticed a set of turntables. Her friend showed her a few basic things to keep her occupied for the afternoon and that was all it took, the seed was planted. After noticing her affinity for the turntables her same friend invited her to a deejay battle, “once I got there I saw that there was an actual community of deejays and they had competitions. It was a whole world that I got opened up to. After that I got to meet some of the deejays in the battle and they invited me to come practice with them and then I was done,” Tina explained. She continued to practice with them on the many turntables set up in their basement until the day she left for college.
While in college DJ Tina T was studying marketing by day and deejaying frat parties by night. It was there at all the parties that she began making her transition into the party rocking club deejay that she is known as today. Towards the end of her college career after taking countless marketing courses and not getting the marketing job of her dreams with RedBull Tina came to the realization that she could market herself as a deejay instead. Tina made the bold decision to move to Los Angeles, “I went full on, gung-ho,” she explained. “That was the best time, I didn’t have anything to lose. I was just graduating. It was a little scary, I slept on peoples couches in LA for months. I definitely did not get gigs for a good year. I was working odd jobs and just trying to get by. I would take every opportunity I could to get on the turntables even if it was like an open mic or anything,” said Tina.
Now, 13 years later, after all the frat parties, odd jobs and open mic nights DJ Tina has been voted Las Vegas’ Best Female Deejay of 2010 and 2011. Don’t expect her to sit back and relax though, “I think my next goal– as much as I’m honored to have an award for the best female DJ I would love to get an award for just Best DJ. I would love to one day be able to lift that anchor, that tag. I’m all about supporting and representing the ladies and girl power but I’m also all about seeing it become an equal playing field where it’s not just about because you’re a girl or good for a girl. I just want to be looked at as an equal. I’ve paid my dues and I’ve been doing it for so long. Sometimes you just get sick of being separated out from everyone else when you you’ve put in just as much work.”
A few years ago Tina decided to share her love of deejaying with others by founding Camp Spin Off, “I started the camp three years ago. I had taken a lot of my experience from doing events and marketing and combined it together with all my memories growing up, going to summer camps as a kid, and my passion for deejaying. I meshed them together with a lot of contacts that I have in the industry that were able to sponsor the camp and even make it happen. It was just the perfect opportunity to pull in everything together, said Tina. The kids spend a week away at a summer camp where they stay in log cabins but instead of swimming and arts n’ crafts they learn the art of deejaying, “It’s all kids that are really passionate and energetic about deejaying. They learn how to make beats, remix music. They learn on vinyl but they also learn digital deejaying. We want them to leave with a well rounded knowledge of all aspects of deejaying,” she said.
DJ Tina has her fair share of guilty pleasures like the rest of us including listening to oldies music in the shower, love songs in the car and post-party snacking, “I do every Friday at Marquee in Las Vegas and I get done at about 4 in the morning. Deejaying can really work up an appetite when you’re playing until that early in the morning. Every time I finish I’m starving and I go straight to Jack-in-the-Box and get a kids meal with chicken strips, fries and milk. Religiously. The guy knows my voice. As soon as he hears my voice he finishes my order for me. That’s how bad it is.”
When asked about deejays that she admires DJ Tina T answers promptly without any hesitation: DJ AM, “People gravitated towards him. His creativity; I feel like his mind just worked in a different way. He thought of things that no one thought of. He also just rode that fine line– he was a turntablist with the real hip hop scene and battle DJs but he was also a commercial, club, Hollywood DJ as well. He was a DJ’s DJ. Everyone respected him,” said Tina.
If you’re planning on taking a vacation to Mexico this Spring you might find DJ Tina T spinning at Club Med resorts otherwise you can find her at Marquee in Las Vegas on Friday nights. Be sure to check out Camp Spin Off at www.campspinoff.com.Follow @RosaB213