For the past two days we’ve taken a look at the life and journey of DJ Charlie White. In today’s final installment of his three-part interview, we dive into his production work and find out what’s next for the up-and-coming DJ/producer.
Part 3: Process in Progress
When you create a mix, do you come up with a theme first and build around it or do you piece together samples you like until it starts taking shape? Roughly how long does the process take from start to finish?
Usually I like to start with a concept. Having a concept for the direction of the mix helps me figure out where I really want to head with it. It could be something as simple as a tribute to one of my favorite rappers, or a collection of songs from the Grammy nominees, like I did back in February. I don’t usually know what songs I want to use until I really sit down and figure out what is the goal of the mix. I’ll spend a good day’s work on making sure the songs flow together.
If you were creating a Halloween mix, which songs would you include?
I think the safe Halloween mix from a DJ would of course include “Thriller“. I might take it a little creepier. It might not necessarily be the best dance friendly mix, but I would incorporate some of the hardcore Hip Hop songs. I think I would include songs such as Geto Boys “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” or Eminem’s “Stan”. If you dive deep into Hip Hop there is a lot of paranoia there. That would be my concept right there!
You have released a variety of mixes from the “No Days Off” series to tributes to B.I.G., the Wu-Tang Clan, and most recently Tupac. Over the summer you released “The Last Crate” which has that signature hip hop/soul vibe we’ve grown accustomed to in your previous work; however this one’s an instrumental. Why did you decide to go that route this time around? Do you think you’ll do another instrumental mix in the future?
To me, “The Last Crate” was basically my debut instrumental album. It was different than my other mixes because the instrumentals used were ones that I produced over the last year or so. I decided instead of initially breaking up the tracks, that I would create a DJ mix for the listener to stream. I wanted the listener to push play from the top of the project and let it ride all the way out. I was trying to give it that vinyl feel. What better way to do that than to mix it together using turntables. I definitely have plans on releasing another instrumental mix. It’s actually inspired me to possibly do a tribute mix for a legendary producer. We will see.
What would we find on your daily playlist right now?
In my playlist right now some Kendrick Lamar. I cannot wait for that album! My friend Judo just dropped off the Elle Varner album. I’m looking forward to the 4th quarter releases. There should be some good stuff dropping. I’ve recently been jamming a lot of Isley Brothers. I know that’s random.
You have created remixes of songs from up-and-comers like Ellie Goulding and The Weeknd. What other new artists should we have our ear out for?
Remixes are fun to make. It’s like sampling. You are putting your spin on certain song. I’m not quite sure who I’m going to remix next. A few of the remixes I dropped this year, were decided the morning I created them! I tend to get inspired when I’m organizing my music library or downloading new music.
Previously you have produced for FreeSol, Skewby, and Al Kapone. Which other artists would you love to collab with in the future?
Having moved to Memphis and worked with some of the best talent here is a blessing. I’m currently about to embark on a tour with DJ Crumbz. We are doing a few colleges around the Mid South this fall. Our setup is a 2 man x 4 turntable rig. It’s going to be fun to watch. I’m excited for the next few months. I’m doing a lot of work with Red Bull at the moment. I’m headed down to perform a few shows at the A3C Hip Hop festival in Atlanta. That should be a good time. As far as collaborations, I’m a huge fan of Miike Snow. I would love to work with them. Dillon Francis would be cool as well.
What is the status of FreeSol? Are you and the guys still with Tennman Records? Is the debut album ready to go or is it on hold while you each pursue other avenues?
The band members of FreeSol are some of my closest friends. They are some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met in my life. When you deal with labels, you aren’t in control of everything. Even with all the music complete, sometimes the control you have is limited. I think touring with them is one of the best learning experiences. They taught me to break out of my shell. As I mentioned earlier, it’s different to perform with a band than by yourself. You are playing with other musicians who really know and understand music. Those guys are family!