On a Thursday night, with my friend Larry in town from Toronto, I decided to go out after a nice dinner with my girls. I haven’t been out since before my foot surgery in March, so I was eager to stop by my dear friend Rob Vinokur’s club in Hollywood, Playhouse. It was SKAM artist DJ night, always a fun time. As a music lover and a hip-hop girl at heart, I’m always happy to walk into a club and hear an open-format DJ playing hip-hop. But this DJ was killing it! I had to go meet him, so Rob walked me up and introduced me to DJ Ross One. He spins on turntables and has such a great vibe and flow. I was instantly impressed, so naturally I had to interview him and introduce him to all of you that don’t know him.
Altice: When did you start deejaying?
Ross One: I got my first set of turntables and mixer when I was 16, for my birthday, but I was just sort of messing around trying to scratch. When I went to college, around 18 — that’s when I started getting more serious about it.
Altice: What equipment do you prefer?
Ross One: Technics turntables, I usually use a Pioneer mixer. Technics headphones, usually.
Altice: Are you finding it difficult to fight with switching to CDJs?
Ross One: I don’t play on CDJs. It’s really hard to deejay hip-hop music on CDs. It's a lot easier with house music because the tempo is a lot more constant in house. Doing a lot more open format and more hip-hop, you want to be able to move faster and turntables are better for that. It’s also easier to manipulate things if you need to change the pitch quickly or go between genres. It’s what I learned on, too.
Altice: What is your favorite place to play?
Ross One: Well, right now I have great residencies in Miami and Las Vegas. I love traveling, I love going to Europe and Asia, and probably on a regular basis the best clubs I get to play are LIV in Miami and Tao in Vegas.
Altice: If you had to choose between Vegas and Miami, nightlife-wise, which would you choose?
Ross One: That’s a tough one. Vegas has more of a transient tourist population and Miami has a more local base. It’s hard to choose. The numbers are bigger in Vegas, but in Miami it’s a different vibe. A little sexier.
Altice: I feel like the open format/hip-hop style of deejaying is getting lost in clubs, in Vegas especially, and it’s become so much more EDM-focused…do you find that to be an issue?
Ross One: Electronic music is definitely in fashion right now in the big clubs. Those things come and go in waves. I think the open-format guys manage to stay successful through the electronic push and are a huge asset to clubs because we will be able to adapt as the sound of the moment comes in and goes out. The last year, I've started playing a lot more hip-hop and taken it back in that direction because I think the dance music is getting a bit repetitive and a lot of people are sick of going to a club and only hearing one style of music.
Altice: I absolutely agree!
Ross One: Most fun parties I deejay tend to go in the hip-hop direction. Personally, I have a lot more fun playing hip-hop as well. But as an open-format DJ in the clubs we cater to the crowds so we find a way to have our own individual sound while also playing what people want to hear.
Altice: Where do think are the hottest women?
Ross One: New York, definitely.
Altice: Do you think the advances in technology have hurt or helped the DJ world…or both?
Ross One: It’s a really complicated question because it made deejaying a lot easier and it made traveling a lot easier, but in terms of as a craft, it hurt it. No question about that. In terms of there being DJs I actually care about seeing, it pretty much killed it.
Altice: What do you think should be done differently in the DJ world right now? Anything that should change?
Ross One: I think it follows popular culture and what people want. As DJs grow in popularity and grow into artists on their own, our job has always been to cater to the people. I’m more about playing songs that get the best reaction. I think it needs to not be so much about breaking new music as it is about having a good time with your friends, listening to music.
That said, I am always excited to hear new stuff, but as far as doing something different, I think the push for electronic music lately has been really monetarily focused for the clubs, and some are really giving in because of the clientele it brings and things like that. And that’s fine because the job of the club is to make money, but I definitely miss a really good hip-hop party.
Altice: What are your favorite recent gigs?
Ross One: My Wednesday residency at LIV Miami is always a packed house. For most DJs the highlight of their year would be doing that party; I get to do it every week. As well, the parties I’ve done with Jay Z at Tao; that was really fun. I’m really lucky to have those clubs support me.
Altice: Any advice for a kid growing up that wants to be a DJ?
Ross One: Put in the work. Whether it’s a $50 gig, a $100 gig or free, it’s about putting the work in, getting to know the craft. I took so long before I had any success as a DJ and it was really years and years of doing those small gigs. Just grind it out and treat it like a job and go out there every day and work hard. It will pay off.
DJ Ross One has been in the DJ game for some time, and it’s clear by his skill and ability to rock a club that he will be around for a long time to come. I will definitely be traveling to Miami soon to catch him at LIV. I suggest you do the same.
You can catch DJ Ross One’s schedule at www.djrossone.com
A big thank-you to his management www.skamartist.com
About the Author
Playmate Summer Altice first graced Playboy magazine pages in 2000. Since then there has been no stopping the multi-talented Altice: actress, model, business owner and for over six years, popular DJ. Much in demand for her DJ skills, Altice currently travels the world playing shows. To book her for your next event please visit summeraltice.com. Make sure to follow her on Twitter @SummerAltice.