Every once in a while, I come across a DJ who draws me in and captivates me. Not only with his or her skill but also their knowledge of music. Once in a blue moon I will find a duo that does just this. Not only are they two of my favorite DJs, they are also two of the funniest people I know. So hop aboard this crazy ship as I introduce you to DJs StoneRokk and Graham Funke — The Captains of Industry.
Summer Altice: Both of you have prided yourselves on being from the vinyl era of deejaying. I think of that as a dying art...you have kept it alive. Is it hard? Have these advances in technology helped or hurt the industry?
The Captains of Industry: The advent of a digital approach to deejaying is a curse and a blessing. Having been through the ordeal of traveling with cases of records, it is certainly nice to not only limit our necessities to simply a laptop, but also have access to thousands of songs as opposed to whichever 300 vinyls we chose to fly with. The downside, of course, is that somebody who wishes to be a DJ can now download a few songs and think they are prepared for an immense task: taking a crowd through the motions. There are no better training grounds than to have lived through the vinyl era; by the time you had amassed enough records to work an entire night, you would have spent that period in your bedroom honing the craft. Unfortunately, that process is out the window these days.
Altice: As a DJ from what some would call the "digital era," I look to DJs like you as pioneers. Can you tell me how you both got started?
The Capts: Without delving into these aspirational stories that serve as great conversation pieces regarding what caught our eye, suffice it to say that there was no money and no fame when we began this journey, which leaves only the love of records and the love of deejaying as the root of it. You couldn't turn rich and you couldn't turn famous back when...you could only turn cool.
Altice: Who are inspirations to you? Who do you look up to?
Funke: It certainly wouldn't be from the DJ world, though I respect most in my peer group. I've always adhered to the motto of "Let your worldview influence your deejaying, not your deejaying influence your worldview." That said, for inspiration I look to icons like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anton Szandor LaVey, Robert Evans, Bob Guccione, Roger Vadim, Ernest Tidyman and even my old man, (multiple Oscar-winner) Alex Funke.
StoneRokk: Rodney Stone always said, "Don't be the smartest person in the room; you will never learn anything." I try to surround myself constantly with people who stimulate me and help me grow as a person, which will translate into better art.
Altice: What are your favorite recent gigs?
The Capts: As part of the new Red Bull DJ Collective, the powers that be brought us to Salzburg, Austria to deejay their annual party. This is a beautiful and ancient city, the birthplace of Mozart, and a perfect mesh of tradition and modernization. And with a population of only 150K, if you drop a $4-billion company like Red Bull in there among the castles, who do you think runs the town? It was an amazing time with great people who were open to our experimenting with music formats.
Altice: What is your favorite song to work into a set on any given night?
Funke: "Looking at the Front Door" by Main Source. Request it and I'm yours.
StoneRokk: R. Kelly, "Bump n’ Grind," which will always precede a wicked slow jam/grown ’n sexy set.
Altice: What do you expect from newer DJs?
The Capts: You can no longer expect anything; you can only hope for the best. We'd love to see a grander respect for the legacy ofthe job. We urge aspiring DJs to take the time to learn how it got to this point. We seem to be living in a disposable age where people aren't trying to create ageless albums but rather sell lots of ringtones, and it's easy to get caught up in that mentality. But if you really love something, and this doesn't just apply to deejaying, then it's necessary to research it so you can not only be aware of your current position in the pantheon but also focus on how you would like to leave your mark, how you would like to affect this thing.
Altice: If you could tell your 12-year-old self something, what would it be?
Funke: Relax, you're not curing cancer here.
StoneRokk: Follow through on medical school; let’s see if that is any better than what I am doing now.
Altice: What advice do you have for a young kid that wants to be a DJ?
The Capts: Originate, don't duplicate. Amass the knowledge and skills so you can carve out your own lane.
Altice: Where are the hottest women?
The Capts: Loaded question. Next....
Altice: Who is your favorite Playmate?
The Capts: That's another tough one. Do you go with the Playmate that made an impact when you were stealing looks at the stack of Playboys in your dad's closet or do you choose the one that really caught your eye once you knew what you were doing in life or is it the one you met and had a rapport with? Being huge Beverly Hills, 90210 fans, we would probably gravitate towards Julie McCullough, who appeared in the episode "Slumber Party" and took Steve Sanders' Corvette for a joyride. And we told her as much one day at the Palms Casino a few years back...
Altice: You both were recently judges for the Red Bull Thre3style contest; what upcoming DJ do you both like best?
The Capts: Of the Thre3styles we have either judged or observed, it would be impossible to choose one guy. Everybody had their strong points. We're just excited that there is a forum like this that covers the fundamentals of the job. It has surpassed any other way to showcase what is required of a DJ, but more importantly, what a DJ is capable of.
Bottom line here is, these are two of the most engaging DJs I know. Not only do they bring the knowledge, but they are also humorous and have a cult following like no other. They are real DJs with a masterful display of technique. I have always been a fan, and I suggest you all check them out when they come to a city near you. When they do play, you will find me rocking out at the side of the stage, not only as a friend, but also as a huge fan.
Check out their website. It is one of the best I’ve seen yet!
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 deejay 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.