Bay Boy Bill
has come a long way since he first began
making mixed tapes to fuel his breakdancing
craze. In 2000, he popped up as #84 in
a poll conducted by BPM Magazine for best
American DJ, in 2001 he jumped up a few
spaces to #40, then in 2001 he suddenly
was #4 and currently, he is BPM's #1 DJ
Since the age of 14 he has astounded
crowds and critics alike with his mesmerizing
blend of house, hip hop and hard house.
His style is unique and unlike any other.
He is known for Banging tracks faster
than you can imagine, throwing track on
top of track turning the most simple and
standard house groove into a hypnotic
blend of songs that keep the dance floor
bumpin' all night!
Born in Chicago, and thrust into the
house music scene, BBB has been at it
for years. From the earliest days as a
DJ, he competed in DJ spinoffs constantly
and still does to this day. While his
reasons for doing it might have changed
a bit over the years, the reason the crowds
hover to him has not. He won competition
after competition, but says he got his
first real "lucky" break when
he met Farley Jackmaster Funk from Chicago's
infamous radio station WBMX. It was he
who gave BBB his first radio broadcast
gig, and things just snowballed from there.
On top of being a #1 ranked American
DJ and performing up to 150 gigs annually,
Bill is also a very successful producer
and songwriter, working with artists like
Donald Glaude, Carl Cox and Richard Humpty
Visson. Bad Boy Bill has numerous mixed
CD compilations out, with the most popular
being the acclaimed Banging The Box series.
His second 2xCD mixed set, "Behind
the Decks", hit the shelves September
23rd, and is a unique project in that
it also contains a two hour DVD made using
5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and DTS. This
combination of media represents what seeing
Bill is like live, a mind blowing mix
of music and stunning visuals that remind
you that he didn't get to #1 for nothing!
Despite his far-out schedule, we were
still able to grab an online interview
from Bill while he was out on the road
promoting Behind the Decks. In it, we
gain a little insight on what to expect
from this veteran turntabilist's latest
release, and a little glimpse into the
life and parties of the DON JUAN OF THE
have said many times that you started
to spin at the early age of 14, I heard
you were breakdancing back then as well...
did that help you get into spinning?
Bad Boy Bill: I used
to get the music and make the tapes for
our crew to break to... I loved doing
both, but I really loved putting the music
You have credited your success in
part to the big break you got from Farley
Jackmaster Funk who gave you your first
broadcast gig. How did you hook up with
him and get that spot on the radio?
I used to be a promoter, throwing our own events and hiring guys from the
radio like Farley and Julian Perez. We became friends with them and one day,
when I was with Julian, went to my friend Mike Hitman Wilson's house and
Farley was there... Mike had been telling Farley about me and that I was
a good dj, and Farley asked me to spin.
So in front of all three of them (Julian,
Farley, and Mike), I had to start mixing.
I was scratching, doing tricks, and blending
from one song to the next... After a little
while he stopped me and said, "you're
on the radio next week, make a tape for
the station" and just like that I was
on WGCI, one of the biggest stations in
You've been competing in DJ spin
offs from your very first days of spinning.
What gave you the confidence to go out
there like that? What is your motivation
to continue competing?
When I first started spinning, it was all about battling. You had to prove
that you were better than the next dj, and it was very competitive. I
stopped battling a long time ago, but I give so much credit to the guys that
have taken the art of turntablism to where it is now. It blows me away when
I see what these guys can do behind the decks... It is a completely
different thing than what I am doing now. Battling is an art, and a show of
skill, not necessarily what is best to get people dancing, which is my main
I often hear the term "turntable
gymnastics" when people speak of you And
your live shows. How would you define
your style of spinning?
I have no idea what they mean by that... I do incorporate some scratching
and tricks into my dj sets, I also like
to have two copies of every record I play
so I can play the best parts of the song,
or get to the break faster...But Gymnastics???
Hmmm....You got me on that one...
Your style is very unique in that
I have only heard a few others that have
similarities, namely DJ Irene and RHV,
have you always "banged tracks" this fast
or did you evolve into this style over
My style is constantly evolving... I feel that certain songs are meant to
let play, others are too monotonous to listen to for 8 minutes, so I get in
and out of them faster; There is no set pattern, its just a feeling I get
when listening to a song. If a song starts to bore me, I get out of it
Faster, and If its building and goes somewhere I will let it play longer...
I read that you play an average
of 150 gigs annually all over the country,
what is life like on the road?
An adventure! Its always different, and you have to be ready for delays,
lost bags, bad food etc... but when you get in front of that crowd and they
are cheering and dancing and are so excited to hear you play, it makes it
all worth while...
How do you keep up your energy with
all that traveling, like do you have rituals
you do before you perform?
I try to sleep whenever I can. I am good at sleeping on planes, in cars,
and the only ritual I have is drinking a lot of water. That keeps me
feeling good, except when I have to use the bathroom in the middle of my
In an interview with Eventvibe.com,
you were quoted as saying that your dream
gig would be to play the Playboy Mansion.
Have you gotten there yet? Would that
still be your dream gig?
I haven't gotten there yet... Hopefully
Are there other places you haven't
played yet that you would really like
Australia... Japan... Brazil... Italy. Those are a few places that I would
love to spin.
I remember you from playing Club
Ultra in Downtown San Diego a few years
back, you seemed to know EVERYONE from
the club managers, promoters, even the
clubbers. Is that how you are in most
of the places you spin?
I have been in the game a long time, so I am lucky to have a lot of friends
in different cities. That is one of the best things about dj'ing, being
able to travel, experience new cultures, make new friends and meet new
BEHIND THE DECKS
On your website there is a gap in
between 2001 and your latest new double
mixed CD set and DVD, "Behind the Decks."
What was the reason for that?
I wasn't really happy with the way the mix cd market was getting flooded by
mix cd after mix cd, and so I really focused on making my live show better.
I worked with some amazing visual artists to create a new dj experience with
music and visuals. I then began recording a lot of my shows, and building
up visual content, and I wanted to do something more than what had been done
with a mix cd. Behind The Decks is my answer to what the mix cd needs to
evolve to - a complete audio/visual experience. It took a long time because
I wanted it to be a quality project and I wanted to give the people
something more than they would expect. I wanted them to have the full live
Bad Boy Bill DJ experience that they can bring to their home and enjoy
whenever they want.
With BTD were you trying to give
listeners an idea of what seeing you live
was like, or what was the concept? How
did you accomplish that in the studio?
Yes. In the studio we used 5.1 surround sound technology so the music is
all around you. Combine that with the visuals you will be seeing and you
are in the middle of a complete audio visual experience!
What type of equipment did you use
to put together BTD? Anything new from
your Banging The Box series?
I used a Pro Tools HD3 system... Loaded
with plug ins... I used the standard two
turntables, a Pioneer DJM 600 mixer, 2-CDJ
1000 CD Turntables... What is different
from the bangin the box series is we have
never done 5.1 surround sound mixing,
and we also used DTS encoding which sounds
What was it like doing a mix for
5.1 Surround Sound?
It was a completely new experience.
You now have 6 speakers to send audio
to. Most of the time you are only using
a song that has a normal stereo Mix, but
Because I multitrack my mixes and overdub
scratches, accapellas, and sound efx's,
I have the ability to pan these things
to different speakers and create an experience
with sound coming at you from all angles.
It was a lot of fun, and a learning experience
You produced a few original tracks
on your acclaimed "Banging the Box" series...
are there any on BTD?
Yes... I have a song called "Freq'd", "Costa Del Sol", "Happy", and a track
I did with Hatiras called "Rockstar".
What do you enjoy about making music
I like putting visuals to music. A lot of people have tried to say dance
music doesn't have a face and that is why it doesn't receive mainstream
exposure. That is total crap, because if you've been overseas you will see
dance videos all day long on MTV, and I think its important for US artists
to push that medium ahead and keep putting that face to dance.
Of the videos you've made, which
has been your favorite and why?
I really like the video we did for Behind The Decks. It was directed by
Rick Kim who is an amazing director. It was originally shot to another song
I had co-produced, but we re-edited the video for Behind The Decks, and I
think it works wonderfully. Rich is so creative because he tells a story
through the video, and it makes a lot more interesting to watch then random
Sometimes funny things happen when
you're trying to shoot a difficult scene
or club scenes do you have any funny
or bizarre stories from any of the videos
I remember in Bangin The Box V4 I was walking out of an elevator while
wheeling my record box behind me. I made it out of the elevator, but my
record box got stuck by the closing elevator doors. It was funny, and you
see my friends start cracking up laughing, so we kept the scene, and its in
What role do you play in the creative
process for making your music videos?
It varies, sometimes I just do what
I'm told. Stand here, do this, get behind
the turntables and mix. Other times I
help with everything from ideas to casting
to catering... It all depends...
What made you decide to do a DVD
I wanted to take everything to another level. If you're not growing you're
dying. You have to constantly challenge yourself, and expand on what you
are doing. My live show had a completely original intro, and visuals
throughout my set. I wanted to bring that experience to the audience in
something they could take home with them. Plus with CD copying and
downloading running rampant throughout the music industry, I thought instead
of bitch about it, give the consumer more value. Make it so they find so
much value in your product they wouldn't want the downloaded version. They
would actually want the DVD, they would want the surround sound etc...Give
the people more than they expect is what I believe.
Do you already know what your next
project will be?
I am working on my artist album. I would
like to get a couple more 12"s out in
Any final words to the readers out
Thanks for reading, and thanks for all
your support... I really appreciate it!
Hope to see you at a live event soon!
-- written by Annalee Stone