Hip-Hop: An Interview with DJ John Gotem

image1-3When working on events you meet tons of people. Some people you will see over and over and others come and go. When people mention artists, they’re often referring to the rappers or singers. I personally believe anyone who is part of the show is a artist in some way shape or form. There are many people who come into play and a talented DJ is very important when it comes to a show. After all they are spinning all of the music and also have to play close attention to detail to help make sure everything runs smoothly. Over the past year there has been one name that stuck out to me throughout the music scene day in and out: DJ John Gotem.

This past week I had a talk with Gotem over the phone about music in general and possible collaborations on future shows. He always has a positive attitude, he is reliable and very easy to work with on shows.

Spocka Summa: Where are you from?

John Gotem: I was born and raised in Woonsocket.

SS: When did you start DJing ?

JG: I started getting into it around ’95 and really got my hands on equipment in ’96 and ’97.

SS: What is your role as a DJ?

JG: The DJ is the backbone. I feel I’m in control of the crowd when I’m on stage. I can take the crowd anywhere I want. I can make them dance or I can make them head nod. I can break new tracks. I can create music with scratching.

SS: How do you set yourself apart from other DJs ?

JG: I have put in many years of hard work and dedication. I can battle DJs, I can make mixes, I can scratch, make beats, do clubs and private events. I can play almost any genre. I’m very well-rounded. Being well-rounded is huge  because it gives you more opportunities and makes you a better DJ, musician and person.

SS: What inspired you to become a DJ?

JG: What first inspired me was hip-hop, then I saw the movie Juice and “Q” was killing it in the movie and it blew my mind. I started buying Funk Master Flex and DJ Scribble mix tapes, and I would play them over and over again. My mom in ’96 bought me the ’95 DMC world finals. That was the year Roc Raida won (RIP). He blew my mind how he took songs that I liked and made new beats out of them by going back and forth. Qbert and Mix Master Mike did a showcase on that VHS tape and it just blew my mind and from that point on I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I had to practice 8 hours a day for years to get to where I wanted to be skill wise.

SS: If you could be on tour with anyone who would it be?

JG: Tough question because there are so many. For DJs, Invisible Skratch Piklz, X-Ecutioners, Beat Junkies, For Endless, Rakim, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Ludacris. I would love to travel with a jazz band and incorporate DJing and a band.

SS: What are your future plans to expand your brand?

JG: I plan on entering the DMC DJ battles again. I wanna win so bad! I also want to get back into more production. I would like to start traveling the world, rocking parties and doing routines in the very near future. I also work behind the scenes with inmusic brand-testing gear, doing demos and giving feedback. It’s an honor and very humbling that people like what I do enough to ask my feedback. So to the Numark team — Fred Da Great and Othello — those guys believe in me enough to make me a part of their extended family over there at inmusic. I also want to work with a few major artists in the near future .

SS: Any advice for someone starting off?

JG: Practice, practice, practice is the only way. Never stop, no matter how bad it sounds in the beginning. It can be frustrating, but the only way to succeed is to practice. When I was growing up, I didn’t have YouTube and DJ schools that are now everywhere. They make affordable gear. If you don’t have the funds you can always buy a portable set-up. Numark is dropping the pt01 scratch next week for $130. Get a blue tooth speaker a few 7-inch scratch records and you’re scratching for 250 bucks. Make sure you stay inspired and learn but NEVER be a biter. Put your own personality to your skills and you will succeed.

SS: Where can people find you?

JG: All my social media links are  @djjohngotem. My website is coming soon at johngotem.com.

Being a artist is not all about the rapper or singer. Art can come in many different forms and be presented through various platforms. Keep an eye out for art on a daily basis and always support your locals. One of DJ John Gotem’s upcoming shows is November 18 @ The Met in Pawtucket with upcoming artist Azizi Gibson and me.

For updates follow me on Twitter / Instagram: @iSpocka; Concert updates: SummerEightyEight.com

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