Q&A with DJ ROSS ONE Talks Going From Record Store Clerk To Globe Trotting DJ
Posted On 06 Jan 2016
Tag: 911 is a Joke, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Artist, Artist Interview, Beyonce, Brazil, Diddy, disc jockey, DJ, DJ Ross One, Drake, Drizzy, Fashion Week, Fear of a Black Planet, Fetty Wap, France, Future, Hip Hop, Hova, Interview, iTunes, Japan, Jay-Z, Kanye, Kanye West, mixtape, Music, music intervidw, Nas, New York, New York City, Nicole DeRosa, NYC, P Diddy, Paris, Paris Fashion Week, Paul Simon, Pointer Sisters, Powerhouse, Powerhouse Books, Premier Hip Hop Party, Prince, Public Enemy, Puff Daddy, Puffy, Quartersnacks.com, Rap, rap music, Rap Tees, Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip-Hop T-Shirts, Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip-Hop T-Shirts 1980-1999, Rihanna, Rio de Janeiro, Roc Nation, Ross One, Ross Schwartzman, Skam Artists, Snoop, Snoop Dogg, Souncloud, Spotify, The Pointer Sisters, Tina Turner, Tokyo, Tokyo’s Premier Hip Hop Party, www.Quartersnacks.com
DJ ROSS ONE got his start in Cincinnati, Ohio, where a then 13-year old Ross Schwartzman became transfixed with the depiction of DJ’ing in the movie Juice. From that fateful first viewing, Ross was hooked to the sounds and aesthetic of the hip-hop DJ.
High school and college meant unpaid jobs at record stores where the salary was store credit and first pick of the new arrivals. The pursuit of a masters degree in photography, along with the search for bigger and better parties lead Ross to New York City. He quickly became a fixture at New York’s best venues, known for combining his knowledge of classic funk, soul and disco with new hip hop and dance music.
His unique sound caught the ears of artists like Prince, who invited Ross to join him on tour to DJ his private after parties. He began jetting back and forth between New York, Brazil and Miami, where he launched Favela Chic, a weekly party that merged the sounds of Rio De Janeiro with the attitude of a New York DJ and fused them together with the energy of Miami bass music to create something entirely fresh and unique (naturally, it became known as the best party in Miami). Currently, Ross is considered one of the top Open Format DJ’s in the country, traveling nearly 200,000 miles a year.
He is a resident DJ at mur.mur in Atlantic City, LIV in Miami, 1OAK in New York City, Bijou in Boston, and Drais in Las Vegas. He was recently signed to Jay Z‘s management company Roc Nation. From Paris Fashion Week to Tokyo’s Premier Hip Hop Party to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro and every city in between, Ross has earned the reputation as the go-to DJ for the world’s top venues and events.
Whether DJ’ing alongside Rihanna and Kanye West, playing events for clients like Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret and Maxim, or being called upon to DJ the private MTV VMA parties for Puffy and Jay Z, Ross always knows the key ingredients to a perfect play list – resulting in everyone’s favorite party.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with the uber busy DJ ROSS ONE between gigs and a book tour for his coffee table book, Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip-Hop T-Shirts 1980-1999, a unique collection of over 500 of the rarest vintage hip-hop t-shirts. You can purchase the book here . Enjoy their chat below!
Hey there DJ Ross! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Book stuff. Making sure a few specialty stores have copies for the holidays, etc. I also just put out a mixtape with my friends at Quartersnacks.com so I’ve been promoting that all day.
From an unpaid job at a record store to catching the ear of the one and only, Prince, who invited you on tour to DJ his private after parties and from Paris Fashion Week to Tokyo’s Premier Hip Hop Party to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro…for those that are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
I just loved hip hop from an early age, and when I started DJing I really got into the original samples that my favorite hip hop artists were using to make their beats. From there I turned my attention more to collecting soul, funk, disco, etc. It wasn’t until years later that I started DJing more commercially driven hip hop/top 40 clubs, and got back into more current rap music.
Whether DJ’ing alongside Rihanna, Kanye, Snoop or spinning at private parties for Puffy and Jay Z ….what has been your most memorable DJ experience thus far?
There have been many. Probably New Years back in 2011 with Jay Z, Kanye, Rihanna. That was definitely a once in a lifetime DJ experience.
You just teamed up POWERHOUSE books for the book Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip-Hop T-Shirts 1980-1999, a unique collection of over 500 of the rarest vintage hip-hop t-shirts. What made you want to be involved in this project?
I’ve been collecting the shirts since I was a kid, really just as a fan. As I got older and the collection started getting a “little” out of control, I decided that I wanted to compile all the tees in one place.. A book. Once the project started I began to include other collectors as well to make a more comprehensive catalogue.
You have worked with so many talented artists. Who would you love to collaborate with next?
DJ-wise, it’s always going to be an amazing night if Jay Z or Nas are in the building. Not sure if that’s a “collaboration” per say but I love working on nights when the crowd energy is in that New York state of mind.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
My parents, and a few photographers that I admire. I’m always inspired by people who are genuinely creative and talented, even if they aren’t necessarily financially successful. I’m more impressed by those who work hard and become an expert at something rather than simply marketing themselves well.
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you push a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud etc. What was the first album (you can remember) that you spent your hard earned money on back in the day and bought for yourself?
The first rap record I remember buying for myself was Public Enemy “Fear of a Black Planet”. I had “911 is a Joke” on some compilation CD that my parents bought me, and I had to have the album. There may actually have been albums I bought before it, but that one stands out.
What was the first song you fell in love with and why?
No specific song, but my parents were always listening to artists like Paul Simon, Tina Turner, The Pointer Sisters.. So I started loving good music early on.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Lately it’s all hip hop.. Which is good. Future, Fetty Wap, Drake.
What’s on tap next for you, Ross? What are you most excited about for this year?
Keep on grinding! DJing every week, traveling, and hopefully continue to work on books and side projects that inspire me.
To stay up to date with DJ ROSS ONE , visit his socials below:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud / Instagram