Q&A: DJ Ginsu: Nobody panic: The Ladies 80s legacy has been left in capable hands

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From the June 26, 2014 edition

After 13 years of building Columbus’ favorite Thursday night party, Chuck Fay (DJ Chuckstar) officially hands the reins over to Columbus heavy-hitter DJ Ginsu Von Mixwell III (Matthew Watkins) tonight at the Michael Jackson Tribute edition of Ladies 80s. With 16 years of scratching, producing and general party-rocking to draw from, Watkins plans to honor the legacy while tying in a few surprises.

Before I started deejaying, I had a seriously bad opinion of DJs. For six months, my friend tried to get me into deejaying, and I wouldn’t do it because I thought the whole scene was nothing but raver stuff. I was into punk; I didn’t want to play that. He eventually talked me into trying it, and I started learning to scratch. It was amazing. Everything started sounding different. I started noticing sounds I’d never noticed before. I finally found an instrument I could play with my fidgeting. I just had to keep doing it, so the next day I broke into the guy’s house to use his turntables. I told him I’d pay for the lock.

I learned to scratch first. I think most DJs learn how to play at clubs first, and then move to scratching. I did it backwards, and was winning scratching competitions before I learned to “party rock.” At the competitions, I’d get to see other DJs, and I realized there was a whole other side to it. I fell in love with parties. I love scratching, but it’s fun to feed off the crowd and drop a surprise track and see the reaction. I try to envision the atmosphere and the flow of the night. It’s important to learn the dynamic of the crowd and the energy of the room. That’s why I love Ladies 80s so much; the crowd is always having so much fun.

It’s still Ladies 80s, it’s not the “DJ Ginsu party.” This party is Skully’s baby, and I knew coming on there would be parameters. I’m not trying to change the party, I’m trying to keep the rotation fresh and keep the energy up. I am a different person than Chuck [Fay], so there will be some differences, but there is no urgency to make this “my night.” Skully has a vision, and it’s working. I’m just happy to be the guy who now gets to deejay this awesome party.

If you don’t like any ’80s music, something is wrong with your spirit. The ’80s were the last decade of really creative and experimental music. From the underground tracks to the biggest pop hits, music was less homogenized then. The levels of exploration during that time set the pace for everything that came after. Plus, most of it is really fun and positive; even the darker, new wave stuff you can dance to. This party has been going on 13 years for a reason.

Photo by Dan Trittschuh