Photo: James Zambon
Name: Neal Stoll
How you got started and how long you’ve been DJing? I got into DJingwhen I realized that the only way I could stay current with the type of music I liked (hip-hop at the time) was to buy vinyl records. That was about 1995 and Ive been DJing since 1997 so coming up on 12 years. Wow, that makes me feel old.
Where you DJ? I DJ all over. Lots of stuff in Tampa and Orlando and of course the motherland St Pete. I travel out of town pretty frequently to DJ for exposure and a change of scenery. I also keep a hand in proving soundtracks for the blossoming art and fashion scene here in Central Florida. I’ve also been picked up this season as a DJ for the Tampa Bay Rays and that’s been an amazing opportunity. I like to think that I’m the reason for the winning streak. In addition to that, I have a monthly party I’m doing on the First Friday of every month at Tamiami bar on First Avenue South in downtown called Retox. I’ll be featuring different DJs pretty much every month and I have to tell you, it’s one of the best dance parties I’ve ever thrown. This month’s will be on Sept the 5th and featuring Young Deacon. Come say “Hi”. I’ll buy you a shot.
Do you try to attract a mix of musical tastes? If so, how? I’ve found success in playing exactly what Id want to hear if I was out buying $12.00 vodka cranberries all night. I also try and appeal to a fun side of DJing that involves a sense of irony, 80s music is a great example of this. But just to be clear I play ALL genres of club music from hip-hop to house. I’ve never been one for play lists and am a firm believer in the school of thought that says: Get the girls on the floor and everything else falls into place. That’s been my mantra for almost a decade so “helloooooo ladies”.
Do you feel like a big fish in a little pond? Do you ever think about relocating? Yeah, I get that Big Fish feeling from time to time. There’s pros and cons. I have a great family of friends here that I network with and we create an artistic party atmosphere for the Bay and that makes me feel like I have a job to do here. But who knows what the future holds? I just got engaged to my dream girl for crying out loud! My future is wide open.
What does our area have over other metropolitan areas as far as your DJing, professional and personal lives go?We are able to have a big city feel with some little city love sprinkled on top. The Sunshine city is an amazing place with a great history and its coming back in a big way, especially the downtown area that I call home. You want the St Pete nickel tour? I’m your man.
What type of stuff surprises people about your playlist? I play a lot of original samples to current songs. Say for instance that an old Public Enemy song sampled an even older James Brown song. I’ll mix the two together and give you a little history lesson and you wont even realize it. Also for the past few years I’ve been introducing Baltimore Club music to the area, and with B-more Club you have faster beats with really raw rap lyrics and people have been getting familiar.
What impresses other DJs when they check out your set? Far and away what turns heads of other DJs is my ability to scratch and beat juggle. I started as a turntablist first and a DJ second. Many DJs today are doing very little besides mixing two songs on CD’s together and that’s it. I manipulate every record I play and I do much much more than just play records.
Briefly describe your equipment setup: 2 technic 1200 turntables. 2 Shure M447 needles, a Raine or Vestax Mixer and a program called Seratothat makes Mp3s play on an actual vinyl control record. Most importantly though are the crates of wax I’ve collected over the years. They are my archives and any DJ worth his salt has deep crates. Period.
Daytime job? I wish I could think of a snappy answer to this question but I cant. I’m an optician at Innovision on Fourth Street. It’s a great job and it’s a vocation I like. But I’d be lying if I said DJing isn’t the very best job in the history of mankind.
Favorite ice cream: Anything from the gelato place on Beach Drive. The dark chocolate there is the jump off.