If you ask DJ ThatGuy Smitty his real name, he will probably look at you like you're crazy; in fact, unless you knew him pre-1987 (chances are you don't) you won't know his real name. Moreover, the name holds a special meaning to him. "I got my DJ name by overhearing a conversation about a party I had played at. Someone basically said, '... and that guy, I think his name was Smitty, did an alright job too.' That's when I knew I had arrived!"
You can check out DJ ThatGuy Smitty at Soul Gastrolounge every Wednesday night and at M5 at Southpark Friday and Saturday nights.
Creative Loafing: What's the first record you ever bought?
ThatGuy Smitty: I inherited a really large record collection from family members in the early '80s. My first record that I ever bought with my own money in 1978 was Prince's Soft and Wet, a 45. I'm a big Prince fan. I've always loved music, always had a record collection of my own, and inherited my parents and aunts and uncle's records. Now my record collection is between 6,500 and 7,000 albums. I also have about 1,500 45s. I don't really own many CDs. It's all vinyl and I have a pretty big mp3 collection. I'm a purist — I like the sound of a record.
How did you start DJing?
I started DJing back in '96. The rave scene was big at that time and I went to a party in Winston Salem in the Millennium Center. In the basement there was a DJ called Mark Farina who was a house DJ that had just come out with this Mushroom Jazz series — this really cool, down-tempo, hip-hop, lounge, house hybrid thing. It was incredible. I had seen other DJs before, but this guy was the first DJ that I ever saw mix and, to me, it was art. Just the way he mixed, and he mixed forever, when I saw it, I was like, "That's what I want to do."
Also, Andy Kastanas [who is affiliated with a number of local venues] has been a major influence in starting my DJ career. He helped me out a lot in the beginning.
How long have you been in Charlotte?
I'm a natural Charlottean, I come from three generations of Charlotteans. I left here in '87 and went into the Air Force. I came back here in '94 and have been here ever since. I did a brief stint in New York — didn't really like it, not enough trees. I'm a Southern boy, and people didn't have a lot of patience there. They seemed to be in a big hurry about everything. It wasn't really my speed. Charlotte just really affords me the quality of life that I'm used to.