Get to know one of San Diego’s original DJs, DJ TL SPANX, in this week’s Artist Spotlight!
As one of San Diego’s original DJs, Tony Lamar, aka DJ TL SPANX, has seen the music scene and its progression over the years. Beginning his career all the way back in 1979, before the modern rave scene was even a glimmer in the eye of anyone, Tony was ahead of the game and behind the decks. For fifteen years he took on many different roles in the scene from DJ to a manager, and even launched the first ever radio mix show here in San Diego on 92.5 FM XHRM. His style focused on turntablism and creativity as he played shows around San Diego.
Hanging up the headphones in 1994, Tony took a twenty-year hiatus from the decks before re-emerging in 2014 to begin his comeback. Since then he has played shows in Miami and begun his journey back to bringing quality music to those looking to get down and dance. Check out his guest mix below and read on for our chat with one of the oldest active DJs in the world!
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 078 || DJ TL SPANX on Mixcloud:
As one of the first DJs to come out of San Diego back in 1979, what led to you getting behind the decks for the first time?
I was a Club Kid at the prominent young-adult nightclub “Journey” in San Diego, CA (Kearny Mesa) back when I attended Madison High School and part of the club “Click.” One night as all of us were leaving the club, I spontaneously yelled out to the owners who were walking within the crowd by me “Hey, when can I play DJ here?” The owners looked at each other and one replied, “Next Friday.” The crowd oohed and awed while staring at me as if it was a challenge, so I had to answer, “Alright!” And that’s what started my 15-year run.
You hung up the headphones back in 1994, what prompted the comeback to DJing after a 20-year hiatus?
Music has always been my top passion. After joking comments made by me and serious suggestions from others about me making a comeback, I actually started thinking about making a comeback. And now here I am, one of the Oldest Active DJs in the world.
Have you experienced any struggles getting back into DJing with all the changes in the scene that have happened?
For me, all the technical changes have been the most difficult. You don’t have a choice but to learn if you want to be proficient, competitive, and successful in the BIZ. I’m learning each and every day. I love a challenge.
Looking back on your career so far, what have been some of your most memorable shows you’ve played over the years?
Journey Young-Adult Nightclub in San Diego, CA (Kearny Mesa), San Diego Naval Training Center (NTC), Montezuma Hall at San Diego State, The Cafeteria at San Diego City College, and Charity events for the American Heart Association.
Is there anything you miss about the early dance music scene that you wish would make a comeback?
The DJ interaction with the crowd.
Turntablism is something we don’t see much of an emphasis on as much, how do you think we can see a renewed interest in the art form?
The art of Turntablism has been active since its inception back in the ’70s. It’s just that most venue formats/genres of music are not meant for Turntablism, plus the fact that most DJs work off of CDJs or Controllers and not turntables does not help. Turntablism is a niche talent and an acquired taste for most. Count me in as a fan.
Having taken roles in many different aspects of the music scene, outside of DJing which has been your favorite?
Having been a local concert Production Manager for Top Flight Entertainment.
If you could only listen to three artists for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
This question has my head spinning lol. Sorry, can’t just pick 3, there is just too much good talent out there!
Outside of DJing and working in the music scene, do you have any other hobbies?
I like dancing, watching football and other sports, and casual bike riding.
Finally, since Mexican Food is a staple here in San Diego. Where is your favorite taco shop and what’s your usual order?
Roberto’s on Convoy Street (San Diego, CA/Kearny Mesa). Carne Asada Burrito!