DJ Tina T is no stranger to the DJ community. She was voted Las Vegas’s “Best Female DJ” in 2010 and 2011. She has over 13 years of experience and has been able to travel the world with her talents. Tina has toured with Red Bull, Reebok, and Teen Vogue, just to name a few. She has shared the stage with artists like Metallica, Run DMC, Lady GaGa, and DJ AM. In 2010, Tina decided to take on her passion project: Camp Spin-Off, a dope alternative to your “normal” summer camp. It is a one week adventure for aspiring DJs ranging from the ages of 13 – 17. The camp staff is packed with a roster of world renowned DJs and speakers who not only give great technical training, but also bring the entire culture of DJing to life. It is a great outlet to meet like-minded people, learn from the best in the industry, become educated in the culture, and most of all, it’ll be FUN! We caught up with DJ Tina T to talk more about Camp Spin-Off and what further advice she has for aspiring DJs.
Angel Alzona: What was your main inspiration for creating Camp Spin-Off? Did you have an “ah-hah!” moment or was it something you always knew you would start?
DJ Tina T: I grew up going to summer camps as a kid and have the best memories from it. The “Ah-Hah moment came when I was talking to another DJ about the different conventions that record labels put on and bring everyone together. It sounded like so much fun if we could do it outdoors camping and then the wheels kept spinning and it turned into Camp Spin Off. My main objectives were doing something fun, bringing people together and supporting the DJ community.
AA: How long did you plan things out for the camp before it finally launched? What was that process like for you?
TT: It took about a year and I started with a lot of research, looking at locations, studying other camps and the way they did things. I talked to a lot of people and asked for advice. I also immediately trademarked my name and locked in all the online domains.
AA: What is the number one thing you want camp goers to take from their experience?
TT: I want to everyone involved in my camp to leave with an experience they will never forget. I want the kids to leave with a support group of other DJ’s and feel more inspired than ever to pursue their passions in life. Most of all I want everyone to have fun and keep the summer camp tradition alive.
AA: What can camp goers expect on a day to day basis?
TT: We wake up early at 8am which a lot of our counselors are not use to, being working DJ’s, haha :). After breakfast they go straight into a rotation of classes where they learn DJing on vinyl records and turntables, producing beats and remixing tracks and then DJing on digital platforms with software, controllers and CDJ’s. We want them to leave and have their own personal preference of what they want to continue using after having the chance to try it all out.
AA: Right now the camp is located in Oak View, California, any plans on expanding to different locations?
TT: I am planning in summer 2013 to start with a small group on the east coast and start growing that as well.
AA: What advice do you have for camp goers after they complete the camp? Where do they go from there?
TT: We encourage them to keep in touch with each other and their camp counselors who can help them in getting the right equipment that makes sense for what they want to do. I don’t expect all of these kids to become professional DJ’s, but if we can expose them to new things that peak their interests during camp then thats great.
AA: I think the entire camp is genius and provides kids with mentors that they can look up to as well as finding peers that have a similar interest. Do you feel that having a mentor in DJing is important? Who are/were some of your mentors within the DJ industry?
TT: Yes, I think its important to stay inspired and have support from someone. When I first started, I got asked to come practice with a group of DJ’s and that invite was all I needed to basically show up at their house every day for years until I went away to college. One of the things I remind all the kids on the first and last day of camp is to thank their parents, who are all the reason that they are able to be there and be thankful to have their support.
AA: As a respected and accomplished DJ, what advice do you have for aspiring DJs that may not be able to attend your camp? What kind of steps can one take in order to actively pursue DJing?
TT: Get equipment and if you are not able to, then find a DJ who will let you learn on theirs. Keep practicing, learning, researching music, watching other DJ’s, meeting new people and take what you do seriously. Do it for the right reasons, because it will show.
AA: Are there any other types of institutions that you know of that can help other aspiring DJs in different locations?
TT: Yes, I refer a ton of people that want to attend my camp but are outside of the 13-17 age group to The Scratch DJ Academy. They have schools in NY, LA and Miami. I have a great relationship with them and they do all the DJ instruction at Camp Spin Off as well.
AA: What would you recommend as a starter kit for aspiring DJs?
TT: I think the best starter kit is to do something like Camp Spin Off or a Scratch DJ Academy class to see if you really are serious about DJing before you go out and spend a ton of money on buying equipment.
AA: Any last words of advice?
TT: Don’t let people discourage you in the beginning. If you really want to do something then give it all you got with full confidence. Embrace the DJ community and work together as much as you can to support one another. “You will never work a day in your life if you enjoy what you do.” – unknown “Find something you love to do so much you will do it for free, then find someone who will pay you for it” – DJ AM
Check out this “Week At Glance” video below of Camp Spin-Off 2011!
For more information about the camp visit www.campspinoff.com.
For more information about DJ Tina T visit www.djtinat.com.