Name: Lindsey Caldwell
Age: 18 (Shhhh!!!)
Occupation: H-U-S-T-L-E-R Hustler!
From where: Born in the 'Lou (St. Louis, MO), grew up in AZ, moved to ATL
Reside in: LES, NYC
How long have you lived in New York: a little over 4 years
The Real Questions:
Youre one of the hardest working DJs around town right now, playing just about every party where the young and hip are guaranteed to be plus holding down a monthly residency at APT with the Negroclash crew. How did you get started?
I actually started out just admiring the local DJs when I lived in Atlanta. I started a magazine with some friends just to shine some light on all of the talent that was emerging in the city called Frank. I had a lot of reservations about DJing. There were NO successful female DJs in Atlanta and I didn't want to be a novelty. I really wanted to be taken seriously. I started collecting records before I even got turntables. And I was hanging out with these guys who were a part of this group called Massinfluence. They had a set up and would let me play around on their equipment. They grew to regret it. I had a girlfriend who now lives in LA who I would get together with as well and we'd listen to music, we shared a lot of the same taste. I just practiced and practiced until I felt comfortable enough to play out.
Any advice for those wanting to make the leap from jaded partygoer to master of the music?
I just think it's a serious commitment. Financially as well as time wise. You have to buy a lot of expensive equipment and records aren't cheap either. If you want to do it for a living, good luck. Especially in New York, bar owners can't even be bothered to get in good sound let alone concern themselves with whether or not the music is good. It's a tuff gig. Most people who are out want to hear the hits, if your musical taste lies elsewhere your feelings are bound to get hurt. Also, there is a ton of competition out there, it seems like everyone is a DJ these days now that people can get away with just playing records without much technical skill.
For me, its always inspiring to see women behind the decks as it is to see all-female rock bands. I idolized Spinderella growing up and remember being excited when I first went to Guernica for the Ubiquita night. But, Ive always wondered about what it feels like for the female DJ to have girls be their fans and gush, as well as certain issues they have to deal with. What (if anything) do you find makes it hard for you sometimes? Do you appreciate or get annoyed at the attention for being a female DJ (or shejay, if you wish)?
Usually no one gushes. They may stop by at the end of the night and give me a thumbs up or comment if they had a good time. That feels awesome, I get freaked out by too much attention so just to see that people are having a good time is rewarding enough for me. I never really idolized a female DJ just because she is a female. I have always been the kind of person who will make a way for myself. If I have to work harder because I am a girl, I just work harder, there's nothing I can do about it. I typically steer clear of girl DJ nights as they don't really flow well for the most part. Unless I know people are going to be open to whatever, the Girl on Girl party that Roxy and the I Heart girls promote is so much fun. People trust the DJs to just do what they do. I never thought creating a night simply for girls was particularly helpful, I want to play with whoever plays what makes sense with the kind of music I play, that person can be a guy or a girl.
I think what makes being a female DJ hard is guys think they need to help you all the time. I am always experiencing some guy DJ twiddling knobs on the mixer while I am playing, that's pretty annoying. I once had a guy approach me as I was rolling records into a venue and as me if I was as good as Beverly Bond. I was so insulted. As if the best I could be compared to is another female DJ and to top it off a black female DJ, that was as good as I was going to get. He would have never gone up to say DJ Language and asked him if he was as good as Rich Medina, never. He just put all his ignorance out there with one statement. Other than that I just try not to let comments like that get to me. Getting pissed isn't going to make people stop being ignorant, so I just gotta deal.
Many DJs have serious pet peeves about people requesting Britney Spears at a hip-hop show or standing around like statues no matter what they drop. Name one thing that will drive you nuts when youre just trying to spin your records and keep the party going.
By far requests are the most irritating thing ever. Here's the thing. There are millions of tunes out there in the world. If I am playing for 3 hours, I am probably not going to have that tune you want to hear. Just chill out and enjoy the night.
I can't really get mad at people for not dancing though, since they're not technically supposed to be. I know no one's been enforcing that law lately, but I think it definitely killed our spirits. I just try to pay attention to what people are responding to and stick with that style. They're not necessarily not enjoying it if they're not dancing.
I do get annoyed when someone leans over to look at the label of what I am playing. Come on dude, that thing is spinning around way too fast for you to read anything that's on there. Just ask me.
Your list of records that never fail to make the crowd go wild:
Your list of 5 records that never fail to make the crowd go wild:
Damn, this is hard. I'll just list stuff that goes off at Negroclash or parties I have played at recently.
Strafe - Set it Off
Scenario/or the Scenario Remix - A Tribe Called Quest
Frankie Beverly featuring Maze - Before I Let You Go
Swing My Way - KP & Envy
Anything by DJ Technics
At the moment various radio hits:
Fat Joe "Lean Back"
Anything produced by Lil' Jon
Who, in your opinion, is the quintessential New Yorker?
I think the quintessential New Yorker is a person who is just a little different from the norm. Who never really felt comfortable anywhere else and though it is a bitch to live here they make a way and somewhere in between find time to have a live. Basically a masochist! (kidding)
Favorite subway line:
As much as I complain, the F is pretty on point. Takes you all through the city east to west and to Brooklyn, Queens it connects to everything, it's dope. I just hate that it's such a mess. And I think it has the longest train route so there's always homeless guys on there sleeping and stinking. I know that they gotta go somewhere, but they sometimes manage to stink up the whole train, I gag easy.
Favorite bar or club:
I love APT. It's like my Cheers. I know that if I go there, I will see someone I know. The music is always good. It's one of the few spots in the city that really makes it a point to provide a good overall experience.
Please share a personal (and hopefully interesting) NYC taxi story.
I refuse to be a victim (that's a roundabout way of saying that I have an attitude). Anyway, my boyfriend at the time and I were at a dinner party all the way out in Red Hook. We found a cab and before we got in, we asked him if he knew how to get to our part of Brooklyn. He said yes. He proceeded to get us totally lost with the meter running. Finally we both had to step in and ask him to please shut off the meter as we were going in circles and weren't going to pay more than the cost of the car service price we paid to get to Red Hook earlier in the night. He refused so when we finally got home, we argued and argued holding exactly the cost of the car ride from before, I was on my cell trying to call the taxi commission to complain. He finally just took what we gave him and begged us to please get out. Cabbies can be such scam artists, we held him hostage until he gave us a fair deal after getting us totally lost. Ol' buster. I feel bad for tourists that have to deal with their mess.
If you had good luck and/or millions to spare, where in town would you live?
I LOVE the west village. It is so beautiful. If I could afford it, I would buy something over there. It just feels more like a neighborhood, the pace seems a little slower and people seem to be a little more considerate. I live on the ground floor of a building in the thick of it in the Lower East Side. My super and his family set up a ghetto BBQ session every Saturday where they play music from a stereo in the cellar just below my apartment.
It's like they are right in my apartment with me, it's so annoying. But, I really love the LES, it's grimey and relaxed. I lived in Brooklyn for 2 years so I missed how convenient it is to live in the city. I didn't miss the roaches though.
Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if youre that type.
Hmm... It's such a normal thing to see celebrities in the city. I have seen a bunch, they are just normal folks. I am too shy to ever talk to any of them so no real encounters.
Just after midnight on a Saturday what are you doing?
Chilling with a pint of Ciao Bella Green Tea w/White Chocolate Chunk gelatto, feet propped up on my dog Bing's back or belly watching a movie. That's on a good Saturday. My schedule is so hectic, I am constantly doing someting random. I try to just chill out on the weekends though. Doesn't usually happen, but I try.
Whats the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
I try not to buy expensive clothes. It freaks me out. Freelancing and DJing for a living is a hustle. Work comes and it goes, when I make a lot of money, I put it in the bank and am afraid to touch it. I work at a clothing shop too called MZ so I get a lot of my clothes there at a discount. When I want to treat myself to something nice I go to Castor & Pollux in Brooklyn, I Heart has really cute stuff too. Opening Ceremony on Howard Street always has really unique things as well.
Best bargain to be found in the city?
I really only spend money on food. The Pho at Pho Bang is a good deal and it's SO good. There is a Veggie Dim Sum place on Pell Street that I go to most Sundays that is cheap and good. (Brett's going to kill me for revealing that spot.)
Most overrated trend/movement sweeping the city:
Ugh, there are so many. I wish people would just be original. I mean, I am not setting any trends, but I just wear what is comfortable sometimes a little trendy. But, I get so annoyed that people aren't creative anymore. For instance the trucker hat (an easy target I know, but so so annoying), why? Big logos are equally annoying, I just think people need to relax, there's always going to be someone out there that looks cooler than you. And usually it's someone who didn't try as hard as you did.
What bygone NYC place or thing do you wish were still around?
I miss this record store called Dub Spot. I liked it there, the girls who owned it were so nice. I wish the PS1 series of I think it was 2002 could just happen every summer, I had such a good time that year there.
I get sad when I see things being overdeveloped. I am freaking out over all the construction in the Lower East Side. I worry that it will lose its character. I love that I can see the sky down here. But, it looks like there's a lot about to go down on Houston, Orchard Street, Hotel on Rivington... booo!!!
I wish there was a reset button I could press to make all my jadedness go away. I remember when I first moved here and every little stupid thing would make me feel so inspired. It's so hard living here that it wears you down so quickly, I've only been here for 4 years and I am so salty about everything!! Pour out a little liquor for my innocence y'all.
If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
I guess if I wanted to change it too much I would be ready to move away. I wish it weren't so damn expensive to live here so I could save some money or buy a place.
The End of The World is finally happening. What are you going to do with your
last 24 hours in New York?
I feel lucky to have some really great close friends. I would just get them all together and bug out. I always end up piling too much into my day. Ideally, my last 24 hours would be completely free form.