Ani Quinn was raised in NYC and had his first band at age 14. He went on to play shows at legendary venues like CBGBs. By 17 he started experimenting with turntables and a mixer and subsequently moved out from his parents' house. "All I did was practice mixing and scratching. It was too loud and too constant for my folks, so I moved out!" Since then it has all been uphill for Ani. He's established himself as a premier DJ and has worked with the likes of Kelly Rowland, Run DMC, Cyprus Hill, 2 Live Crew, Britney Spears, Moby and Slick Rick. He's also spun at parties with DJ AM, DJ Vice, Quest Love, Biz Markie, Jazzy Jeff, DJ A-trak, DJ Craze, Jam Master Jay, Samantha Ronson & Mark Ronson. We had a chance to chat with DJ Ani Quinn about his love for NYC, touring, and his biggest achievement.
What drew you to DJing?
I've always loved all types of music and I played the electric bass in several bands before I started DJing. But hearing DJs like Frankie Bones doing hip hop scratching over Acid House records really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities available to me if I used DJing as a form of artistic expression.
What is your DJ setup like?
Currently I have 2 Technics 1210s a pioneer 909 mixer and I use a Black Macbook with external drive to play mp3s and Wav files. I use Serato Scratch Live for my DJ software.
You started out very young. What was your first DJ gig like?
Like most DJs, I started opening up for more established DJs. I was very lucky though. After about 6 months from when I started I was booking my own nights.
What are some big musical influences of yours?
Classic Soul and R&B which is the roots of all dance music from hip hop to house. Groups like Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown, The Meters, Prince. But I love all types of music. I grew up listening to everything. I have always had an eclectic style of DJing because of my broad musical interests.
Currently I'm listening to a lot of Electro House. From Swedish House Mafia, to Michael Woods to Deadmau5 to Avicii. And Hip Hop too. Watch the Throne is an amazing album as well. Jay & Kanye? Amazing. I've also been listening to some Dubstep. Skrillex, Doctor P, Rusko.
What do you consider your biggest achievement as a DJ to date?
Performing in front of 90,000 people at a festival. Such an amazing feeling.
How does being an instrumentalist set you apart from other DJs?
I think you mean musician? DJing is actually amazing because you don't need experience playing an instrument to be a good DJ. But having that as my background has made me more conscious of the keys that records are in. Mixing by key makes transitions between songs very smooth. It's something I can do when I feel like it.
You've had many high-profile collaborations. Which ones stick out the most to you?
Working personally with Justin Timberlake has been an amazing experience. I just DJed the grand reopening of his restaurant Southern Hospitality tonight (Wed Oct 26th)
I played Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton and then some Drake… A bunch of other stuff too…. Everyone was dancing. One Republic performed as well. Those guys have some hits!
What are some current artists you'd like to work with?
I want to find new artists to collaborate with. Looking for talented vocalist now!
Describe the experience of spinning in NYC.
A crazy love affair. A marriage and I'm still madly in love.
What does the near future have in store for Ani Quinn?
I'm very focused on production. Expect some original releases from myself and with some of my friends. The records I'm working on now are sounding huge.
Lastly, are you excited to be spinning at our Halloween party at Lexicon? Will you be dressing up?
I'm really excited! Been putting a special Halloween set together. Expect high energy and good tunes. It's gonna be awesome. And I will be dressing up. But my costume won't be that elaborate. I can't have a cape or something keeping me from being able to scratch or mix properly!
DJ Ani Quinn's next show will be at Lexicon on October 29th! Details below: