MARCH DJ OF THE MONTH:
I had the most wonderful time talking with the legendary DJ SNO at LOLA. DJ SNO has had a remarkable career that some people only dream about. For the past two decades, DJ SNO, who is from Madison, Illinois, has worked as a DJ at various places around the St. Louis area. He’s worked in radio and even had the opportunity to DJ for St. Louis hip hop artist CHINGY. One interesting fact that I learned while interviewing him was that his maternal grandfather Normen Kramer was one of the organ players for the St. Louis Blues back in the 1960s.
DJ SNO is a very cool and down to earth person. I really hate the interview had to end because I could’ve talked with him for hours. He had so much to talk about regarding his career and upcoming projects. I also had the opportunity to watch him spin while at LOLA; this man is very talented. With that being said here is our interview:
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: I finally get the pleasure of meeting you DJ SNO! (laughing)
DJ SNO: WHAT UP!
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: I see you just got finished setting up your turntables.
DJ SNO: Yup…..I start spinnin’ here at LOLA at 10:00 pm. Where’s DJ EPIC at? I thought he would have been here with you.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Naw…..He has a DJ gig tonight.
DJ SNO: Epic is a real cool person.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Yes he is…and a wonderful boss!
DJ SNO: (Laughing)
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Okay…..Now to the good part (laughing), how did you get started as a DJ?
DJ SNO: Well back in the early 1980s, I was a break dancer. I was in a group called MEGATRON BREAKERS. We were really good. We competed in a dance competition called RIVER ROADS BREAK 84’ and got 2nd place overall. I also played the saxophone and drums in high school. I decided later on I wanted to get into deejaying.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: How many years have you been deejaying?
DJ SNO: Since 1984
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: That’s cool….What made you want to be a DJ?
DJ SNO: I first heard the song “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa. Just hearing that song with the different elements of sound effects made me interested in deejaying. I also saw the movie BEAT STREET and was intrigued by how scratching was done on the turntables. I also saw another movie called BREAKIN’. In the movie, I saw ICE-T’s DJ (DJ Glove) and how he was spinnin’ on the turntables. I said okay so that’s how you move the record away from the needles. I told my family I wanted to be a DJ. Most of them was looking at me and saying you really gonna give up playing instruments for deejaying? My paternal grandfather was the only one that believed in me. He thought I could go really far with deejaying. Before he had passed away, he bought me a set of turntables.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Tell me about some places you have been a DJ at?
DJ SNO: From 1984-1988 I was deejaying at a lot of parties, skating rinks, and bars. I even was a DJ at some bars that mostly had a white crowd. During that time a lot of the white crowds at these bars didn’t care for hip hop music. Me and my crew would be in there and they would call us all types of names. We definitely weren’t welcome. So a lot of times we would go to the clubs and bars in the black neighborhoods to DJ. I got a lot of love down there. I was spinnin’ at PANAMA JAX in Collinsville from 1989-1991. A guy I was working with in there knew how to do a live feed to where the mix could be broadcasted live on the radio. It became MIX 97.1; I would spin records for 2 hours on the station. It eventually closed down. After that I went to DJ at Rickey’s (Now SOUNDBAR in Florissant, MO) and Rivers (Now Lumiere Place Casino in Downtown St. Louis). I also was a DJ at Doghouse (formerly located in Ballwin, MO), but it closed down due to a fire. And Stages (Now Gateway Racing Track in Madison, Illinois) but they got shut down due to a lot of fighting that was going on out there. I helped open the Monastery in 1997 and was there until 2000. That’s when the “CRUNK” era pretty much began. I then went on to work at Q95.5 as a DJ.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: You were CHINGY’s DJ at the time he got signed by Ludacris to his record label “Disturbing Tha Peace”. What was that experience like?
DJ SNO: I loved it. I was CHINGY’s DJ from 2003- 2008. We were on several televisions show: 106 & Park (10 times), MTV (5 times), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tyra Banks Show, MADD TV, and had an interview with VIBE magazine. I also had the opportunity to go on tour with CHINGY. We did the ROCK THE MIC tour with 50 cent and the Chicken N Beer tour with Ludacris in the U.S. We also went on tour overseas in Norway, Germany, New Zealand, China, Japan, Brazil, and New Amsterdam. CHINGY and I started a show called STL Home Jamz on Hot 104.1 in 2006. I also had another show called The Headliners where I was the co-host with Finsta. Finsta eventually joined me on the STL Home Jamz show when CHINGY left. I stayed on with the show until August 2011. Hot 104.1 was my last stint with radio. I tell ya, when I was on radio everybody was messin’ wit me. Now that I’m not in it anymore it seem like don’t nobody wanna f*** with me.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Do you have any mixtapes?
DJ SNO: Yes I do. I am only just deejaying on them. The mixtapes I worked on were by St. Louis local artists. I was on The Renaissance by DiSkreet, Seek Shelter- LIVE WELL with Finsta, J-Kidd, XO MOB, Phat Pheezy, and Slot-A-Lot presents CHINGY.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: What is your favorite piece of DJ Equipment?
DJ SNO: The Technique 1200s (Turntables)
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: What do you currently have going on? Any upcoming projects?
DJ SNO: Right now I’m a producer. I have a studio in my house and I go to Phat Buddha Studio in St. Louis. I am working with several artists: Academy Hill, Block Boyz, Basement Beats, Doorway, Ghetto Children, Kandi Girlz, Malevolent, Nite Owl, North Park Drive, Phat Pheezy, and Scooby.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Where can the people in the St. Louis area see you DJ at?
DJ SNO: I’m at LOLA in Downtown St. Louis on Saturday nights spinning from 10:00 pm til 2:30 am.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: Well there you have it. DJ SNO it was really good talking with you. You definitely have had a wonderful career! I’m wishing we could keep talking but I know you getting ready for your gig.
DJ SNO: Yeah I do…..This was a great positive interview.
TIFFANY LASHONDA RILEY: It sure was. I thank you for the interview.
DJ SNO: You’re welcome.
BOOK DJ SNO: Call 314-637-6369
Tiffany LaShonda Riley