DJ Ororo and DJ Dingo8 In the stairway of Used Kids

"First Person Singular" is an occasional column by JP Marat that empowers artists, musicians and community activists to speak in their own voice. Sincere thanks to the Columbus Free Press for the opportunity to let our voices be heard . . . 


JP Marat Writes . . . 


What is House Music ?

House Music is a form of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) that emerged in the early 1980’s following the decline of disco. It is characterized by steady 4/4 kick drums, ubiquitous bass lines and syncopated cymbals. Each track in a DJ’s set is ‘beat matched’ to the previous song to create an uninterrupted symphony of sound that runs from the drop of the first platter to bartenders last call.


Record samples, chosen by the DJ, enhance this audible feast. These samples may add a splash of flavor or instead be the foundation of an entirely new arrangement. Artists as varied as Skrillex, Kanye West, Rihanna, Daft Punk and Fat Boy Slim have built some of their most loved songs around song sampling.


Why do they call it House Music ?

I’ve heard at least 3 stories regarding the origins of the term “House Music.”  


Story 1: DJ’s create their tracks by blending music from records, drum machines, electronic synthesizers and computers. Much of this work is done in their basement, bedroom or garage. The music literally comes from their “House.”


Story 2: In the early 1980’s, each nightclub sought to have its own unique sound. Local DJ’s were encouraged to create and release music specifically crafted for that club (or “House”).


Story 3: “The Warehouse” nightclub (aka “The House”) located at 206 South Jefferson Street in Chicago, Illinois is commonly recognized as the birthplace of “House” Music. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s under DJ Frankie Knuckles, a new form of music emerged. It wasn’t disco, funk, soul or electronica but it fused elements from all four. In short order the original cliental of the Warehouse (predominately Black and Latino Gay Men) were joined by dance enthusiasts and music lovers from all neighborhoods of the city to revel in this new genre of “House Music.” House Fever spread quickly throughout the United States and overseas.


Local Music Scene

There are a number of excellent House Music nights in Columbus Ohio. My favorite are Thursday Nights at Brothers Drake Meadery (located at 26 East Fifth Ave / right off High Street) hosted by the ReStart House Music. I’ve known Christina for several years. I’m friends with her boyfriend Steve, a local activist with whom I’ve organized cultural & political events at the Barrack Recreation Center on the Southside of Columbus. Steve introduced me to Christina (DJ Ororo) and Bryan (DJ Dingo8). I was lucky enough to interview them during the Hot Times Festival for my radio show on WCRS 98.3 / 102.1 (Big Barking Dog Alternative Music Hour). I’ve been hitting ReStart Music nights ever since.


Used Kids

Vinyl DJ’s scour local record stores to find the right samples to enhance their singular sets. Just a couple weeks ago, Christina, Bryan, Steve and I went record shopping at Used Kids records (1980 N. High). The owner, Greg Hall, has an excellent shop that boasts a remarkable collection of new and used vinyl of all genres (Rock, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Alternative, Film Soundtracks, you name it). Turntables with headphones are available so you can “try” before you “buy.” In addition to CDs and DVDs, Used Kids has a great selection of affordable “gently used” audio equipment (turntables, amps, speakers) so if you’re looking to get into the Vinyl scene . . . start your journey here.


I asked Christina and Bryan about ReStart House Music and their adventures as local Columbus DJ’s. They had interesting things to say . . .  - JP Marat



Christina (DJ Ororo) Writes . . . 



We started ReStart about 2001, a concept pulled together one of my best friends, DJ Sparrow (Nathan Rouke), and myself.  We first met at a party that he was Djing at called Endanza, through a mutual friend. He had a great aura and was playing tracks that had me wishing I’d heard them first, and we became best buds and DJ partners. Our personality just meshed together, as did our track selections; which made us great tag-team partners.  We were playing a lot of house parties and a few raves, which was great, but I think we were tired of the gaps between gigs and really wanted to spin a lot more, and in not just in our attics or dungeons, lol.   

One day we were taking about music and the scene, and just daydreaming and wishing, that the clubs would get out of the “progressive house” phase and play funker stuff, which lead it to a comments of  “we should jus do a night and restart the Disco/Funky House scene ” to “sure lets call it ReStart”…. If I remember right, a few days later I told Nate that I found us a spot, asking him “what’s next” lol.   


ReStart Begins

ReStarts first location was the Northberg Tavern which used to be located under Donatos on the OSU Campus, after that shut down we bounded around to a few other locations, not staying to long for one reason or another, but the running joke was that our name seemed to be pretty apt, we seemed to just restart our night at different places, lol, but once we were at Bento GoGo, that became the spot were ReStart began to really found it’s niche in Columbus’s EDM music scene.  My issues with the club sense were as follow:  the dress codes, the music that was being played in them, and with the “plastic” people the clubs wanted to attract and catered to.  I’m bias, but our nights compared to a night at the club, was much more relaxed, fun with much, MUCH, better music.   


Supporting The Local Scene

When we started this night we also wanted to use it as a platform for DJ’s starting out, and we had guidelines regarding what styles of music we were looking for, we didn’t turn a DJ away just because we hadn’t heard of them before, we’d put them on first to “show & prove”, and go from there.  You’ll have a few “misses” with this strategy, but we’ve been lucky enough to find a few “diamonds”, who’ve hit their targets.  We invite DJ’s who play on formats other than vinyl, but we at ReStart love wax, play on wax, and would rather the DJ use vinyl or at least bring some with them as back up in case the laptop crashes.  The music wasn’t the only thing that helped put ReStart on the map, if I wasn’t for Shawn and Jamie, and the rest of Shaolin Funk Crew, I don’t think we wouldn’t have as many repeat customers as we did.  The first question would people ask me while they were walking up the steps to the bar was “who’s playing tonight?”, the second, “are the breakers here yet?” LOL.   To be honest, every person that showed up each night and kept coming back out made up ReStart.   To quote DJ Sparrow “‘Restart’ consists of anybody who, like us, still believes that there is something worth holding on to in the Electronic Music Scene....”.


A few years later, while still at Bento’s, Nathan accepted a job in Chicago and moved and because I’m not the “go it alone” type when it comes to DJing and ReStart, a friend of ours, DJ Cut Culprit (Mike Niles), stepped in with his great vibe and tons of speed garage tracks, and we kept the night going.    After a few more years, Mikey accepted a job in Youngstown and moved his family there, so the void was back, but the DJ gods smiled on ReStart and sent it Dingo8 (Brian Salyer), with his calm presence and track selection that has me envious, we continue to keep ReStart going, currently based at Brothers Drake Meadery.   


ReStart Drum & Bass / Restart Phoenix

Recently our personnel roster has increase and thanks to those additions ReStart has sprouted 2 branches in the form of ReStart Phoenix and ReStart Drum & Base.  ReStart Phoenix is based in Phoenix, Az and is held every Sunday night at Side Bar.  It’s hosted by DJ Adrian Michaels, who’s a favorite of ours and who rocked the decks for us, more than a few times, back in the day.   ReStart Drum & Base is based here in the Bus, it’s held at Rehab and is hosted by DJ’s Dingo8 and Aria (Carl Raponi) and as the name suggests, the best Drum & Bass music and the DJ’s that spin it are the focus here.


“We’re going to start small and make sure that only the most important things are there (the heart, the love, the knowledge that all humans on the planet are brothers and sisters, that kinda stuff) and we’re just going to do it for the right reasons. And if you’re feelin that at all, you’re more than welcome to come along. Just make sure that you’re taking the newbies under your wing if you’re Old School, and that you’re respecting your elders if you’re New School. And the club kids...well, we’ll figure out what to do with them later....We spin House because it is, in our opinions, one of those rare types of music that really makes people smile big (which really helps when you're trying to bring a group of people together, you know?). Not dissing other types of music AT ALL, but you know that face people make when they hear music they like, and it looks like they just smelled something really funky? That happens a lot with House. We like it a whole bunch!” – DJ Sparrow.  Quotes from DJ Sparrow are from the ReStart mission statement:


Vinyl DJ’s vs CD DJ’s vs Laptop DJ’s

I have this to say.  A friend attempted to teach me how to spin on Serato (computer software) and I can honestly tell you, I don’t like Djing in that format and will never, ever use it.   Some DJ’s reading this will say “get with the times” or “playing only on vinyl limits your options”, and in some areas they’re right, but for me, there are many positives to spinning on wax that out shine the “multitude” of reasons I’m given on why I should switch.  The fact is that I’m a woman who loves spinning House music on wax, that’s all. - DJ Ororo  


Bryan (Dingo8) Writes . . . 


DJ / Crowd interactions

After DJing for 12 years, and 25 years in the Columbus music scene I've seen a lot of shows. I watch the performers dynamics and crowd interactions. I know the way a real entertainer will reach out to a crowd and affect them. DJ’s get a sense of what the crowd wants or expects and what they want to hear. 


As a DJ you bring one crate of records, about 40 or so, and you have to make the crowd want those songs. A great DJ will bring enough variety so they can change direction based on crowd reactions. A DJ’s collection is meant to be an expression of self. So that the DJ can express themselves as an artist while the crowd ultimately dictates the direction of the night. 


My observation is this. The intro (usually the first 3 songs) is where the artist establishes their space and tests the crowd. After that is where the interplay with the crowd comes in. The show becomes an organic shared experience. Finally a closer that you just have to save for the end. Something that people will leave the show humming the next day. When an artist gives something of themselves and captures all of these elements, people genuinely respond. These are the shows that always stand out when I think back on all of the great times I've had in Columbus. - DJ Dingo8



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