DJ Deevine Soundz is one of the hottest dee-jays in the ST. Louis area. Many clubbers hear him every Friday and Saturday nights at the jazz loft on Olive where he spins the grooves on the 1s and 2s. This North St. Louis native is what I call a work in progress. DJ Soundz (nee’ Derris Perkins) has a knowledge on music and last Thursday I had a chance to sit with the Douberg football star-cum-Northwest University graduate-cum-Purdue University football hopeful-cum- dee-jay wunderkind and talked to him about his career, music and the STL club scene (FYI, He also used to be a manager at Blockbuster’s at Fairview Heights, Ill.too) .
Ma’at: How did you get name Deevine Soundz
Soundz: Actually it came back in ’92 before I went to college. My girl at the time, she was like, I used to make tapes and everybody that heard them, loved them, I didn’t think nothing of it caus ei didn’t consider myself a de-jay, but being around my Dad (Calvin King, current Program Director at Hallelujah Gospel 1600 )and my mother being pregnant and being around my cause he was a hot dee-jay in the day and still is. My lady was like you need to take this more serious cause people wanted to buy my tapes and I was like whatever, And she said I needed a name that describes me, but I wanted my name to be a part of it. First it was DAP, Derris Allen Perkins,, DJ DAP, but I was like D, D, Deluxe? I didn’t want D-Nice, then she said Deevine, not Divine, but DEEvine, she said that the music I play was Heavenly and sent from above , then Soundz, well, my name used to be Intertwine Your Mind to the Genuine Soundz of Deevine, so it was Soundz of Deevine…so after I graduated I came back here and started dee-jaying at Skate King and one of my close friends, who passed recently, said man I ‘m not going to call you no damn Deevine, I’m gonna call you Soundz, so I left it at the ladies call me Deevine and the fellas call me Soundz.
Ma’at: When were you officially Deevine Soundz?
Soundz: It had to be when I came back from college in ’96.
Ma’at: Lets talk about music. What do you listen to?
Soundz: I listen to blues, jazz, rock, reggae a lot, a lot of truth in reggae.
Ma’at: What got you into so much diversity in music?
Soundz: My upbringing. I was always around multiculture.
Ma’at: Like Catholic school….
Soundz: I went to three Catholic schools on the North side, They all closed down, the last two combined together, to form Northside Catholic right off of Margueretta. It used to be Holy Rosary. I’m really from St. Louis. I really been living in Illinois (Fairview Heights) for about three years. It’s like Vietnam where I used to live (Adelaide). I have to wear my camouflage to go and see moms.
Ma’at: About how many pieces of music do you own?
Soundz: I have enough, if I have t put a number in it, hundreds of thousands, I have it all categorized, I have a whole room dedicated to my music, my equipment and my computer from A to Z, soundtracks, R&B, rap, singles, vinyl, cassettes.
Ma’at: Basically you have a store…
Soundz: I can probably open up a little used record store, as a trade.
Ma’at: You have any imported music?
Soundz: Yeah, it costs me a good penny to buy it.
Ma’at: Where do you get them?
Soundz: Vintage Vinyl is like the only place now. Sound Revolution close don me. I get my music from different resources form promotional, record exec dens me music, record pools, artists people from out of town. I remember getting that Khia song, My Neck My Back,” a year before it came out here and it was already poppin in Miami and I played it in the club and people was like, what are you playin?” That’s how I am. I’m space age. I get it on it. I try to get you on it to let you know that its hot. Then I’m on the other hot stuff, and y’all about to get on this and I’m already two steps ahead, I’m an A&R man. Its; in my blood. Ask me a song that I got that’s old?
Ma’at: I mean, you got 40s on, so….Cab Calloway.
Soundz: Ya-Di-Ya-Di-Ya?. I think I got that on an old school 40s discs. That’s all I need though. If you would have said something else of his I would have said NOPE. I bleed music. I will spend my last dime of music so I can give it to the people. I even have some eight tracks. Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx albums… My dad and mother loves music., I am a September baby so we love the arts. That’s us, communications. I was listen to music…when my mother used to go the clubs and sitting up in the dee-jay booth with my dad and I know I was listening to it cause I am too familiar with it. Its funny I used to go to this over 35 crowd club, the Regal Room, that used to be across the street from the Loft. On Fridays and Saturdays, I was like 24, 25, and I was playing old school music and people would say, How you know about that music. I knew the music.
Ma’at: What are some of the hot songs right now?
Soundz: It’s Goin Down, Yung Joc, Its kind of hard to answer that question, cause the hot songs out there right now….It’s a song called I know you See it by Yung Joc. Cassie, “Me and U.” It’s an alternative from the norm. Of course, “Shoulder Lean.” From R&B standpoint, Anthony Hamilton is hot, the new chick that used to be with Destiny’s Child Letoya Luckett is hot, Jamie Fox is hot besides the songs they play of his on the radio, Mary J is hot, Chris Brown.
Ma'at: Is there any one that is ready to be hot?
Soundz: I think Beyonce is about to drop the bomb on everybody, the album (B-Day) not the single (Déjà vu) just yet. Cause when I first got the single, I was like oh, this is garbage. Janet is going to be hot. She should be hot, She needs to be hot. I think Tyrese is about to bust with something, He’s got the movies, the single with Chingy (Pulling Me Back)
Ma'at: What about up and coming?
Soundz: Nationally, I think its; a real hard selection cause some of the people that used to do it, are no doing it and these new people are not…I still listen to the Temptations. That’s music to me . Everybody wants to pop, drop it and show me some booty. I’m not taking away from it but it’s a lot more ideas and topics you can talk about to reach people.
Ma’at: Any rappers?
Soundz: Most of the rappers are talkin about the cars, there house, how many women they got. It’s really no positive rappers out there . the ones that are positive you won’t hear on the radio. Like Dead Presidents, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, that’s the nucleus, the real hip-hop. Wu tang, no one is bumpin them no more. I mean there talkin’ about ho whard it is on the streets but sex sells, violence sells….
Ma’at: Is that the industry or consumer’s fault?
Soundz: I think its both based on the fact that it’s a win-win situation for everybody. You got some real gangstas and some studio gangstas. You got some people who act like they hard , they get on the street and they are like, “Damn its like this for real, Take me back to the studio, and Cut another album.”
Ma’at: What is your opinion on hip-hop in the STL?
Soundz: It’s interesting how the politics work,. Its all politics. You gotta be in the in crowd. Like when people throw shows, the same people same clique do the same shows. We need to have a show where there is everybody. So we wouldn’t have this reputation that STL is segregated when it comes to hip-hop. If you wanna get your stuff off the ground, don’t do it in STL, that’s the rap that we got. That’s the kind of rap we got. And I know this for the fact by talkin to people outside the Lou and being outside the Lou. Unless you already part of the clique, it will probably be hard for somebody because you’re not familiar unless you have a poppin CD.
Back in the day, I used to work for this production company (Too Hard Productions), and some of the rappers doin it now like Flip Smoove, JCD, you know. We used to get on the bus, take our CDs. Our shows, our routines, 16 acts and take them out of town. We are signing autographs and they don’t know us from a can of paint. But they liked our music,. They thought we were going to be the next hot thing coming out, Most of them did. I wont say don’t start your stuff in the Lou, I’d say spread yourself out. Make sure you do your stuff at home. If you don’t get the response that you’re lookin or that you think that you deserve, spread yourself out. The world is a much bigger place.
Ma'at: I saw you in action at the Loft when I was observing you at the Loft a few weeks back when I was with you in the dee-jay booth...
Soundz: I pay attention to the crowds.
Ma'at: Even before I approached for this interview, I would say, “Why is he playin all of these slow songs?"(laughs)
Soundz: Really (grins)
Ma'at: Maybe you were doin somethin different than the other dee-jays in the Lou like DJ Nappy Needles or Charlie Chan, whose niche is he plays an old song and then play a newer song that was sampled from the old song. Talk about your regimen when you dee-jay
Soundz: I feel the crowd. If your crowd is whack, you might be whack, St Louis is a hard crowd to move. The format was originally supposed to be (smooth) jazz, with the hip-hop jazz mixed in. I was like, man, I’m not about to do this not one more damn time. Now, these are my people, I’ve been working with them (owners of Jazz Loft) for five years, so this is nothing new. I was like if you want me to play this kind of music I have no problem with it. That’s why it’s called the Jazz Loft Club. I told them if this is what you want for me to play, you should be selective on the people you let in there cause if I have someone in there who is 26, they don’t wanna hear no fuckin’ jazz. So me as a dee-jay and a professional, I know how to read the crowd, so know there used to me. So now there used to me. When I first get there, after the band, I start them off like the band—R&B, stepping, slide and then you step and slide into the party. I do my b-day announcements. What really moves the crowd is the old school. Whether its R&B or rap. The LL, Dougie Fresh era, I have them in the palm of my hand.
I’m a different style of dee-jay. I sued to mix and scratch back in the day, but when I went to college, I just became a music technician because my goal in radio is to be a program director. I know how to play good music in a nice form,-old or new. That’s what I’ve been doin for years and in the clubs. I’ve been holding the Loft down since it opened (in December 2005). It was a much older crowd when it opened up. Now it’s a mix. 25 and older. I spread everything out like cards. I get more personal to the crowd too. What’s your favorite song to hear in the club?
Ma’at: When I’m drunk or not drunk
Soundz: Drunk, fuck it.
Ma’at: Wow, uhm….now you got me on the spot…I would have to say Jay Z, “H-to the Izzo.”
Soundz: Now if you came up to the dee-jay booth and tell me that was your jam, you can not come up in there for a year, you don’t even have to say anything to me, you’ll just hear it. And that’s how I touch people, you say, “That’s my cut. You my boy.” I’m concerned of what they wanna hear than what I wanna hear. I’m hear for them. When I’m on the air, my listeners are my stars. I’m here for them
Ma’at: And when are you on the air?
Soundz: I produce the Michael Baisden Show (On Foxxy 95.5) Monday through Friday, from 2 p.m. to 6p.m. And when I’m on the air, I’m a personality. I got all kind of commercials on there like the BET Awards where I tag it on the end. A lot of TJ Maxx commercials. I use my dee-jay voice.
Ma’at: Have you ever played a song that was very risky just to se eewhat happens and what song was it?
Soundz: I remember playing a current song, Chamillionaire’s “Ridin.” When they first start playin’ it on the radio, I was like, “I like this song. I put it on and they was on it. The Yung Joc song, “I Know you See it.” That was risky. When I see people walkin out, I played it and people say, “hey who is that I like that.” And every week more and more people keep asking me who that is. It’s Yung Joc that is not on the album. Its on the album but he’s rapping with a girl,. But the one I got is just him alone. I’m a risky person. See if you can hang. If not. Keep it movin. I’ll get you on the next song.
Ma’at:Who are your heroes?
Soundz: My heroes? My mother, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye. Uhm, Farrakhan, Huey P Newton, I mean the Black Panthers system and what they stand for today. It’s so needed.
My whole family on my mother’s side- my grandmother and my great great aunt, my father fits in there somewhere on the real.
Ma’at: Future projects or plans?
Soundz: I plan to always be Soundz. When I try to quit, people get mad at me. I wanna move up at the radio station slowly. I wanna learn better when you use your patience. I see myself eventually being on the air., having a very decent show with a lot of listeners and eventually program director or assistant program director however else , the more I learn, the more I wanna climb. Right now that’s enough right now. And I’m staying grounded and humble.
Oh and advice to you young up and coming rappers trying to get Soundz to play your stuff, his advice is “to know the game first, give your stuff away free then try to sell and play it in a year cause he is tired of being bullied and stared down in the club from y’all who don’t know the game.”
For more info on Deevive Soundz go to his website at http://www.deevinesoundz.com/
For more on deevine soundz’ history go to stltoday.com and type in deevine soundz.
Photos courtesy of Ma’atology and http://www.deevinesoundz.com/