Published on August 8th, 2012 | by As-Is0
Camp Spinoff 2012
The 6 days I’ve been home since returning from Camp Spinoff feel like 2 weeks in comparison to the 4 days I spent in Ojai for the camp itself.
The strangest part about that statement is that while those four awesome days (which I am going to attempt to recap in the following paragraphs) went by so quickly, it felt like I had been gone for a month when I woke up from the 4 hour nap I took the afternoon upon returning home.
Before I go any further; With my limited vocabulary and writing abilities there is no way I can properly express what Camp Spinoff is really like nor can I list all the awesome activities/guests/stories that filled our days. Instead I will share a few stories that are still fresh in my head.
(Photo Credits to Johnny Varsity)
We(Staff) arrive at Camp in the early afternoon and get our cabin assignments and eargly await the arrival of our 40 campers. I have 7 boys in my cabin ages 13-14 I deem them “Team TCB“. Which of course is an acronym for “Take Care (of) Business”.(Because that’s what my boys do. TCB all day err day). We all give basic intros (i.e who are you, where you from, blabadeeblaba). After that I decide we should each share an interesting story about ourselves. I told them it doesn’t have to be true, just interesting. While each of them shared very good stories one in particular was the most memorable. It involved one of my campers getting pimp slapped by a monkey when he was eight years old and having to get a bunch of rabies shots.*
From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t take long for kids with common interests to become friends and we are all there for the same thing(DJing), so TEAM TCB was tight by 12 o’clock.
Next were introductions with the rest of the staff,instructors and other cabins. We played some fun games together including a group singing challenge where each cabin had to come up with songs that contained a specific word in the lyrics and sing it as a group. (I must note that team TCB was robbed in this event but that is a story for another day.)
After Dinner Karen Bowler of The Music Trust spoke about the business side of managing DJ’s followed by group skits. The group I was in performed an epic and thought-provoking melodrama about musical warfare for wold domination led by the fearsome General Abassi(it means god in swahili) on one side and captain 2 Chainz on the other. One reviewer said “It was the best thing I ever saw in my whole life” but again my group was robbed of it’s deserved victory. But I digress…….
We followed that up with a viwing of the first part of the documentary “Scratch” which always gets me fired up and I believe it did for the kids as well.
Classes started after breakfast. There are 3 classes each day. Scratch Class taught by the dynamic duo of Montez & Rob Shot aka Hall an Oates, Remixing/Abelton with DJ Serafin, and Traktor Digital DJing with Pricilla.
After lunch a guest arrived that had the counselors more geeked than the kids. DJ Riz. If you don’t know who Joseph Rizzo aka “the pipe” aka DJ Riz is: 1.) Punch yourself in the head. 2.) take a minute to google him so you will better understand why it was an honor to have him with us.
Days were not only filled with DJ classes. We are on a campground so during free time there were plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. Including basketball, climbing wall, zip line, skatepark, human foosball, ping-pong or just hanging out. I taught some dice games as well.(we did not gamble with money).
The Guest DJs for night 2 were DJ Costik and Steve1der of the Screen Werks video DJing collective. Along with being my good friends(yeah I’m cool with famous Djs come at me) these are two of the premier video DJs in the world. They both put down excellent video sets that had all the kids and staff clapping, laughing, ooh & aweing, and cheering. If you aren’t familiar with there work… take a brief moment to see some of what they do.
After having their minds blown visually and musically by Costik and Steve1der it was time for them to have their minds blown again by hearing about the business side of Djing at the highest level. We headed to the campfire where Jonathan Shecter aka Shecky Green who is director of programming for the Wynn Las Vegas nightclubs(XS, Tryst) as well as a Hip-Hop media pioneer. He spoke about the business landscape of dance music and DJing in Las Vegas.(Read Up on Shecky as well) This was followed by S’Mores and then back to cabins for “lights Out”. Why campers couldn’t fall asleep right away I can’t imagine???
After breakfast campers were off to the second day of classes. Where they began filming a music video for each of the groups productions in the ableton/remix class. While morning classes were taking place counselors usually went off to get their caffeine fix at Starbucks. It was there where we got to hang out and chop it up with Riz. As it turns out he is a regular human that also drinks coffee. Or was it tea?
After Lunch was one of my favorite moments of Camp… When you have a group of teenagers in one place who all love music enough that they want to DJ, naturally there will be music everywhere. Laptops, portable speakers, and even backpacks we’re bumping music all week. Often we would make our kids turn off their music during meals because we shared the campground with 2 other groups(not DJ Related) that we ate our meals with. After lunch the music went back on and a dance party broke out in the dining area with our campers and a few groove happy strays from another group. It was quite a scene. This post meal dance off evolved into a full blown Soul Train line.
Following the last class of the day was the first of 2 pool parties. This does not require much in the way of explanations. Sun+ Pool + Redbulls + DJ Sets from Riz & Counselors = Best Time in the world. The photos tell it better than I can.
That evening the DJ duo known as “The Captains Of Industry” which consist of Graham Funke and Stonerokk arrived. These two mavericks brought sophistication, elegance, and more laughs than I can even begin to explain to our camp grounds. Again…. if you are not familiar with the Captains: 1.) Shame on you 2.) take a moment to explore their work in cyber space.
After dinner we watched a screening of the film Re:Generation. This film is worthy of it’s own post but the long and short of it is: 5 well known DJ/producers are given a music genre and asked to recreate it in their own way while still holding true to it’s essence. It is a fantastic film. While watchng it I had another moment that really stuck with me. It was a case of art imitating life, imitating art squared. What I mean is there were essentially 3 generations of DJs in one room watching a film about 3 generations of DJ/musicians creating music together. If you try to figure out all the levels and depth in that scenario your brain might explode. Watch the film and it’ll make a little bit more sense.
After the film we had q&a with the creative director of the film Nick Davidge followed by another round of s’mores. Again I can’t understand why my cabin didn’t go right to sleep after lights out??
Wed(Day 3): The last full day
We bid farewell to Riz who we all agreed is the illest dude of all time.(It was unanimous)
After lunch the captains gave a rousing talk about their DJ history and perspective on the art which included Stonerokk comaring himself to both Michael Jordan and Martin Scorsese. Graham Funke recounted tales of curing maleria abroad. They also talked about DJing and laced all the campers with ‘Captains of Industry’ calendars, chapstick, and stickers.
Pool Party # 2.) Featured Sets from Evil One and Myself followed by The Capts. Again photos do the pool party more justice than words. Conga Line around the pool was in full effect.
While waiting for it to get dark we watched each groups music video(made in the Abelton/Remix Class) and guest speaker Samantha Ronson picked the winner. These videos/songs were produced, shot, edited and finished in 3 days. They were all outstanding. This one was the winner though.
Now it was time for the big one (Pause)… The farewell Party under the stars. Ahhhh. The excitement!!! This is where 6 turntables were setup on the stage and all of the staff and campers Djed, danced, took photos with mustaches(still not sure who brought a bag of mustaches?), and raged like maniacs for 2 hours under the stars.
This is my favorite part of the whole week. It’s ultimately the culmination of what DJ Camp is all about and we all were a part of it together. Collectively each of us were headlining DJs, dancers, patrons, and most importantly friends having fun. That’s what it’s all about right? This was one of the best nights of my whole year. I can’t say for sure but I suspect and hope it was for the kids as well.
Following the farewell party (which I’m sure could have gone in to the wee hours of the morning if we didn’t share the camp) we went on a flashlight-less night hike. The plan was to have some strategically placed staff jump out and scare the kids. We failed miserably. As is camp tradition we had McDonalds waiting in every cabin for them when they got back.
It’s not a suprise that this is the night everyone stays up the latest campers & counselors alike. I think the reason is the same for both. When you close your eyes you know the next time you open them it’ll be time to go home. After 4 days like the ones we just had you can imagine why they might not be ready to go home just yet. I hope that they all felt like that a little bit because that means we did our job.
I don’t know if DJing attracts a certain type of personality, there was a vigorous screening process, or we just got lucky because these were some of the coolest young people I’ve ever been around. I don’t spend that much time with teenagers so if I can only judge them based on the kids of camp Spinoff 2012 I feel pretty good about the next generation of DJs and people.
I’m going to be 30 years old in a little more than a month. That means I am double the age of most of these kids. Spending 4 days with people that much younger than you can either make you feel old or young. That’s entirely up to you….
As for myself. I’ll let the song tell it….. “Tonight. We are young. So I set the world on fire and we can burn brighter than the sun.
All the Campers. Team TCB 2012(Cas, Slade, Logan, Ira, Aden, Dylan, & Jalen). Team TCB 2011 (Josh, Stimmel, Timmy B). All the counselors Crykit, Lezlee, Dazzler, Marcus, Paul Printz, Evil One and Josh Gainey. Montez, Rob Shot, Johnny Varsity, pricilla, keoni, Marcellous, Shakee, Riz, Stone, Graham, Five, DLux. Julie for doing more work than I’ve ever done in my life and everyone else I’m forgetting like a dunski.
And of course Tina for her vision. Thank you for letting me be a part of this again.
*I still don’t know if this was a true story
** This is an “Industry” term for the time of night when we turn the lights off in the cabins