August 6, 2004 in Seven

DJ Brainchild puts spin on Unity

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Amanda Smith photo

James Singleton, aka Brainchild, is a turntable DJ who spins R&B, funk, jazz old-school hip-hop and dance hall music.
(Full-size photo)

DJ Brainchild’s seven essential albums:

“Paul’s Boutique,” Beastie Boys

“In Our Lifetime,” Marvin Gaye

“In Control,” Marley Marl

“Vibrations,” Roy Ayers

“Me and Joe,” Rodney O and Joe Cooley

“Computer World,” Kraftwerk

Anyone can spin vinyl on a turntable.

And with a little practice, manipulating records to make that “wokka-wokka” sound isn’t rocket science.

But the real art of being a DJ is getting people to dance. In a place like Spokane, if you’re not a Top 40 DJ, it’s not only an art, it’s a feat of mythic proportions, almost like teaching cats to read and write, rabbits to ties shoe laces or rocks to swim the butterfly stroke.

DJ Brainchild, aka James Singleton, knows too well the challenges of getting Spokane clubheads on the dance floor. He’s among the elite DJs in Spokane who are able to use blends of old-school b-boy, funk, current hip-hop, R&B and psychedelic rock to consistently succeed in packing the dance floor, despite audience reluctance.

Part of that comes from years of crowd-rocking experience and developing that tasty ear for magnetizing music, the 22-year-old wax worker said.

“When you live in Spokane and you figure out what people like, you have to mix that in with other stuff. So I might end up playing some Rolling Stones and Eurythmics to hook people in,” Brainchild said. “In town, the hip-hop scene is made up of mostly a white crowd, and historically they are less prone to dancing than a more diverse crowd – except hippies.”

Along with DJ Grand Groove, Brainchild will spin records throughout the day Saturday for what promises to be an ultra-diverse crowd, by Spokane standards, at Unity in the Community at Liberty Park (see cover story on page 12). Other acts include hula dancing, Middle Eastern dancing, Salsa dancing and Brazilian and gospel music.

Brainchild, often in cahoots with DJs Grand Groove and Spince, has a solid reputation as a DJ in Spokane. He is best known for the Butter house parties – a chaos of confetti from emcee freestyle ciphers and don’t-stop-the-body-rock rump-shakers – he and Spince have been hosting for the past few years.

A DJ with eight years of party-bouncing credibility, Brainchild, who used to play drums for local funk-rock outfit Rand Univac, also produces hip-hop beats and plays jazz drums for an informal project he recently launched.

More a mixing DJ than an exhibitionist, Brainchild, who is also a journalism student at Whitworth College, got his start as a DJ for a hip-hop group in Austin, where he opened for acts such as Hieroglyphics, The Roots and Cappadonna.


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