I have wanted to shed some light on the DJ’s here in Sacramento for without them we would never have that wonderful escape on the dance floor, the sweat beading down our forehead from the body heat they produce inside of us. Our musical wonderland is created by the very tips of their fingers for this I thank each one of them. So it only makes sense to bring to you, Capitol City Soul readers, the minds and souls of our very own vinyl junkies. I will give you all a peak inside these beautiful minds to reveal their passionate love for music. This interview is the first of many more to come. Without further a due, I would like to introduce: Lem “Bishop” Wherry.
Q: What/who were your musical influences growing up?
A: I think life in general was my musical influence because I needed an outlet and life provided fodder for musical content. Initially I was looking for something cathartic. Art and Music.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: There are too many to name only because I listen to so many varieties of music, but who instantly comes to mind is Thom Yorke from Radiohead, David Bowie, early Prince, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis & Pete Rock.
Q: Tell me a little history/background on your journey of becoming a DJ?
A: The DJ thing came right out of high school. I would go to parties/clubs and wonder why DJs weren’t playing danceable music that wasn’t on the radio, that I knew of and how great it would be to expose it to the masses; to the unknowing. I soon realized that people here like to remain oblivious and are “band wagoners,” people who only dance to music they are familiar with from the radio. Popular music from popular artists.
My first DJ set were 2 belt drive turntables and a lil Gemini mixer with a sampler in it. I bought them from this kid from my job at the time. From there it was house parties, poetry spots, an occasional venue here and there, and piggy backing off of the resident DJs and even joining a band (my scratching was horrible). There was one a point where I took a 3 year hiatus, because it was too much of a hassle to haul the records and the under appreciation of REAL music I was spinning. I would still buy vinyl and spin in house; I am a hardcore fan of the turntable/vinyl so that would never die. But when Serato came out I thought “this is great”. I didn’t to haul 4 crates but have a pocket sized external hard drive and this buffet of excellent MP3s to choose from. Plus I was really anxiousness about getting this new music I was sitting on to the masses, it was raging inside of me. I had to expose people, I HAD TO.
Q: What is the sound you look for or genre you prefer to spin and why?
A: Sound? I look for songs with good content and music. I look for substance in the words. I appreciate all forms of music that I feel I honor them by spinning it. Genre? The two I prefer to play is Soul and Alternative indie rock. But I like to spin all the genres; r&b, soul, hip hop, rock, house, electro, dance, goth, dub step, reggae dancehall.
Q: What are your thoughts on the fuse of music here in Sacramento?
A: I’m very pessimistic when it comes to music from Sacramento. MOST of it is not innovative, it’s not original, its not push the envelope good. Now, there are a handful of artists out here who I really like, because the “sound” is there and they don’t limit themselves. It seems (to me) once we get those kinds of people, we lose them to LA, NY, SF or London. There are a few creative people who are here and those few who support, they do exist; just not enough. We just don’t have as many people. I also think the “hustle” isn’t there. Artists in LA and SF have it easy (so to speak) because if they do a show they have a bigger chance of getting seen by an A&R rep. The competition is so good, inspiring, and the celebrity power is vibrant and they can definitely build a healthy indie buzz. Sac doesn’t have that. We, in our lil cities, have to rely on the net mostly. Rarely, do artists get that they have to tour and do lil shows and gigs in the big cities to make some noise, GET OUT OF SAC. You got to have that hustle and too many people out here don’t have it. They’ll do 5 lil shows here in which their friends are in the audience hootin and hollerin for them, develop Sac-Big-Head and think that’s it, I’m a star, and I rocked the stage. No buddy, you didn’t, you didn’t do sh*t.
Q: In one word describe the Sacramento music scene? (In all of its forms: DJs, clubs, shows, mcs, bboys, art etc)
We definitely have people who are true to the art. We just don’t have enough people to support it. The DJs are talented, the shows are here, the local MCs (I like) are great, B-Boying is forever recycling itself out here, and the art (graffiti, digital, illustrative) is substantial. But some how it doesn’t seem enough. I think it’s under appreciated out here. We have a lot of artists who are great but I feel they get deferred or distracted because the attention and support isn’t here. They get stuck at that 9 to 5 job because it’s so easy. It’s the easy way out, like going to the military. If u live in LA, there is so much inspiration out there with the galleries and other artists, they have art/writing workshops (sac does too), and just a bigger appreciation for every genre, every culture. It’s amazing out there. Sacramento has the artists, DJs, venues, but where are the (open minded) heads??? We don’t have that support. We don’t have that closeness.
Sacramento I have to say this and will probably say it over and over again. Support your own! Our people need to be seen and heard, support each other in your crafts, raise the appreciation bar and move toward the next level. To keep our artists in all their forms stationed here in Sacramento we must come together and build with each other, word of mouth people word of mouth.