“Donnie, I love you man. I want to ALMOST blow a speaker but I don’t want to blow one. Make it feel like someone is punching you in the face!” LT Johnson says to me from across the room as he is getting ready to go on stage. He likes his tracks to be LOUD and his vocals to be LOW in the mix. He (like a LOT of rappers these days) prefers to have his main vocals supported by the track. This frees him up for performing. He loves to perform. These shows are his life and you can tell.
The Outland Bar is full of people standing , drinking, and waiting for LT to go on. This is an early evening rap showcase featuring some of the areas favorite rappers. Right about the time LT says that bit about turning it up, 50 or so heads swing around to see me behind the soundboard making the “I love you” sign toward LT with my hands.
I’ve been working at Outland for a while now. Closing in on 5 years or so. I see a lot of the same faces month after month. A lot of these guys like LT become very familiar. We have all been through a lot together. And in the thick of it, we all experience the same stresses and reliefs in order to make sure that the show goes on. A lot of rapport gets built over the years in a music community. It’s easy to forget that the “average Joe” member-of-the-concert-going-public may not know these folks’ names and stories.
They’re too busy dancing and enjoying the atmosphere.
This is the part where we bring in Andrew Minter. He’s a 25 year old DJ and if you’ve ever been to one of LT’s events, then you have probably seen him behind the “1s and 2s”.
Behind LT on stage, Andrew is working various knobs and dials, triggering the “rap horn” and accentuating the positive vibe of the night. Andrew is great at keeping the mood of the room upbeat. It’s obvious that this ability comes from experience on stage. You can tell by his body language that Andrew is comfortable keeping the pulse of the party alive.
“I got into all this almost by accident…” Andrew explains to me at the end of the night. I’m scribbling notes on a Best Western hotel notepad I found on stage after the show. Andrew is packing up his DJ gear. “…I started out working in the music production side of things.” In fact, I met Andrew years ago at a recording studio where we both worked. He and a team of artists were tasked with making beats for the company’s online market.
One day, “A friend of mine said that they needed an event DJ. That was three years ago. I told him plain and simple, I said ‘I don’t DJ’… I wanted the money though so… thankfully I was a fast learner… haha.” “Here I am three years later and I’ve ran shows for Ace Hood, Young Dolph, and NBA YoungBoy.”
Andrew will be working a show with Blac Youngsta on June 15 in Kansas City.