2024 DJ Fundamentals: Secrets Revealed

In the vibrant world of DJing, few stories resonate as profoundly as that of Rodney Thomas, known in the circles as DJ Mixtenn. From the soulful streets of Memphis to the bustling scene of Northwest Arkansas, Mixtenn's journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and a deep-rooted love for music.


From Memphis Roots to DJ Stardom:

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Mixtenn was surrounded by a rich tapestry of musical influences. With a family steeped in the love of music and tales of DJing uncles rocking the local scene, it wasn't long before Mixtenn found himself enamored with the art of DJing. He recalls, "Memphis is so heavily into music... it's like you're born with it. My uncles, my pops, they all loved music... and that's how I fell in love with it."


His first known DJ, Uncle Melvin, though never seen live by Mixtenn, left a lasting impact through stories and the vast collection of records scattered throughout the family home. This early exposure laid the foundation for Mixtenn's future in the DJing world.


The Transition and Rise

Making the move to Northwest Arkansas didn't dampen Mixtenn's spirits. Instead, it marked the beginning of an era that saw him embracing and mastering the evolving technology of DJing— from turntables to CDJs, and eventually, to the digital age. "Seeing DJ Derrick with CDJs blew my mind," Mixtenn shares, depicting the moment as a pivotal point in his career.


His relentless pursuit of music, mingled with sheer curiosity and the hunger to stay relevant, propelled him forward. "I was grinding back then," he admits, illustrating the lengths he went to secure the hottest tracks, from rummaging through record stores to negotiating with record labels for the latest hits.


Behind the Scenes: The Life of a DJ

But what does it take to thrive in the unpredictable, often chaotic world of DJing? Mixtenn shares a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs encountered during private events and weddings. From dealing with elaborate requests by clients, like the memorable incident of spotlighting a skit participant with a Coleman flashlight, to the demanding bride who wanted songs played in a specific order— the life of a DJ is anything but mundane.


One intriguing aspect of Mixtenn's career is his adaptability and ability to read the room, a skill that has saved many events from disaster. "Music knowledge is key," he emphasizes, reflecting on an incident where switching to the bride's preferred artists mid-event turned the vibe around. This knack for connection through music selection is what sets Mixtenn apart, ensuring every event is not just another gig but a memorable experience for everyone involved.


Nurturing the Future

Looking forward, Mixtenn voices concerns and hopes for the future of DJing. Amid the rapid technological advancements and the temptation of AI, he stresses the importance of the soul— the human touch that technology cannot replicate. For aspiring DJs, Mixtenn advises, "Dedicate yourself to being good at what you do. Know your music, love it, and always think ahead."


In an era where technology offers shortcuts, Mixtenn stands as a beacon for authenticity, reminding us that at the heart of every great DJ lies not just skill, but a profound love for music, and the dedication to breathe life into every performance.

Written By

Russ Collins

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