Reid Speed is a very important person to me. Her mixes introduced me to Fidget/Electro-House, and I am so happy to share my interview with her!
But first, a little background information…
+ Began spinning in early 1996, NYC
+ By the summer of 1997 she was a resident of Stuck On Earth, a rave promotion company from NY
+ By the summer of 1998 she was a member of Direct Drive, began playing Drum & Bass, + 2-Step and Breaks alongside top U.S. and UK DJ’s/producers
+ RPM director of her college radio station
+ Worked for the U.S.’s first exclusively Drum & Bass store, Breakbeat Science
+ Soon began playing shows in U.S., Puerto Rico, Ireland and Mexico
+ Journeyed to England in 1997 and was inspired by UK Garage to promote her own events. Soon produced her first Garage/2-Step mix, and along with DB and 4.0 Marketing put together several successful 2-step showcases, along with the first UK Garage showcase at the 2000 Winter Music Conference
+ In 2001, Reid Speed had produced 13 mixtapes and one animated short movie for Showtime’s Shonext channel, entitled “Resonance”, released by Breakbeat Science.
+ In support of “Resonance”, Reid Speed embarked on a 40 date tour put on by Mixer Magazine, followed by yet another tour with artists Ming & FS (28 dates in 30 days) across America
+ Moved to LA and started Rude Sound, showcasing UK Garage and Nu School breaks
+ In the summer of 2003, Reid Speed created her second mix for Breakbeat Science entitled “Life After Dark”,inspired by the events of 9/11
+ Also in the summer of 2003, Reid Speed was chosen by Jamie Kennedy to spin on his show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment
+ In 2005, Reid Speed judged BPM Magazine & Rockstar energy drink’s “Beauty & The Beats” contest alongside DJ Rap and Colette. The winner toured with Colette and Reid Speed and appeared on Bravo’s “Blowout”
+ Currently, Reid Speed along with Mark Subsonik runs Play Me Records, which pumps out some nasty 4/4, Electro, Breakbeat, Dubstep and Fidget beats
RS I really can’t say my mindset has changed, I still find no greater rush than rocking an appreciative crowd! But now feel I have to be firm in seeking what is fair to me as an artist who has put X-amount of time, effort & energy into what I do. When I was coming up, I was grateful to have any opportunity to play, and most often it was for free, and a lot of promoters made a lot of money off me before I realized that with more & more people coming to see me, I needed to put a value on my skills.
DD LA has always been up on their club scene. What’s it like being a part of the LA nightlife? How does it differ from your time in NYC?
RS LA has a vast and diverse EDM scene. It dwarfs NYC even in it’s heyday! But I attribute that to a larger geographic area and population. Both cities are lucky enough to have a great selection of music to be able to go out and hear on any given day. I started going out around the tail end of the first wave of rave (if you’ve ever seen Party Monster, that’s the scene I grew up in.) It was surreal and crazy and dangerous, and before long it was over, replaced with the more homogenized rave scene we now know. By the time of the demise of the NYC scene I was already a well-established local DJ working my way out.
DD You introduced me to Fidget/Electro-House, how did you first get exposed to these styles?
RS Fidget/ Bassline Electro House (and even Dubstep) is just a natural progression from the Speed Garage & 2 Step I played in the late 90s. I found out about speed garage on a trip to the UK in 97, and was instantly hooked. Fidget is essentially the same music, 10 years later, with a catchier name!
DD DJ’ing seems very intimidating to people who aren’t familiar with it, did it come naturally? or did it start of slow and progress over time?
RS For me it was very natural. I used to make mixtapes for my friends on cassette as a kid, and once I had been to a rave (I saw DJ Dan) I realized there was a legitimate outlet for what I had been doing my whole life, with the added bonus of being able to reach thousands of listeners at once! It took me 2 years to save enough money to buy all the equipment (2 turntables, needles, slipmats, mixer, amp, speakers, cables, and RECORDS oh my! New DJs have it so easy, they have no idea.) and within a year I was playing out and a resident of the largest rave crew in NYC
DD What were some of your biggest doubts/obstacles as you progressed through the music industry?
RS My biggest obstacle for the longest time was getting people to be open to the many different styles of music i enjoy and wanted to share. In the last 3 years this barrier has disappeared, and everybody plays everything (finally!). Now my biggest issue is understanding how to remain relevant in an endless sea of new sounds and faces….
DD What’s your favorite city to play in?
RS The ones I haven’t been to yet !
DD If you could DJ alongside any artist, who would it be and why?
RS Jim Morrison, if he were still alive….I’d love to ask him to recite poetry over a set. I think he was tuned into frequencies and harmonies that few can understand but that live within us all and guide us invisibly through life….
DD What would you say to all us youngsters who are trying to get into the music world?
RS Practice makes perfect. Always try harder to sound amazing!