Monday, March 17, 2014

FTA Spotlight: Joanna O: V001

From the Annex [FTA] is embark on a new adventure in showcasing the DMV's finest. To start this adventure off, we traveled down to Richmond Virginia.

JOANNA O.
Turnstyle / Richmond, VA



Joanna has been playing vinyl records for underground dance music enthusiasts since 1998.
Her vinyl boutique - Turnstyle has been serving up the fresh underground musical selections in downtown Richmond since 2003. You can hear her live every Saturday night on her FM radio show "Frequency" on 97.3FM at 7pm (since 2005), and monthly in front of Turnstyle for the First Fridays Artwalk.
Joanna has held down many dj residencies, and produced quite a few great weeklies, monthlies, and festivals in Richmond VA over the last decade. She has played at many diverse venues, ranging from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, to art galleries, nightclubs, festivals, and lounges. In the past couple of years, her liquid dnb sets have travelled along the East Coast with sets at Konkrete Jungle DC @ UStreet Music Hall (DC), Cadence @ Flash (DC), Telluric Activity @ The Knitting Factory (NYC), Remedy @ Tamanny Hall (NYC), and Stamina Sundays (San Francisco) to name a few.
Her fine track selection and technical mixing skills have earned her spots alongside many notable dance music greats, both in and out of state. Not just a pretty face behind the decks…she is known for her smooth + sweet drum n bass sounds.
http://turnstyleonline.com
http://mixcloud.com/joannao
http://soundcloud.com/joannao


[FTA] So what was the inspiration to start Turnstyle Records?
[Joanna O] Turnstyle provides urban necessities for the turntable lifestyle. My partner Jesse and I opened Turnstyle in 2003, while I was a full time student studying fashion at VCU. I was 23 and super ambitious apparently. I felt there was a void in the market in RVA and Turnstyle could help fill that.
There was a need to share our specific vision, and people got that at the time. Plus, I needed a place to get the music and clothing I loved, so Turnstyle the store was born. It’s been an interesting ride in the last ten years. I’ve learned a lot and wouldn’t change a thing!


 

[FTA] Have you always been in the same location? How much has the area
 change since you moved in?
[Joanna O] Turnstyle has been located in the Jackson Ward, Downtown Arts District of Richmond, VA since its inception in 2003. You can visit the brick & mortar location at 102 West Broad Street or shop online at turnstyleonline.com.

The area that the shop is located in has recently seen a rise in residential loft spaces, new restaurants, independent boutiques, record stores, and art galleries. You could have classified the neighborhood as a bit ghetto back in 2003, but in 2014…not so. There is valet parking for restaurants by the shop now. It’s definitely become more of fancy area. It’s been fun to watch the neighborhood grow. 
 

[FTA] How many years have you been in business?
[Joanna O] Turnstyle will be celebrating its 11 Year anniversary in June 2014. Time flies!


[FTA] What has been the most rewarding part of owning Turnstyle Records?

[Joanna O] Meeting like-minded people from all over the place,  and being able to personally help people find exactly what they are looking for whether it’s music or fashion.

It’s also pretty cool to go out to events and hear sets by my customers, from purchases I helped them with at the store. It comes full circle - from me initially sifting through tons of music available at my distributors, to buying selected titles, to selling them, and then hearing them played around RVA. It’s pretty sweet!


[FTA] How do you feel about Turnstyle being a corner stone of Richmond club culture?
[Joanna O] That’s super nice! Thanks, but I never have a minute to stop and think about that. I just do what I love and try to share the old school vibes to the next generation. It may look like it’s an easy life, but it’s not. There’s always a lot of things to happening at once to keep it moving.  




[FTA] You’re a DJ, Record Store Owner, and a local fixture on WRIR 
independent radio... did I miss anything?
[Joanna O] Hmm, well I have a pretty vast collection of rave street wear styles that I’ve been collecting that range from 1996 to present. I got a fashion degree from VCU, and have a definite love for underground fashion. I guess you could say I may be a rave street wear hoarder (an organized one).

I also take care of all the music buying & selling at Turnstyle. As well as the marketing, event bookings / production, and web content for the turnstyleonline.com site. I wear many hats, but DJ’ing is definitely one of my favorite titles. It’s fun to make people dance! 


[FTA] When did you first want to become a DJ?
[Joanna O] I can’t say that I set out to “become a dj”, I always loved dancing at parties, and dj’ing was the next logical progression for me. I still love to get my dance on! When I’m not spinning, the dance floor is where you can find me. Drop it down!



[FTA] Have you always been a Drum & Bass DJ? If not what did you play before Drum & Bass?
[Joanna O] I started playing drum & bass in 2005. Prior to that my sound ranged from funky breaks into uk breaks. I won’t play anything but drum & bass now. It moves my soul. I love it!




[FTA] What do you look for in a track when you’re pulling your set together?
[Joanna O] I don’t necessarily look for something specific in individual tracks, per say. But if it’s a club / event set, I like to pull tracks for the appropriate time in the night that I’m going to playing. It’s helpful to know who plays before you & after and pick music based on the flow of the event.  If I’m opening up for a headliner, I will obviously not pull tracks that artist just released…as they should be able to bang those out. It’s nice to pull tracks that are not all out bangers, but a progression of beats that flow & set up the person spinning after you. Play what you love and you can never go wrong.


[FTA] What was your first record you bought?
[Joanna O] I’m not sure about that one, probably a horrific trance track from the mid-nineties that some record store employee pulled from the back stock they couldn’t get rid of, but could sell to a beginner girl DJ. Funny, but true. However, there are three records that were given to me early on that are worth mentioning:

Icee – Tricks Theme (Zone Recordings)
Sandals – Feet (FFRR)
Taylor – Anomoly (Music Now)


[FTA] Where have you played out?
[Joanna O] Oh Wow. Lots of places! That would be a rather long list, since I started playing out in 1998. But it’s always fun to play in NYC. The vibe in that city is pretty amazing. I’ve played Tammany Hall a few times, and opened for Furney (GoodLooking, UK) at the Knitting Factory for the Telluric Activity night. Last year I played UStreet Music Hall in DC & Flash DC, which were super fun gigs. On a non EDM related event tip, I played an event for a Women in Technology Conference that was hosted by Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post), and did a cool art event for Hennessey in RVA hosted by graffiti king Futura 3000. That was pretty crazy & fun. 

I just got back from playing some West Coast shows. The Stamina Sunday’s DNB night in San Francisco was super fun to play!   Great sound, good vibes, and stellar lineups at this weekly thrown by Lukieno (of the Bachelors of Science) & Jamal. I can’t wait to go back!


[FTA] Where do you want to play?
[Joanna O] I would love to cross the pond and hit some UK spots. Most of my music comes from there. 




[FTA] What do you say to any DJ trying to get started?
[Joanna O] Play whatever medium you want, always play what you love and not what you think others want to hear you play. Be true to you. It’s also helpful to have your own equipment to practice on. Play often and watch others that have been at it for longer than you. You’d be surprised at what you can pick up from veteran DJ’s just by watching and even asking questions.
 

[FTA] Do you have any upcoming gigs where the FTA audience can check you out?
[Joanna O] YES! I’m really excited to be throwing down at Flash in DC alongside LTJ BUKEM on Thursday, March 27th. For me that’s super exciting. The event is a monthly called “Cadence”, and Flash has a Funktion One Sound System that will be booming!


[FTA] In closing would you like to say anything to FTA audience?
[Joanna O] Thanks for the super cool opportunity to share all the above. Hope to see you on a dancefloor soon. Much love! And… drum & bass!...let’s keep it jazzy!