Neil Armstrong the DJ, not the astronaut, so don’t get it twisted. A member of the almighty turntablist crew of 5th Platoon and member of 2-time Grammy nominated jazz band- Russell Gunn and Ethnomusicology, this Gemini recently have been backing the Hova, Jay-Z at his Fade to Black tour as his main DJ for the past months. He’s been DJing for 12 frickin’ years now and has made mixtapes that are well enough to be called classics. JUICE couldn’t miss the opportunity to chat with him and of course, get one degree away from Jiggaman.
Text Kevin Yeoh
So, Jay-Z’s DJ huh? That must make you even more popular and in demand now.
I don’t know if it has made me more popular, but I’ve definitely had the opportunity to perform for a lot more people around the world. We performed in front of over 100,000 people at the Glastonbury festival in the UK.
Your crew, 5th Platoon, has reached its 10th anniversary. What did you do to sustain it?
Just branding everything I do with the name, so people always associate my projects with the collective.
Do you remember your first ever mixtape?
1st official solo mixtape was called Original, which I made back in 2000. It still sells to this day. Before that my name was on a tape called “In the Trenches” that I did with my partner DJ Daddy Dog, but I barely did anything on it. Besides that, I guess I was making compilation tapes since I was a kid. Always liked music and I used to go through walkmans every 3 weeks because I listened to them so much.
How different are mixtapes back in the days compared to now?
Hmm, I don’t think they are that different in the overall scheme of things. People put music together that they want to hear. I guess now there is an industry built around it though that has allowed people to make careers out if it.
What do you listen to besides Hip Hop and R&B?
A lot of everything, which is one of my claims to fame…
Do you think it’s important for DJs to have turntable skill in order to be called a DJ?
Hmmm… Not necessarily. Often times, people who are very skilled at scratching and cutting are not very good at playing parties, and vice versa. A lot of the popular party, DJs can’t cut or do tricks. I’d say both groups are DJ’s. I am fortunate, that I have found a place on both sides of the fence.
Where’s the wildest party you have ever played at?
I would have to say Stockholm Sweden but I can’t really give many details, but use your imagination.
What are your guilty pleasures?
A lot of the music I listen to can be deemed bad or embarrassing- cheesy 80’s music, soft 70’s- Air Supply and Lionel Richie… stuff like that.
How does it feel to share the same name as the famous astronaut?
I don’t know… I was actually named Neil by my parents after Neil Armstrong… so having the DJ name always made sense.
What would you be if you weren’t a DJ?
I actually had a normal job at an investment banking firm and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. I would probably be climbing the corporate ladder.
What would you do if you woke up as a woman?
Stare at myself in the mirror all day nekkid probably. Never really thought about that…
Neil Armstrong performed at Ghetto Heaven at Zouk mainroom on 14th August. Check out more Neil and his 5th Platoon crew at www.myspace.com/5thplatoonturntablistcrew