The fact that DJ Justin Sheppard is the son of a drifter makes sense
when you consider the smooth, supple soulfulness he brings to his
spinning. That he's also got a degree in computer science, however,
might not make as much sense, especially when you consider just how
dizzying he is. But this is the 21st century, and even the most
hedonistic among us must be completely comfortable with the soul of
And "hedonistic" is what Sheppard calls his style
of night sounds. And what's wrong with putting pleasure at the
forefront of everything you do?
It was just such a pursuit which brought Sheppard down to South Beach
from Pittsburgh in the first place. Keen on music, and needing to be
closer to a more thriving scene, Sheppard shuffled out of the Rust Belt
and straight to the center of the action. But he didn't immediately
jump into spinning. In fact, he scoped out and swung with the swingers
for three years before he ever spun in a club. But when Sheppard
finally did make his move, it was made magic.
The night was a
Sunday, and the setting was Suite. Deep Dish protégé Cedric Gervais and
SFP Records spin-man Ivano Bellini were already in residence. But the
club had dug what Sheppard and done with his house parties at the
Flamingo, and decided to give him a crack at the tables. Two weeks
later Sheppard got bumped up to weekend resident.
He would go
on to hold that residency for two years. Along the way there have been
similar stands at Prive and Mansion, as well as a monthly at Envy, in
San Diego's Ivy Hotel. That's not to mention those long-running Casa
Casuarina pool parties, which brought in the likes of Gabriel &
Dresden, Kurd Maverick, Danny Freakazoid, JJ Flores, and Armand Pena as
guests on the decks. Those events blew up so much that he and his
partner Miguel Valenzuela had to move the party to the Raleigh and
rename it Therapy.
But bio bits are nothing but factoids if you
don't give 'em some spin, and Sheppard's sheer dedication to the sexy
of song is about as sinful as it gets. The Whitest Boy Alive slips out
of his "Golden Cage," Shik Stylko "Catch[es] the Beat," and Namito
makes sure "This is What You Need."
Like the man says, it's
all about the hedonism, a school of thought that tracks back to
Democritus and goes down each and every weekend under Sheppard's watch
at Hed Kandi and Segafredo South Pointe. With a slate of his own
original productions about to be unleashed by the Rhythm Freak, the
weekends are only gonna get wilder. Can you feel it?
DJ Justin Sheppard's Current Top Five:
1. "Access The Future," Andy Chatterley
2. "This Is What You Need," Namito
3. "Beniras," Nima Gorji
4. "Undernaples," Gianni Pellachia
5. "Music is the Answer(Gabriel Vezzola Remix)," Celeda and Danny Tenaglia
DJ Justin Sheppard. Fridays at Segafredo South Pointe, Miami Beach. Saturdays at Hed Kandi, South Beach. www.myspace.com/djjustinsheppard