The following interview appears in the February 2002 edition of Sonik Magazine (p. 46)
DJ Rob Wegner: Club DJ Class at Scottsdale Community College
by Steven Ratz, Jr.
Quietly at the forefront of the Valley music scene for nearly two decades, DJ Rob Wegner has committed his life to his love of music, and to sharing that love with others. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the former Chicagoan has showcased his skills on the turntables at some of the most legendary clubs in the state. Able to read his dance floor like a book, the versatile Wegner knows when to throw down tracks from house to hip-hop, and his silky smooth mixes always whip his crowd into a frenzy!
Having mastered his craft behind the wheels of steel, Wegner is currently taking his knowledge and skills to the next level. Establishing Discjockey101.com roughly a year ago to help others understand what it takes to be an effective DJ, Wegner has now established an actual college course on the art of DJing at the prestigious Scottsdale Community College.
As a founding member of Power Mix, a music production company dedicated to developing radio mixshows, remixes, and original productions, Wegner's most recent projects include a collaboration with legendary Chicago DJ Bad Boy Bill to produce house tracks, featuring powerful vocals by the Valley's own Megan. In addition, Wegner is bringing the innovative Sugar club night to Voo Doo Lounge every Thursday, transforming the club into a whole new party experience.
Sonik: Tell me what you're trying to do with this DJ school concept?
Rob: While the concept of DJ lessons is not new, it is new in the sense that it hasn't been taught at a public college before. They didn't know what to call it or even have a section number for it. I believe that it's time for DJ skills to be studied at the college/university level. DJ's are legitimate musicians and artists and the university-college system is devised to give people the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from one another - which raises the standard of the artform.
Sonik: What motivated you, personally, to do this?
Rob: I would always get asked about lessons and how to get started as a DJ. I never had an answer. Where do you tell them to go? Most DJ's learn from within the club system - or from friends. Now that it's a profession, it should be taught at the colleges. Since I have a B.S. and M.A., I shouldn't waste this opportunity - and hopefully, open the doors for some other DJ's. I would like to see DJ's become professors. After all, they profess via their music every night.
Sonik: You already had a class last semester, right?
Rob: Last semester was the first time. It was a success and as a result, the class is two weeks longer this semester.
Sonik: Does your class have any required reading?
Rob: I highly recommend Stephen Webber's book, "Turntable Basics," which is available in the SCC bookstore. He wrote an article for my website and is currently writing a book with DJ Radar on scratch composition.
Sonik: What makes you feel that you're qualified to teach this course?
Rob: I learned how to play drums when I was nine. I played in bands until I was 18 and even took symphony percussionist lessons for college credit. A few months after I turned 18, I started drumming to disco at a club - and that's where I learned how to DJ. I've been a DJ ever since - almost 20 years. I also learned how to teach during my graduate work at ASU, as well as answering basic DJ questions on my website.
Sonik: What can somebody expect to get out of your class?
Rob: The class is for beginning DJ's - even though we had experienced DJ's last semester. They should expect to learn basics such as how to bpm a record, beat mixing and the different types of mixing, basic scratching, equipment, formatting and reading a crowd, music sources, etc.
Sonik: So they should be able to understand DJ basics and what it is to be a DJ?
Rob: By the time the class is over, they should have enough knowledge to get started and to decide on a DJ career. It leads to bigger and better things, such as producing, record label work, entertainment attorney, copyright enforcement, etc. Even cruise ships and Club Med needs DJ's. I should mention that SCC has a top-rated music program - from music business courses to music producing/MIDI classes. DJ's make great music producers.
Sonik: I understand that you have a guest speaker program for your class, what is the purpose of that?
Rob: I don't want them to have just my perspective. The students should be exposed to different theories and styles. That's why DJ Radar will be there to discuss scratching, and Timothy Heit, who spoke last semester, will be there to discuss mixing. In my opinion, Tim is one of the best mixers in the U.S. - even Paul Oakenfold called him "the new man" when Tim spun with him at Freedom.
Sonik: So your guest speakers are specialists in their field of spinning? Who is scheduled to speak?
Rob: The guest speaker usually relates to the subject matter of the night. This semester's speaker schedule includes: DJ Emile, who will speak on genres; DJ Radar on scratching; DJ Kevin Brown on touring and music; Timothy Heit on mixing; DJ Shad on mixing with CD players; and I hope that you [Steve Ratz] will speak about the global DJ's that you've interviewed for DMA Magazine.
Sonik: Where have you spun and do you spin anywhere now?
Rob: In the Valley, I've worked at Zazoo when it was "the place to be," Club UM, Club 411, Shepherd's on Sunday nights - when we would bring-in guest DJ's like Chris Flores, Eddie Amador, Z-Trip, AL-III, Inertia, C.L. McSpadden, and Markus Schulz. I co-opened [as a DJ] Axis-Radius with Dave Rajput, who broke Chicago house here in the Valley during the 80's. I worked at Sanctuary, Insomnia, and a bunch of other places. I also co-opened Zone nightclub in Albuquerque, NM. Currently, I spin at Voo Doo Lounge in Scottsdale on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Sonik: Have you worked on any recent projects?
Rob: I spun on the radio in Chicago-Joliet during the summer (WBVS-FM) and I'm collaborating with Bad Boy Bill on a new track that will feature Valley vocalist Megan.