When DJ Esquire first became interested in DJing, in the early 1990s, it wasn't just the hot mixes and scratches that drew him to the turntable. "My biggest influences early on were girls," he admits. "They were my inspiration." But when he started getting into DJing in high school, just as a hobby, he fell in love…with mixing. Moving on to college, he joined his school's radio station, started collecting the records, and buying videos of his DJ heroes Roc Raida (the late Anthony Williams) and The X-Ecutioners, among other prominent battle DJs from the New York City area, and began mixing at parties.
Still, DJ Esquire looked at his DJing as "still kind of a hobby because you're supposed to be in college to learn something, not to DJ." It wasn’t until about 10 years ago, still heavily influenced by battle DJs, that he entered the world of competitive DJing. As he built up a following and started touring, he eventually found himself at the Scratch DJ Academy where, about seven years ago, the school tapped him as a DJ for events in stores and at festivals. Eventually, the DJ Academy brought him on as an instructor, teaching many of the school’s one-on-one and scratching classes. "At this point, I’m pretty much a full-time instructor here," says DJ Esquire.
DJ Esquire is currently testing Stanton's latest turntable, the STR8.150, which first caught his eye at this year's DMC World DJ Competition. Trying out one of the STR8.150s at the event, he was impressed with its stability. "You always have the worry, especially when using vinyl, of having a record skip," he says. "I did not have that problem at all. It's a heavy turntable, durable and has a lot of features that a performance DJ can utilize."
DJ Esquire also likes the STR8.150's key correction and reverse features, along with its extended pitch options. The turntable features a pitch adjustment range of up to 50 percent. "From a performance standpoint and almost a production kind of thought process, the extended pitch options really make it stand out," he says.
Also part of DJ Esquire's arsenal is Stanton's M.207 two-channel mixer, which features FXGlide™, a unique user interface for controlling effects. A continuous strip touch controller utilizing the same innovative touch-slider technology as Stanton's SCS.3d MIDI controller, the FXGlide features real-time performance capabilities and can be automated in real-time. This allows the DJ to create a custom modulation of the FX parameter, and then have that play back instead of the normal sweeping FX.
"The M.207 has a lot of very accessible filters. If I'm using digital systems, I don’t have to filter it through the computer, I can just go right through the console," says DJ Esquire. "Especially if I'm using vinyl, it’s something I can just trigger off immediately right on the console and enhance my vinyl display. I'm just now getting used to it and putting it through its test functions and really, it has cool features that I'm interested in breaking through and seeing how I can use it in my everyday performance."
When he's not teaching, DJ Esquire still competes in DJ battle competitions, most recently winning the DMC Battle for USA Supremacy Championship. He also competed at this year's DMC World DJ Finals in London (placing in the top 4) and at the IDA World DJ Finals in Poland, placing 6th. Having traveled extensively as part of his career, he has noticed more opportunities than ever for people to get into the DJ game.
"Where I came from, if I wanted to really learn how to DJ back when I was coming up, I'd have to know a DJ or go see someone live or maybe train with a VHS tape," he says. "Now, there are so many more outlets to access this information, whether it's from a vinyl perspective or, now, this whole digital DJing format. I'm not saying people should go out and buy a laptop and buy a hard drive and think they’re a DJ—that doesn’t fly with me. But if you're taking the right steps, learning how to mix and scratch properly, and then making your way into that digital world, that's great."