Digging With… DJ Root Boi

If you could please introduce yourself. Where are you from and how long have you lived here?

My name is Drew, I perform as “DJ ROOT BOI.” I lived in Dallas, TX until I was 8 and then moved to the DC area where I lived until 2013. I’ve been in Raleigh for 7 years now. I LOVE IT! COVID-19 has changed everything, but I have no doubt that downtown will once again come alive and be a vibrant scene.

I think the first time I saw you playing records was at a party at Person Street Bar years ago.  I was so stoked about it.  You had a great selection and I was really hoping they’d continue to have events like that but they never really did, unfortunately. Why do you think that is? Do you recall that event? 

YEAH MAN! I think that was “Bike Prom,” an event that was put on by Oak City Cycling Project and Oaks and Spokes. Everyone dressed up in wild throwback outfits, rode bikes around downtown and then arrived to party at PSB. That was a rad evening, I had a blast. Person Street Bar tends to go for a consistent vibe and I’m not sure that live DJ’ing was it, but I’d definitely do it again!

You were rocking with two Technics 1200’s I believe and all vinyl that night.  Have you ever gone digital? Why or why not? What’s your setup like?

Two turntables and a microphone my man, you KNOW IT! I’ve always stuck to spinning strictly vinyl. I’m not against digital at all. That opens up a ton of possibilities, techniques (pun intended) and capabilities. I just prefer to keep it analog. I have my mixer and two tables in my coffin then PA speakers and some cables. Simple and ready to rock. Records are heavy as sh*t though.

Do you still collect vinyl? Where in the area do you go digging for vinyl? 

Yessir! I spend most of my time at Hunky Dory these days but shout out to the Pour House Record Store, Sorry State, Record Krate, Schoolkids and Nice Price (bummed they shut down their Jr. store which was right down the street from my house, damn COVID).

What type of music would you say you collect most and how many records do you think you own?

The foundation of my collection and the basis of my stage name was based on Roots Reggae (ROOT) and 90s Hip-Hop (BOI as in Big Boi from Outkast). I collect all genres and appreciate good music, period. I probably have 800-850 records right now?

What’s the outsiders club all about? It looks like you’re also an avid cyclist.  I love the gear yall made for the club. 

Thanks man! Last year I managed to ride over 4,600 miles. The Outsiders Bicycle Club was founded by a few good dudes out of Beaufort, NC. I first met the club while supporting Tour de Brew (a fundraising event benefiting Water For Good, a non-profit focused on providing safe access to clean drinking water for the Central African Republic). I made some great friends and officially joined the club in 2019. Many in the club have dealt with depression or lost loved ones to suicide. While certainly not a prerequisite for joining it is a common bond that many in the club share. We hold annual charity events in our communities and push each other both physically and mentally to be better people through the challenge and love of riding around on two wheels…and partying. We like to party.

I’d love to have something similar with Oak City Soul and get this vinyl club going. Maybe also try to get some custom gear made as well.  When you think about the possibilities of a vinyl club here in Raleigh, what type of event would you think would be cool for us to host?

Oh man, so many possibilities once things open back up. SPCLGST and Oak City Hustle knew how to do it right. I don’t blame him for retiring the tables to focus on his hand drawn sign biz though, his work is sick. You can see it all over downtown now. Shoot, I’d be stoked to spin records in a dark cold alley if it meant we could safely get together again right now, haha.

What would be your ideal venue to play records in? 

Any venue full of good people. The best venue in the world wouldn’t be much fun if the people didn’t show up, or if they did but came for the wrong reasons. Good Vibes Only ya know?

So we know about a couple of your hobbies, what’s your full-time gig all about?

I manage a Sales Operations Team for a publicly traded company. It’s demanding, but it helps fund more records 🙂

How are you feeling about Raleigh’s future? What would you like to see more or less of in the next 5 years here?

While I understand the nostalgia and some of the reasons that people who grew up here have been upset over the development of the past 5 years, Raleigh is a growing city full of potential. I love the efforts to save and preserve older structures and have a strong belief in the power of retaining the personality and vibe of a city, but growth ultimately also means change. While people like myself get to enjoy moving here from a more crowded, traffic heavy, higher cost of living region for better opportunity, we all have a responsibility as a community to ensure that those opportunities are available to all. We have a long way to go in that regard, let’s start with affordable housing. I would love to see more projects like the Southeast Raleigh YMCA. They built a new YMCA, a public school, new affordable housing, provide social services to the community, and host the Black Farmer’s Market. More of that please. I can’t wait to see what Raleigh’s future holds and am excited to be here for it, I mean, Dorothea Dix Park anyone? Thanks for having me dude, I always enjoy linking with you. Keep the music alive, cheers.