By Natalie Maniscalco
With over 20 years in the music industry and having worked with some of the top artists like Marc Anthony, El Gran Combo, and Victor Manuelle, when it comes to music and sound, DJ Woody has got it covered. We caught up with the ever-so-comical Woody at Taj Lounge, one of his weekly hotspots, to find out the who, what, where on one of New York City’s most fun DJs.
SALSEEK: How did you get into DJing?
DJ WOODY: “I was born and raised in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan to a Puerto Rican father and an Ecuadorian mother, so yes I'm a mutt. I used to watch older DJ’s in the neighborhood jam by the school yards and I said to myself this is what I want to do. I started to blend different styles of music from Salsa to Merengue, Hiphop & R+B, Reggaeton, Soca, Cumbia, Bachata, Disco, Freestyle and House. I have become a favorite among Salsa-music fans in NYC and have been involved in the music scene since 1978.”
SALSEEK: Who inspires you as a DJ?
DJ WOODY: “I got the inspiration of DJing from old school DJ’s who had been in the game for a long time. For example, Larry Levan, Kenny Carpenter, Ted Currier, John Jellybean Benitez, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Glenn Friscia, Freddy Bastone,Tony Humphries, Junior Vasquez,DJ Animal, Scott Blackwell, Grandmaster Flash, Roman Ricardo, Red Alert, Timmy Regisford, Grand Wizard Theodore, Baby J,Kid Capri, Merlin Bob, Henry Knowles, David Mancuso, Kool Herc, Rene Hewitt, Shep Pettibone,Tee Scott, David DePino, and Little Louie Vega.”
SALSEEK: What’s your biggest inspiration?
DJ WOODY: “My biggest passion in life is the need to share my music with other people, no matter where they come from. I have been making a name for myself in New York City spinning at various clubs. I demonstrate my talent and energy as I spin my vast collection of music. Over the years, I have worked many bars and clubs all across the Tri-State area. I have held many residencies and done many guest spots at various venues. I have built up a strong DJ reputation here in NYC.”
SALSEEK: How did you get the name DJ Woody?
DJ WOODY: “Really [Natalie] is this a trick question?....LOL.....as a kid I use to be an instigator. My friends and I would fight each other and I would walk away laughing...so my friends use to say, you look like Woody The Woodpecker because he did the same thing - laugh and run off....so it stuck with me.....there is no other myth to my name WOODY (LOL).”
SALSEEK: Who are some of your favorite bands?
DJ WOODY: “First and foremost hands down The Fania All Stars. They are the best of the best. Next El Gran Combo and Sonora Poncena which are both celebrating 50 years in Salsa. I guess I'm old, because I’ve been listening to them for 35yrs.”
SALSEEK: What are your top 3 favorite songs?
DJ WOODY: “WOW that’s tough; there are so many great songs. First, Coro Miyare by The Fania All Stars. It’s a collection of legendary musicians just jamming. Second, Soy Professional, by Justo, which is Betancourt. I can personally contribute my DJ career to. Lastly, No me Llores Mas by Willie Colon with Hector Lavoe on vocals. This song is the song I want to be played when I pass on. It reminds me of my DJ partner DJ Goya (RIP), which we blasted outside the funeral parlor and about 50 couples started dancing in his honor.”
SALSEEK: What do you look for in the music you spin?
DJ WOODY: “I look for a pulse. It’s something that catches my rhythm and together we can blend it together onto the crowd so they can feel what I feel. If you're playing salsa you have to feel that clave and baseline and just let it take your soul.”
SALSEEK: What’s your most memorable party?
DJ WOODY: “It was for my nephew (RIP) Justin Negron Fundraiser. It was like having the Fania All Stars of DJ's there. It was called DJ's against Cancer. We had the very best of New York, Puerto Rico, New Jersey and Connecticut rocking to about 600 people who donated their time for a good cause. Also Willy's NYC Salsa Project performed. I was very touched by the support of my DJ friends and my fans.”
SALSEEK: If anyone knows you, they know you’re a big joker (which we love about you), so tell us your best joke! Yes, I’m putting you on the spot!
DJ WOODY: “My jokes are usually on the spot. I think me being a clown is what blends me in with my following. Most people say, ‘Not only are you one of my favorite DJs, but a funny one at that!”
SALSEEK: Other than music, what are some of your other passions?
DJ WOODY: “I love and miss my Seido Karate as I did it for 8 years and boxing at WebsterPAL. I also enjoy mountain biking and spending time with my family.”
SALSEEK: What’s one thing that people don’t know about you?
DJ WOODY: “I'm Fluffy. I have a body like Winnie Da Pooh. I workout curling Twinkies (LOL). I’m also into sound engineering. People will walk into a club, see me and ask me if I’m DJing and lots of times I’m doing LIVE sound. I have been doing LIVE sound for 18 years. I used to be a sound engineer at Les Poulet. We had bands every Wednesday, Friday & Saturday’s. I have managed the sound for El Gran Combo, Victor Manuelle, Marc Anthony, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Frankie Ruiz, Tony Vega, Jose Alberto, Tito Nieves, Grupo Niche, Soneros del Barrio, Jerry Rivera, Tito Rojas, Ray Sepulveda, George Lamond, Junior Gonzalez and many other live bands, singers and other entertainment acts.”
SALSEEK: Where can we find you each week?
DJ WOODY: “I will go wherever they pay me. You can see me spin on Salsa Monday @ Taj Lounge, Wednesday @ Vintage in White Plains, Fridays @ Columbus 72, and Saturday either @ Venue Lounge In Yonkers, Vandome in New Haven CT. or starting in September, I’ll be at Iguanas.”