You started Djing at 10 years old, and since then equipment has changed quite a bit. What would equipment would you purchase for a 10-year-old now?
The equipment actually hasn't changed all that much. I recently hooked up my new 8-year-old artist, Fulano, with a home setup. He's a DJ, rapper and actor and is way more advanced than I was at 10. The Technic 1200 turntables he has are actually the same exact model I had in 1991. The mixer is somewhat more advanced, but performs the same basic functions. The only difference between his setup and mine 20 years ago is Serato, the little black box and software that allows us to DJ with two digitally encoded pieces of vinyl and a laptop. Fulano shops for MP3s on iTunes, whereas I shopped for records in the West Village. The equipment has remained constant, the record crates have disappeared.
Preparing to DJ for Obama's inauguration, what was going on in your mind and how did you pick what to play?
I never prepare what I am going to play. The moment defines the mood and the mood defines the music. I played four nights in a row that week in D.C., each night building in anticipation and emotion with the obvious pinnacle being the Inaugural Ball. There wasn't a night I didn't cry. DJing Barack Obama's Inauguration was the greatest night of my life. I am so grateful I was a part of it.
How have your sets changed over the years, now that the mainstream favors electronic dance music so strongly?
I have always prided myself with being able to play all music for all people in all parts of the world. The people dictate the music. I'm just the bridge between the two.
What do you listen to on your own time/driving/in the iPod? Or do you prefer silence?
Michael Jackson, Run-DMC, Bob Marley, R. Kelly, Sade and Stan Getz.
What ways do you find yourself discovering new music? Friends, certain sites, going to record stores, etc.?
I tend to discover most music at clubs and shows. Hearing music live grabs you. It gets lost online.
As a huge Michael Jackson fan, how did you react to Conrad Murray's guilty verdict?
I didn't really follow the details of the case, but prison never seems to sooth my soul, even when it's deserved. Michael's death still saddens me every time I hear his voice.
Having traveled around the world, what is your favorite city to visit?
This tends to change over time, but the past few years, I have always looked forward to going back to Oslo. The people there have a genuine, innocent, open-minded appreciation of music. There's a true sincerity to the partying that is rare. It also helps that the girls are blond and sexy, and the food is rich and tasty.
Cassidy's "Vanilla & Cinnamon" Playlist:
1) Donna Summer, 'Winter Melody'
2) Quincy Jones, 'One Hundred Ways'
3) Stevie Wonder, 'Rocket Love'
4) Junior Boys, 'Sneak A Picture'
5) Kanye West, 'Coldest Winter'
6) Bobby Caldwell, 'Open Your Eyes'
7) Fleetwood Mac, 'Dreams'
8) Mayer Hawthrone, 'Just Ain't Gonna Work Out'
9) Lenny Kravitz feat. Jay-Z, 'Storm'
10) Daft Punk, 'Something About Us'