When it comes to the wheels of steel, Atlanta’s own DJ Nabs has seemingly done it all: from serving as a musical maestro for some of the industry’s biggest names (like Kris Kross, Da Brat, Bow Wow and more) to rocking on the radio and dropping his own albums as an artist. On top of that, recently, he’s been putting the finishing touches on a documentary he’s co-producing (American DJ Story) and is even trying his hand at boxing (tonight, as a matter of fact, and for charity). Starting this Friday night, however, the multifaceted turntable engineer is getting back into the nightlife game with a brand new weekly event — The DJ Nabs Experience — at 595 North. We checked in with Nabs and he gave us the lowdown on his new shindig.
Creative Loafing: What was the catalyst for doing this new weekly event?
DJ Nabs: Are you familiar with [the now-defunct Midtown nightclub] Kaya? That’s my inspiration. As a DJ, which I’ve been for over 20 years, it’s one thing to do a radio station broadcast, it’s another thing to do clubs for a promoter, and it’s another thing to go on the road as an artist. But, to create and promote your own experience, is what Kaya was for me; I took an empty room at Kaya and made that the “Lab” — and I’ve never quite been able to do that again. 595 is a spot I did my birthday party at last year, and it so reminded me of Kaya, I ended up having a Kaya reunion there. I look at Chris Lova Lova, aka Ludacris, as a graduate of Kaya; I look at the YoungBloodZ as graduates; I look at Jay-Z, who I had come and perform at Kaya for free during his Hard Knock Life tour, I look at these people as graduates of Kaya. So to have a Kaya reunion at 595 — which felt so much like Kaya — was a big deal. So I knew then I was gonna do a regular night, it just took me about 9-10 months to get to it.
Well, since you’re trying to harken back to those Kaya days, what kind of music will you be spinning?
I call it “The DJ Nabs Experience” because I want to be able to let it grow organically and play a bit of everything. Seeing the way music has grown and changed, obviously it’s not about just hip-hop now. Dance music is probably the biggest music in the world, so I plan on incorporating a lot of dance music in the night as well — as well as new school and the old school stuff. But it’s just more of a concentration on being able to mix it together as one cohesive musical experience. The one thing that changed also over the last few years is the ability to mix music videos in your set. So, 95 percent of my sets are visual as well … I’ll be utilizing a lot of video and imagery with these Friday nights at 595.
Who’s the target audience?
A person that loves music and loves to party. And, to be honest with you, my artist side won’t let me go that far. I’ll leave that for the publicist and the marketing. I’m gonna go in there and do my thing. I expect people who know what I do to come and support. Obviously, there are a lot of new people in Atlanta, there’s some people who don’t know who I am or maybe have not had what I call the “DJ Nabs Experience” — of course I want be able to draw those people as well. Over time, we’ll be doing different things for different nights. One of the things I’m really excited about is the ability to do themed nights at will. So, what might not appeal to a person this week, might appeal to the person the next week. But I actually think that  — the building itself — is very nice, very dope. And more importantly, it’s not about a VIP/champagne crowd necessarily; it’s really about music and people and enjoying themselves. The thing I’ve enjoyed most as a DJ is being able to connect with the audience directly through the music and let that really be what whole point of the party is: the relationship between the crowd and the DJ.
The DJ Nabs Experience starts Friday, Nov. 4. Doors open at 9 p.m. Ladies free before 11 p.m; $10 for men before 11 p.m., $15 after 11 p.m. 595 North, 595 North Ave.
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