Kevin Riordan: High school senior follows father's tradition of spinning records

Daryle (left) and Darien Seidman at their Medford home with their digital vinyl technology.
Daryle (left) and Darien Seidman at their Medford home with their digital vinyl technology. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 18, 2012

Darien Seidman, aka "DJ D-Seid," is spinning, mixing, and beat-matching in his father's footsteps.

The Shawnee Regional High School senior plays records professionally, like his dad, Daryle, did when he was a student - and still does.

And Darien's paternal grandfather, the late Don "DJ Duke" Seidman, kept South Philly school dances hopping.

"To be a DJ, you have to feel the music and really be a part of it," explains Darien, 17, who regularly spins at the H2O Beach Club in Berlin Township as well as at Coffee Talk, a java joint in Stone Harbor.

"My dad let me play for a few sets at parties when I was 13," he recalls. "That's how I started to learn."

As Darien walks me through a formidable sound equipment setup at the family's Medford home, Daryle, 46, beams. He started out playing 45 r.p.m. singles at Marlton Middle School dances in 1979; Darien mixes new and old tunes using MP3 files and digital platters that function like old-school vinyl, but better.

"The business," Daryle notes, "has changed."

YouTube and other online channels offer oceans of new music 24/7. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media enable DJs to swap music files and hear fresh sounds with an ease Daryle could only have imagined when he published a tip sheet for professionals in the '80s.

But it's still a DJ's job to fill a dance floor and keep it that way.

"People like to dance. People like to have fun," says Daryle, whose full-time gig is in marketing for a bank. "And you need a good beat."

The thumpy pulse of what was once derided as disco - a genre that allegedly died in 1980 - seems stronger than ever. And as the American audience for dance music of all kinds has grown, celebrity DJs like Aoki, Tiesto, and David Guetta have headlined shows in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

"DJing is essentially a live performance," notes Darien, who has his own website - djdseid.com - as well as a signature look and logo.

"You're creating something no one's ever heard before," he adds. "There are so many things you can do, effects-wise, to manipulate the music and make it your own. The mashup mixes I do are a way to make two favorite songs into one super song."

Darien's taste is broad, like his dad's. He spins pop hits, vintage hip-hop, house, trance, even classic rock - albeit in the form of remixes, like one that transforms Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" into a jittery electro explosion.

In addition to learning the basics at home, Darien went to gigs where his dad taught him the basics. Together, they've learned the digital vinyl technology.

"It's a revolution," Daryle says. The programmable discs rotate on turntables, a stylus on the end of a tone arm picks up the signal, and the records can be stopped, started, scratched, and otherwise manipulated by hand.

"It's got a classic vinyl feel," Darien says. "With a new age spin on it."

He cues up a propulsive 2010 cut called "Apes from Space," by Aaren San, which has a zippy, robotic pulse.

The music may be different from, say, Sister Sledge, but the turntables harken back to an earlier age of playing records in public.

"He's not just a glorified iPod operator," Daryle says. "He's not a music librarian or a human jukebox. With the technology, a DJ can be much more responsive and interactive."

It also adds a human dimension to a sound designed to make bodies want to move.

"A lot of people, when they see the DJ's laptop, like to believe that all he's doing is pushing buttons," Darien says. "But there's really a lot of work that goes behind it. Especially when you have the vinyl components."

Turns out that music runs deep in the Seidman household. Both father and son play keyboards; Daryle's wife, Lisa, is a vocalist, as was her mother.

"Darien," his dad says, "is continuing a family tradition."


Contact Kevin Riordan at 856-779-3845 or kriordan@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @inqkriordan. Read the metro columnists' blog, "Blinq," at www.phillynews.com/blinq.

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