10 Questions: Willie Trimmer

If you've been around the city's hottest clubs, you know Trimmer or one of his DJ crew.

Known as the 12-Inch Pimps--a reference to album size--they play somewhere in Dallas every night of the week. Weekends might find Trimmer at one location, Jonny 5 at another and perhaps Kean playing somewhere else. In all, ten people make up the pimps, including DJs and photographers.

Trimmer started the group five years ago, resurrecting the name from his days at Savannah College of Art and Design--where he majored in both film and computer art, played music in the clubs...and put on breakdancing exhibitions.

He first worked the turntables at the age of 15. In almost 20 years as a professional DJ, he's played with the likes of Paul Oakenfold, Fatboy Slim and Dumonde. But he really appreciates the sound of silence...

1. People don't take "12-inch" the wrong way, do they?
[Laughs] People that are into music catch it. But, of course, there's occasionally a person that takes it the wrong way.

2. How come you don't have a cool stage name like Kean or Jonny 5?
Well, Kean is his real name. I guess I can't help that my name isn't as cool as Kean's. I did used to go by DJ Jedi because I'm a big Star Wars fan. But it was a little sophomoric and I figured it would be better to promote myself and the business.

3. Why are DJs so popular?
As far as entertainment in a bar, you have either a band or a DJ. A DJ can be more versatile. And some DJs produce their own music. People will follow a favorite DJ because of the style of music they play.

4. Do you pick venues because of the music or the music because of the venue?
Typically a venue defines itself through music and a clientele. I tend to go to those where I can play the style I want. But a lot of places play a different style every night of the week, because you can wear out a crowd. They will hear what we do and call us because of the style.

5. I hear more people are listening to DJs than dancing...
I kind of beg to differ on that one, depending on the night of the week. At Plush, they come to dance. It's the same on 'Naked Sundays' at Mantus. But in Dallas, there are a lot of places where you're not allowed to dance--living in the Bible belt, I guess. There's also the explosion of the lounge scene where it's not cool to dance. But that's changing. Plush is one of the nicest clubs to open in Dallas in decades.

6. What's the hardest part of being a DJ?
I would say it would be the fact that you have to be a promoter, too. A DJs job is to play music. But a venue still has to market and advertise, or people won't show up. The purpose of starting 12-Inch Pimps--or part of it--was that DJs would play but the venue might not promote. Then the venue would let them go because there weren't enough people in the house. The other hard thing is, you do your best to be an artist and introduce people to something new. But people ask for the same five songs, over and over. I've had people come up and ask for what I'm playing. 'Can you play Justin Timberlake?' 'I'm playing him right now.' And dealing with the drunks.

7. Ever sneak in a bit of classical to the mix?
I might find sime jazzy house. But crowds are fickle. It's hard to get away with something outside the box. You can play the wrong four songs in a row and clear the house.

8. After a night of work, what you listen to?
Crickets. [Laughs} I'd rather have silence after four hours of loud music.

9. What did you like growing up?
Growing up I listened to pretty much everything. I started out at the age of 15 as a top 40 DJ. I liked Nirvana. But I was being introduced to techno, too. And I grew up in Texas, so was force-fed country. I have an appreciation for all of it. But I'm a big fan of funkier James Brown beats.

10. Do you miss breakdancing?
There's no way I could pull off some of those moves now.

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