When you first started posting your country mixes to Soundcloud, you didn’t have much company. But I searched Soundcloud yesterday and quickly found a dozen DJs who are uploading country mixes for free. How many others have you come across?
“I put out the first-ever country mix CD, and that was probably ten years ago. Country Club Volume One. And everyone said, ‘What are you doing?’ I just left a meeting with my manager, Ken Madson, and my Soundcloud is up to half a million plays. I mean, that’s a big number for a country remix site. I used to have to type in ‘country-space-remix,’ because there was no genre for it. I’d always call it ‘Dee Jay Silver country,’ because that’s how I hear country. And now country remix is a subgenre of Soundcloud. I see it and I just smile.
“There’s so many great producers out there. My buddy DJ Skillz on the East Coast is a phenomenal producer, and he’s getting into the country thing. I’m working a lot with him.”
If you put out your first country mix 10 years ago, that would’ve been just after Tim McGraw sang on a Nelly cut, and around the time that hip-hop influence first started showing up in country tracks like Trace Adkins’ Honky Tonk Badonkadonk and Big & Rich’s Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).
“I actually worked for Nelly at that time. When that song [Over And Over] came out, I was actually on tour with Nelly.”
You played his after parties, right?
“Yeah. He had a product called Pimp Juice, an energy drink. Yeah, that’s it. I’d tour around with Nelly doing his after parties.”
How did your mash-up of Jason Aldean’s She’s Country and Nelly’s Country Grammar get you your first spot on an arena tour?
“I was doing the Country Weekly fashion show… I played it, and a guy named Kevin Neal [Aldean’s booking agent] walked up to me and asked me what that was. And I said, ‘Oh, I made this.’ He was like, ‘Can I have a copy?’ He didn’t tell me anything about anything. I just put it on a flash drive and handed it to him. Fast forward a few weeks. I was told Aldean liked it. That’s awesome. Fast forward a few more weeks. I was playing at the Country Awards in Las Vegas at the Tabu night club when he and Kevin came in, and he came up and asked me to go on tour with him. Two weeks later, I had my 2010 schedule.”
After nightclubs, what was it like playing those first shows in front of a country arena audience?
“I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in Little Rock, Arkansas. They put me on a scissor lift in the middle of the venue. Listen, I’m from south Texas. Have you seen my hair? I’ve never been on a scissor lift. They just pulled the trigger back and shot me up, like, 30 feet in the air. I had no monitor, no ears. The delay was terrible. The crowd didn’t know what to think of me. I came down off that thing and leaned over [to Aldean’s tour manager] and I’m like, ‘Dude, I love this opportunity, and I appreciate this. But if this is what I’ve gotta do every night, I’m going back to Texas.’ It wasn’t like a scissor lift that they paint big buildings with. This was a scissor lift that was swaying side to side if I moved my leg.”