By: Melanie Castell
Rony Seikaly first emerged on the scene as “The Spin Doctor” on the NBA’s hardwood court. Today, the basketball superstar has taken his spinning moves off the court and onto the turntables, establishing himself as one of the most sought out DJ’s worldwide.
Seikaly’s passion for dance music has propelled him to create his own signature sound, which lays the foundation for his upcoming compilation album, Nervous Nitelife Presents Rony Seikaly. It is through this original sound that Seikaly plans to transcend the art of deejaying and the electronic dance scene – all while globetrotting and delivering infectious music to groove to.
YRB: When did you first start experimenting with deejaying?
Rony: It all started in my parent’s house. I would invite my friends over because we were all too young to go to clubs; we would just hang out and I would just play music for them.
YRB: When did you realize that you could actually take on deejaying professionally?
Rony: I never thought about it. My dream was always to be a professional athlete and music was something that kind of took me away from the pressure of sports. It all happened organically. I always had turntables and mixers in my house and I would always play music for my friends. People would tell me that I should play somewhere. Then, I just happened to play one night in Miami at a music conference four years ago and that opened the door to where I am today.
YRB: Were there any initial challenges faced in your deejaying career?
Rony: No, actually, the first couple of years it was easy because nobody knew me as the basketball player. The younger generation going to the clubs knows me as Rony the DJ. But the older generation knows me as the basketball player. But by the time these two generations met, it took them about two or three years to figure things out, and here I am now. Now that I have made a name for myself in music, I don’t care if basketball is a part of it.
YRB: What was the creative process like working on this new compilation album?
Rony: I just wanted to put something out that was different from what you hear in clubs. The album is fun and has a little bit of everything. I tried to combine as much as I could so that it wasn’t just a straight line from beginning ‘til the end. The album also wasn’t meant to be just high energy. It is something that takes you on an up and down trip, something that I consider to be the happy underground sound.
YRB: “Happy underground” is how you describe your music – how did you come up with that title? And what does “happy underground sound like?”
Rony: Happy underground is dance and club music that you are not going to hear on the radio, but yet when you go to a party, you won’t be scared and say I want to get out of here. There was a time when house music got very dark and people just didn’t get it. But now house music is back in the forefront in a more pop and commercial way. I was able to blend what is in style right now with the really deep house, so I consider happy underground somewhere in the middle.