2017 – 1987 = 30

Our very own Mr. Lee “Stovetop” Stover just had a birthday. Here’s a blog from the birthday boy taken from his website, www.stovetop-music.com. Enjoy!

Just some subtraction for funsies? Nah. Taking a math test? Nope. Confused? Me too. Let me break it down for you. 2017 = right now. 1987 = the year I was born. What’s that mean? I. Just. Turned. 30. That’s right, 3 decades here on planet Earth. Unbelievable. Time really does fly.

It’s been an amazing 30 years if I do say so myself. I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything. It was when my love for music was born. I still remember listening to oldies radio in car rides, digging through my dad’s cassette tapes of 50’s doo-wop music, and singing in church. Looking back I can see how those early years really set the stage for the role that music would play in my life.

My first “double digit” decade saw this role solidify even more. Starting with band (I rocked the alto followed by the bari saxophone) and choir in middle school, I found a love of performing. This continued through high school as I was involved in pretty much every musical extra-curricular I could be. And I loved every second of it. I was bitten by the bug of performance.

People tend to really find themselves in their 20’s. This decade was no different for me. It’s such a weird time of life. You’re kind of stuck between being a kid and being an adult. The major hang up is you’re waaaay more of a kid than you’d like to admit and you don’t realize it until you’re older! It’s such a strange time that I’m actually going to split this decade into 2 parts: 20-25 and 25-29. 

My college years were a continuation of performing. I was heavily involved in my dorm and used my passion for music to create for that community (you can watch my latest music video filled with college Easter eggs here!). I really started writing during these years. I also performed in many talent shows and found I was a pretty decent dancer. It was something I became known for on campus. My love for hip-hop, music and dance, really solidified during this time. In the last year of my time in college I joined a DJ crew and started throwing parties. This opened up a whole new avenue of music and performing to me that slingshot me through the rest of my 20’s. The first couple years after college I started a DJ company, got a business partner, and did every kind of event from bars to middle schools to fairs to weddings and everything in between. In those years, S&E Entertainment and Stovetop Productions grew to be one of the best known DJ companies in NW Iowa. And we’re continuing to grow now. Musically I wrote, recorded, and released 3 mixtapes and many singles in 3-4 years. I even had a song played on our local radio station (shoutout to KIWA, hear the song here!) I booked shows and worked on performing my original music for the first time. It was a struggle because making music was slowly becoming my dream and I shied away from it often due to fear and other excuses. Some legitimate, like working full time. Some not so much, like video games, social life, and mindless tv…   🙂  It was an exciting and frustrating few years all at the same time. 

The reason I’m starting the second part of this decade at 25 is because that is the year I got married. Life definitely changed for me. In the best ways.  My whole life changed and I could no longer just worry about myself. Music still remained a love of mine but now it was no longer THE love of my life. The back and forth of working on music intensified. My life experience was changing, my outlook was changing, my point of view was changing. This, combined with my day job, becoming a husband and then a father, changed how I saw the world and the music I wanted to create. It led me to a place of really just wanting God to use my passions in any way possible. I began wanting to write about things that mattered. What that means, I’m still not sure. I just know there’s more to the music I want to make than just lookin fly and partying. I still like to look good and have a good time, don’t get me wrong. But at the end of the day those things can leave you empty. I want to point people to the thing that won’t leave you empty, Jesus. 

So what now? I wish I knew. What I DO know is that I’m excited for my 4th decade (WHAT?!?!?) on this Earth. I’m 4 years into marriage, 2 years into parenthood (with baby #2 on the way), and 30 years into music being an intricate part of my life. I’m stoked to continue this journey. Thanks for joining me. We’re just getting started!  

PS – as a way to celebrate my bday, I wanted to give YOU something! For a limited time you can download my three most popular songs on Spotify for free on SoundCloud. Click the link here and on each track select “More” to download. You can also still buy them on iTunes and add them to your music on Spotify. That would be the best birthday present 😉 Enjoy!

Scruff’s Top 5

You see many goal cast and inspirational videos on the web, this in my opinion can be both good and bad. I believe that seeing and hearing inspirational things, can spark your own drive and ambitions. They can boost your self esteem and help you get through a rut. For this, I will always support these kind gestures given to us in video format, but I will say on the other end of it, these same videos can also hurt.

I’ve been told countless times, that in order to achieve something you want you have to work at it. Sometimes we (and that includes myself) get so wrapped up in what we see, and hear we forget to do. I personally have a love/hate relationship with success stories. I look up to the people who struggled to make it to the top of their game and have excelled. I love the fact that people out there have proven their worth, have beat the odds and made a name for themselves. I also know that I hate to see it because looking at someone else’s success doesn’t bring me closer to mine. I know it sounds weird, I know that it sounds like jealousy, but I promise that’s not the case. They remind me of the times where I didn’t work as hard as I should have, my shortcomings. I find myself comparing my situation to someone else’s. That’s when I have to take a step back and remember that each journey is different, I will never be them, and they will never be me. I have to remember that my path is just as hard as the next man’s, as long as I continue, never giving up, I too can experience my own taste of success. 

So with that being said, get off your butts, don’t dwell on the success of others; you have your own story to write. 

 

  1. Back To Love – Wlady feat. Andrea Love 
  2. Adventures On The Dance Floor – Vanilla Ace x Darkhfunkh
  3. Flight Of The Pterodactyl – Christian Martin, Ardalan
  4. Barrump – Claude VonStroke
  5. Primal Call – Gorgon City

 

Scruff’s Top 5

As I continue on this journey I find myself trying different ways to improve my overall well being. That means practicing habits that make my life easier so that I may focus on music and becoming a better DJ ex: eating healthier, keeping procrastination to a minimum, and staying positive. I remember looking at a video by DJ Konflict, he was explaining how life on the road can take it’s toll on the body. Excessive amounts of drinking, fast foods, and horrible sleep schedules can put a damper on your progress. I felt really encouraged by this. This is my main goal as a DJ right now. I want to play across my state, then work my way to a national level. Learning from guys who have been through what I am trying to accomplish, is one of the best ways to help make this a reality.

Over this past week I had 2 events to prepare for, my weekly residency at TraynRek University and a wedding in Hospers, IA. Both events went over smoothly, I really enjoyed celebrating with Mr. and Mrs. Tiedeman. They were really laid back and very easy to work with, the couple had been dating for over 10 years so for them with was long overdue. Their guests loved the 80’s and we partied to some of the biggest hits of the decade, from Whitney Houston to Cyndi Lauper we kept the jams going all night.

Weddings can sometimes become very repetitive for a DJ, but I try to keep in mind that each event is different. Each couple deserves to get my A -game, they pay for a service that I provide, and I don’t want to cheat them of the experience. Not to mention these couples entrusted me to celebrate with them on a day that they will remember for quite some time. I don’t ever want to get a review that comes back negative because I was being lazy. In my opinion that disrespectful, not only to the couple that hired me; but to the art of DJing.

For the next couple of weeks i’ll be prepping for 2 shows coming up. I’ll be playing with Natron88, Ron Gotti, Mixdup, and JP Goodebeats. We are throwing a Halloween party  on the 28th of oct. I’m super excited to be coming back to the 415. Ever since my first show at the club St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, I’ve been shown nothing but love from the patrons and owners of the 415. It’ll be the second time that i’m on a bill with Natron88 within the last couple months. Mixdup and I have performed together but it’s been years, Ron Gotti and I play together quite often, sometimes as Prjkt Blkout. This is the first time that JP and I will be sharing the stage. This is an opportunity to play with some of the bigger names in the omaha region, this is just another step towards my goals. 

  1. Virgo – Proxy, Embassy
  2. Innocence (Reopened) – Nero 
  3. Summer99 – Tchami, Malaa
  4. Steady Blazin? – Noizu
  5. Who The Hell Are You (Dom Dolla Dub) – Madison Avenue 

Scruff’s Top 5

This week’s adventures took me to Omaha for the second straight week, and I was able to perform at Northwestern College’s homecoming in Orange City. Both events were a lot of fun, I especially enjoy seeing various groups of people come together just to dance. I was invited to come play at the Midwest Masquerade, an event hosted by the guys of String Theory Music. This has been an annual event for the past couple of years, and its continuing to grow. Even though there  wasn’t a dress code, 90% of all the guests came dressed to impress. Guys came in slacks, button-down shirts and ties; the girls came in dresses, and evening gowns. Visuals were done by Craig Mustard of Mustard Vision, and I must say he did above and beyond. Multiple moving heads, lasers, projectors, and live programming for each DJ, Craig is def making a name for himself in the industry. Each DJ played an awesome set, even though we didn’t talk to each other about what we were playing, magically we kept building off of each other. I can’t even explain it, but by the end of the night, I had taken a journey through various genres and sub genres of electronic music, and my heart was happy. 

Northwestern is always a good time, this is my 3rd or 4th year doing the homecoming and each year the students go hard. I was especially happy because I was able to play out Reaching Nova’s track 71813. It’s great to be a DJ and play something exclusive so you can get a reaction from the crowd. Nova has been rapping and releasing music for years, we grew up together and its an honor to help spread his reach across America. Now Northwestern is a Christian college, and I played all clean or edited music, but one thing I have learned after all these years is that the students will scream out the swear words anyway. I had o change tracks on them for that reason, I gave them a warning first, when they didn’t listen tracks had to be cut. I have a great working relationship with the school, and i want to keep it that way. I’d say between 250-350 students were there for the festivities and I thank each and every one of them. 

I can’t express my joy with the DJ life, i’m growing and learning. This is just the tip of the iceberg, I know there is a lot more for me to learn, I look forward to the many lessons.

  1. ComeDown To The Underground – Block & Crown & Simioli
  2. My House (Gustavo Chateaubriand Remix) – Aren Suarez
  3. Raw NRG – Dennis Quin, Roog & Leon Benesty Feat. Mr Oasis
  4. Parallel Universe – Jamie Jones 
  5. Be Faithful – Fatman Scoop 

Scruff’s Top 5

Well this past week was exciting, I had my Thursday night residency at TraynRek and I had my show at Bar 415 on Saturday night, that’s on top of keeping up with my weekly radio show. It’s nice to know that my plate is filling up with more DJ responsibilities, it forces me to keep a schedule and tasks for each day. 

Thursday nights at TraynRek are always interesting. You can never accurately guess the kind of night you’re going to have. Numbers fluctuate at the lakes during the off season, sometimes you are super busy, other times you are playing for the bartenders. Thursday was pretty busy, the crowd was digging the throwbacks and booty shakers. I was quite surprised by some of the requests that were being made throughout the night; the requests actually went with what I was playing 80% of the time. I find myself digging deeper into my library for tracks since gaining this residency. I don’t want to get bored because i’m playing the same tracks week after week, so part of my day is spent looking up alternate tracks for my folder. This is definitely pushing me forward, it keeps me honest with my skill set, it makes me hungry.

Saturday Night was pure bliss, nothing but thanks can said to the people of Omaha. The entire night was like a big build up, the crowd just kept on growing. The crowd grew so much there was a line going down the street. I kicked off the night, I was very happy with my track selection. I started off with the deeper sounds of techno and tech house. Gradually I brought in those housier, groovy, tribal and latin vibes to bring the level up a notch; setting the stage for DJ Ron Gotti to take over. Gotti played tech house, electro house, and G-house. He brought the energy that party goers expect between the 11pm-1am hours, taking your body on a workout, and your mind on an adventure. Nothing could have prepared the crowd for Natron88, Nothing! Juke and Footwork are the styles that Natron88 plays, and I don’t know what it is about that beat, but all of a sudden the sexy comes out to play. The man played with the crowd, the response was stellar. All you could see was bodies in motion and sweat pouring. the bass was pumping energy throughout the room and we were all drunk on it. Natron destroyed the dance floor, he was the perfect choice for a headliner.  

  1. Rub Anotha Dub – Green Velvet & Walker & Royce
  2. Be Faithful – Fatman Scoop
  3. Let Me Go – Mark Knight, Ben Remember
  4. Duckworth – Kedrick Lemar 
  5. Virgo (Westend & Steve Darko Remix) – Proxy, Embassy

Scruff Top 5

This past week was a productive one, I had a few events over the weekend, and i’ve started my road to a more organized way of living. Self reflection is something that I believe everyone should do, it brings you to a point where you have to face some hard truths, and it ultimately helps you become a better person. I have realized that having an open schedule is not something that works the best for me if I am wanting results. I get very lazy, and procrastinate when it comes to deadlines. My drive seems to dwindle, and I become complacent. In order to be a Better DJ I have to always push myself, not just in a music sense either. I feel like when you become a better person as a whole, your passions become a priority again, your bad habits start to diminish, and you live a more wholesome life. So, to gain what I want I had to kill the habit. I know it’s not going to be an overnight process, but as long as I continue to see the problem and try to rectify it, i’ll remain on the path of success.

Thursday night I continued my residency at TraynRek University in boji. As the weather starts to cool the amount of people that come out and party starts to decrease, but when you are told that people steadily come out because of the tunes you play, you have a sense of real pride. As a DJ you want people to enjoy your music, and compliments like that keep you going when times get difficult. I’m hoping that when the season ends for the owner, she decides to bring me back next year for another round of good times. 

Friday night I has Western Christian High School’s homecoming, it’s the start of the school season and that was my first event of the year. I was quite nervous to be honest. The amount of change that music has taken over the past few years, can throw you on a limb when it comes to trends. Keeping up with the latest and greatest can pose some difficulty at times, but you’d be amazed at what the kids ask for now a days. The Dance was a blast, I was able to play a mixture of old and new, I was also reminded that some songs can’t be played at school events either. All in all the kids had a great time, they are looking forward to the next time I get to DJ a function. 

Saturday night was the big dirty 30 birthday bash for my business partner and myself. Now even though it wasn’t either one of ours birthday on Saturday, we were celebrating the fact that we both turned 30 this year. We had the opportunity to be featured in the local paper regarding the event, something that neither of us expected. Plenty of people showed up to help us celebrate and enjoy the evening. We had Dustin, our newest DJ open up the night. His set contained some live vocals, and solid mix of the 80’s classics and 90’s top 40. Afterwards Lee and I finished off the night with early 2000’s hits and current ones. It was nice having people who had been following our business for 7 years now come out and dance. Now it’s time to stay hungry and take things up notch, we want to keep our fan family growing. 

  1. 71813 Feat. Richie Wess – Reaching Nova
  2. Dubplate 99 – Wolfgang Gartner 
  3. Let It Ring – Damien N-Drix & STV
  4. Stray Beast – Overflow 
  5. More Than Friends (VIP Mix) – Kelli-Leigh, James Hype

Scruff’s Top 5

Well this post is a day late, i’ve been busy trying to figure out a schedule for success. So many times you hear that people have goals, and no plan to make those goals a reality. I don’t want to be that type of person. I don’t want to have dreams that don’t come to light because I didn’t have the discipline to get from point A to point B. So self reflection is a must, I think over the next few months I should start to see some progress. I want to focus on production and marketing, these are the two areas that I have the least amount of confidence, and in this music industry you have to be able to brand yourself, promote your work, and create some tunes that will keep the dance floor grooving.

This past weekend I had a wedding in Hospers, Iowa. It was a special wedding for me because I knew the groom’s side of the family, and I had worked with the mother of the bride. I felt like I had a lot to prove, the groom’s family wanted me to do another wedding for their family but I was already booked, and some of the people I worked with at my last job were guests at the reception. A lot of those people didn’t think that I could be a full time DJ, didn’t think that it was probable. I proved them wrong that night, not only was the two families satisfied, but they took some cards and promised to pass out business cards. This is super rewarding, knowing that my passion in life is slowly becoming my legacy, my life’s work. I can’t wait till next spring when I can showcase what i’ve been working on all winter, i’m hoping to make a name for myself in different areas and continue to spread the brand of scruff around the midwest. 

  1. 8675309/jenny – Tommy Tutone 
  2. Operator (Ring Ring) [feat. Dances With White Girls] (Will Clarke Remix) – Chris Lake 
  3. I Want You (Forever) (Josh Butler Remix) – Carl Cox
  4. Strobe Light – Solardo 
  5. Be (Klangkuenstler Remix) – Rowetta, Greco (NYC)

Scruff’s Top 5

Labor Day Weekend marks the end of the summer season, and this was definitely a busy weekend for me. My festivities started off on Friday night with a Concert in Sioux City, IA. My buddies Drew and Jimmy wanted to go see FFDP (Five Finger Death Punch) at the Hard Rock Casino, it was going to be my 3rd time seeing them, and I had no objections. The show was awesome, all the bands played well and besides the fact that my feet hurt, and it had rained I was quite satisfied with the night. I didn’t stay out too late due to the fact that I had a 4 hour drive ahead of me the following day.

Cedar Rapids was an experience that i’ll never forget. Sometimes small venues are the greatest, not just because size makes it easier to fill the place, but the staff and the locals can make an out of towner feel right at home. Kitaen the bartender always seemed to have a wise crack coming out of her mouth, and a smile on her face. Even thought the place wasn’t packed, and I wasn’t some huge marquee name, Kitaen treated us like stars; she even offered to buy breakfast. The locals were just as friendly, and was glad to hear the music being played. We chit chatted about other genres of music that we all enjoyed,  sports, and food. I haven’t recorded any of my recent shows, and I should do that. I would learn a great deal from listening to them, I was happy with what I played, but there is always room for improvement. I look forward to coming back to Just Jules and rocking the crowd again.

Sunday was a day full of rest and preparation, I had a show at TraynRek University. I was expecting a large crowd because of the holiday and I wanted to bring some different content. I wanted to show the versatility, my love for the music, and my creativity. That night I played a lot of the hits, but I also played some tracks that weren’t necessarily known on the radio. At the end of the night I was shocked with an offer to be the resident DJ for their Thursday Ladies night. This is the part of the journey that’s all too rewarding. knowing that what you’re doing is good enough to have a permanent position on an establishment’s team, not only makes your feel like a superstar, but also pushes you harder to see if you can make it to the next level. I’m loving the journey and I look forward to entertaining the patrons of TraynRek every thursday night. 

I finished off my holiday weekend at the park in Sheldon. Over Labor Day Weekend we have Sheldon Celebration Days, and S&E Entertainment’s contribution this year was our Photo Booth. The booth went over well with over 900 photos taken throughout the course of the day. I am proud of the accomplishments that Lee and I have had over the past 7 years. This just goes to show that even though its a slow process, hard work does pay off.

  1. Agua – Jude & Frank vs. J8man
  2. Friday Child – Jo-Elle
  3. Room 116 (Booty Call) – Scott Brio
  4. Ya Kidding – Fisher (oz)
  5. Deep Inside – Daniel Stefanik

  

Scruff’s Top 5

This journey is nothing less than magical, now I don’t mean that the road isn’t hard, frustrating, or it’s fairy like. I’m just stating that you can’t predict what going to happen, and sometimes when opportunities come your way its like an unexpected birthday present. This weekend I had the chance to play at a house party with some of Omaha’s top producers and fellow DJ’s all on the same path, plus perform at Whiskey Dick’s in Sioux City for the Hyddin show. Sundays are my day of recovery and rest so besides writing this post, work is concluded for the weekend.

Friday night I was suppose to go down to Sioux City and hang out with Ron Gotti, possibly shop for some tracks, work on projct Blkout, etc. That was the original plan, I wanted to be in town the night before the show at Whiskey Dicks, just chill work on my set a little more and watch some tv. Gotti hits me up mid afternoon and all that changed. It was about 11 when we hit Omaha, we headed into the house where we were playing and the music hit. Downstairs in the basement we hit the studio/playroom. We had Wayward & Lost, Natron 88, and Chris Tsuji rotating thru tracks, people chilling out, and just happy vibes everywhere. It was awesome because of the many different styles being played and the love of music being spread. We played music until 730 am on Saturday morning, let’s just say that lack of sleep didn’t bother anyone while the music was playing.

After finally coming out of my sleep coma it was time to get ready for Hyddin. The lineup was stacked with talent and I was excited to get things going on the house side. Each one of the artists played a different style and sent the crowd on a vacation through time and space for the evening. Dabski started off the night with some solid bass, an opening set that got everyone in the mood for drops and grooves. Zombie Mike played some killer bass lines and experimental rhythms,  he really brought his artistry out and served it for all to see. I really appreciated his set, definitely looking forward to playing with him again. Azure and Don Bassic’s B2B set was on fire, they brought Riddim in the building and it was here to stay. Hyddin’s set really impressed me, it was different. More experimental than heavy, yet it gave you all the feels of a harder performance. It was perfect for the venue and the crowd. Nostalgic is one word I can say set the tone, the kids that were banging their heads and dancing knew all the words to the songs (with lyrics) and really got it in. A+ performance for sure. 

I chose to talk about my set last, break it down to you as I felt it while playing. I wanted to bring something different to the table this performance. I usually just play the deepest and bassist tracks that I could so I can keep up with the trap and dub guys. This time I started off paying tribute to the producers that paved the way for all of us to get where we are. I played tracks by Green Velvet, Mark Knight, Croatia Squad, and a bootleg by Pete Lo. I wanted to hit the range of heavy bass meets late night grooves. I believe I accomplished that with what I played, now it’s time to continue the journey and come up with my set for Cedar Rapids with Saturday Night. 

  1. Woodstock – Federico Scavo
  2. Hostyl – Malaa & Dombresky
  3. Superfresh – Jamiroquai  
  4. Beat The Drum – Bingo Players 
  5. El Pajaro 2017 – Antoine Clamaran & DJ Fist 

Scruff’s Top 5

Howdy world, 

This past week’s festivities involved a wedding, grill out, and some local music. On Friday night I decided to go out with some friends to a show. I had an offer to play that night but decided that a break was needed, in order to stay on top of the scene I have to be in it, I have to experience it as it changes, I have to practice enjoying music on a personal level and not just a professional one. So off I went to the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City. A couple of buddy’s of mine started a rap group named DAD and had been given the opportunity of opening for  a Beastie Boys cover band. The tix weren’t that expensive and supporting your local talents is where it all starts, they would have done the same for me so I had to go out and support. Their set was awesome, they engaged with the crowd and played some of the hits the area has grown accustomed to hearing. It’s always good to see someone else’s passion on stage, it’s humbling for me and encourages me to strive forward with my journey. The Beastie Boy cover band was very nostalgic, you could tell that the crowd had left 2017 and returned to the era of “Sabotage” and Fighting for your right to party. 

Saturday I had a wedding in Spirit Lake, that is always a fun night. The part was small and personal, the bride, groom, and guests said they had fun. Its great knowing that you helped make someone’s day special just by playing the right tunes. Sunday was one of relaxation, good food, drinks, and great company. I was able to play some tunes at my leisure, and just enjoy the rays of the sun shining down. Sunday might not have been a very productive day as a DJ , but it was perfect for my body and soul. I encourage you all to find your inner peace and enjoy every day you have on this big ball of water, land, and adventure. 

  1.  Little Love (Soul Avengerz Main Room Mix) – Lil Love 
  2. Pulse (Disco Fries Remix) – Louis Vivet 
  3. Make Love – Recovery Mafia 
  4. Preach feat. Jess Kondoors (Extended Mix) – Todd Terry, DJ S.K.T, Jess Kondoors
  5. Your Body (Elliott Kay Remix) – Tom Novy