Head Spins: DJ Justin Sheppard

The fact that DJ Justin Sheppard is the son of a member of the Drifters makes sense when you consider the smooth, supple soulfulness he brings to his spinning. That he's also got a degree in computer science, however, might not make as much sense, especially when you consider just how dizzying he is. But this is the 21st Century, and even the most hedonistic among us must be completely comfortable with the soul of technology.

In fact, "hedonistic" is what Sheppard calls his style of night sounds. And what's wrong with putting pleasure at the forefront of everything you do?

It was just such a pursuit that brought Sheppard to South Beach from Pittsburgh in the first place. Keen on music, and needing to be closer to a more thriving scene, Sheppard shuffled out of the Rust Belt and straight to the center of the action. But he didn't immediately jump into spinning. He scoped out and swung with the swingers for three years before he ever spun in a club. When Sheppard finally did make his move, it was made magic.

The night was a Sunday, and the setting was Suite. Deep Dish protégé Cedric Gervais and SFP Records spin man Ivano Bellini were already in residence. But the club had dug what Sheppard had done with his house parties at the Flamingo, and decided to give him a crack at the tables. Two weeks later, Sheppard got bumped up to weekend resident.

He would go on to hold that residency for two years. Along the way, there have been similar stands at Privé and Mansion, as well as a monthly at Envy, in San Diego's Ivy Hotel. That's not to mention those long-running Casa Casuarina pool parties, which brought in the likes of Gabriel & Dresden, Kurd Maverick, Danny Freakazoid, JJ Flores, and Armand Pena as guests on the decks. Those events blew up so much that he and his partner Miguel Valenzuela had to move the party to the Raleigh and rename it Therapy.

But bio bits are nothing but factoids if you don't give 'em some spin, and Sheppard's sheer dedication to the sexy of song is about as sinful as it gets. The Whitest Boy Alive slips out of his "Golden Cage," Shik Stylko "Catch[es] the Beat," and Namito makes sure "This Is What You Need." Like the man says, it's all about the hedonism, a school of thought that tracks back to Democritus and goes down each and every weekend under Sheppard's watch at Hed Kandi and Segafredo South Pointe. With a slate of his own original productions about to be unleashed by the Rhythm Freak, the weekends are only gonna get wilder. Can you feel it?

DJ Justin Sheppard's current top five:

1. "Access the Future," Andy Chatterley

2. "This Is What You Need," Namito

3. "Beniras," Nima Gorji

4. "Undernaples," Gianni Pellachia

5. "Music Is the Answer (Gabriel Vezzola Remix)," Celeda and Danny Tenaglia

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John Hood