Remembering DJ AM’s Power 106 mix (Dec. 2005)

12.17.2012

Now here’s a little story I got to tell… before I put out the DJ AM UNRELEASED MIX #3 in early 2013 (all unreleased AM mixes can be found here), I’d like to tell the full story behind one of his most classic & influential mixes: The Power 106 – 12 Day of Mixmas recording from December 29th, 2005. It’s been 7 years now since it went down and, in retrospect, this singular mix hitting the internet had a massive effect on countless DJ’s and helped move DJ’ing forward into the open format / mashup era that thrived from 2006-2009.

To help paint a picture of the times back then, this mix came along when hip hop and NOTHING BUT hip hop completely dominated the clubs and the airwaves. Open format DJ’ing had not fully re-emerged from its’ late 90s coma yet so music was very one dimensional. Also during this time, Power 106 FM in Los Angeles was a STRICTLY hip hop and R&B station, they never deviated from that playlist (even in their mixshows) so this mix was quite a shock to their regular listeners. In December 2005, Power decided to have a “club” themed day of mixes with back to back 2 hour sets from DJ AM & DJ Vice. AM did this mix live in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday for 2 solid hours. (The following year in December, 2006, they expanded this concept and had sets from DJ Echo, Vice, Graham Funke, Stonerokk, Fashen, Eric Dlux & others, AM did not participate in the 2006 festivities).

AM was initially skeptical about doing the mix thinking that he didn’t have clean versions of ANY of the music he regularly played but I convinced him that we could make edits of those songs the day before and he’d be set. That’s exactly what we did, we made edits for all the dirty versions he wanted to play the day before and it took pretty much the whole day & night to do so.

When December 29th arrived, I headed to AM’s house a couple hours before we were set to leave for the station and he was still doing a few last minute edits for the classic hip hop section of the mix. After we wrapped those up, we headed to Power 106. On the way to the station, he started telling me that he wanted to turn the car around and not do the mix. He admitted that he was really nervous about it and felt that their listeners would hate it because it wasn’t their format. I had to talk him off the ledge on that car ride. I pleaded with him and told him he HAD to do it, that it was a big moment for people to hear something creative other than hip hop and that he was indeed the guy that should do the mix. All truth be told, I believe he was the ONLY guy at the time that could do that mix with the flavor fresh enough to reach the masses and influence DJs. Sensing that this could indeed be a big moment for DJs and DJing and also for a major audience to hear a new style of music and mixing, I texted my man DJ Whitematic on my T-Mobile Sidekick and asked him to record the set. Whitematic had a huge antenna at his house and was all set up to record off the radio (and it’s his recording that hit the internet shortly after it happened).

There was definitely a buzz happening in the studio as the mix was happening, I think most people sensed that this was something different, a big moment. Songs like Modest Mouse “Float On,” Madonna’s “Holiday,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” were definitely a culture shock for the regular Power 106 listener. I remember the phone lines lit up with quite a few ecstatic listeners and there were also quite a few prominent DJs in the house witnessing it all go down including the legendary DJ Revolution, DJ Vice, Gusto, in addition to Eric Dlux & Big Syphe who were about to take over the afternoon shifts on Power 106. During the mix, Eric Dlux worked the main boards in the control room, did most of the on air talking & triggered all the drops you hear during the mix.

So here it is… 7 years later, a mix that changed the face of the DJ game, DJ AM’s “Power 106 – 12 Days of Mixmas” recording in its full UNCUT glory:

And here are some never-seen-before pics from that day that I took with my camera (excuse some of the blur in the DJ photos… old technology!):

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