Discover how local DJ Sandy Schuschu, became a DJ, why she loves spinning at senior centers, and what movie should be re-made into a musical.
--interview by Chelsea Morning
Every time we experience something life-quenchingly amazing, our brain gives us a dopamine reward. The sweet, neurotransmission rush cues the brain to get more of whatever it was that brought on that juicy goodness. It’s a survival mechanism! For example; Food= Dopamine Reward= Survival! “Hugs and Kisses” = Dopamine Reward= Survival! And for many, like me; Music=Dopamine Reward=Survival! Therefore, Sandy Schuschu= Dopamine Reward = Survival!
Local DJ, Sandy Schuschu is one cool chick! With a soul as deep down and groovin’ as Motown, she’s got blues in her bones, jazz for a brain, punk rock eyes, a gospel choir wailing in her heart and a sweet rocksteady smile that can get a whole dancehall feeling fine!
She sets up her vintage 70s turntable as though she’s rigging wires to an input/output plug hidden behind the cosmic veil, her cart of vinyl stacked next to her like ancient scrolls. She has a way of making any place so cozy and intimate, that you might believe you’re sitting on a rug in a dim lit apartment, while she’s playing records just for you. Still, as soon as the needle touches the grooves of the LP, and the first sounds of crackling fiery notes escape, smiles spread on faces as she delivers the Dopamine and helps us all survive another day.
What was your experience with music as a child? Can you remember the first song that you ever loved?
I was surrounded by music my entire life. My Grandfather and my mother both played instruments and we had a piano, growing up. My mother and my 4 older siblings had record collections. So of course, I was exposed to every kind of genre under the sun. To this day, I love everything from Broadway to Metal. I think the first song I remember playing over and over, was my mom's copy of Mashed Potato Time, by Dee Dee Sharp. I love that song. I still play it when I spin records.
People love music--I personally can’t live without it--but most people don’t run out, acquire turntables, and amps, and become a DJ! How and when did you decide that this is something you wanted to pursue?
A few years ago, I started crate digging…picking up records at various thrift stores, yard sales, etc. I was especially drawn to the old soul 45's. There is such a charm to hearing the driving beat and slight crackle of a good old soul record, when it's played on a turntable. One day, while browsing my news feed on Facebook, I saw a post by Matt Texter a local Musician/DJ. He was promoting vinyl night at Bobby's Place. He invited anyone with Soul, Hip Hop, Blues, Funk, etc. to bring their records down and give them a spin. I thought it sounded fun, so I did just that. Matt welcomed me and my little soul collection, showed me the ropes and I was instantly hooked. I loved learning the rhythm and timing of it and letting the records lead you on a journey. Watching the crowd forget life for a while and lose themselves in the music, was pure joy. And it came so naturally to me. He and I went on to co-DJ a string of vinyl dance nights at Scotty's. It wasn't until my friend Christine mentioned the need for female DJs in the area, that I actually thought…”Yes..., I need to do this”! Being a stay-at-home mom and out of the work force for six years, I had been cleaning houses as a side job. This was a chance to do something I love, still take care of my son...and empower myself by getting out there and doing my thing, just like the guys.
I LOVE that you LOVE to DJ at senior centers, tell us the meaning and importance of doing this?
As folks grow older, their lives change in ways that can only be understood through that very experience. The world advances at a fast pace. It can leave many senior folks feeling out of step. Things feel unfamiliar…like technology, cultural changes, social trends, fashion, etc. and simply how they are perceived and treated in society. Playing the music they request is something that helps them connect with themselves in such a pure way. It lets them experience feelings and memories that are not only familiar…but have meaning to them. I feel that allows people to feel at home in a special way.
Music has been known not only to bring patients in nursing homes out of their isolation and help revive memory, but it also helps people experiencing anxiety and depression, military and refugee PTSD, as well as people enduring physical pain. Why do you think the harmony and magic of music is so healing?
Whether it is joy, pain, hope, inspiration, longing, fear, humor, regret or love…Music taps into the deepest part of our souls and allows us to experience these thoughts and feelings in a very natural, organic way. It can help us move through thoughts and emotions, that sometimes awaken, after many years… without speaking a word.
Music is an ingrained part of every culture, tribe, and society. Though humans like to take credit for almost everything, music began in nature; the babbling brook, the songs of birds, whales, crickets, the crackle of fire. Would you say that music is also our contribution to the spiritual conversation of the universe?
Absolutely…it transcends all of the things that tend to separate us…sex, race, religion, culture, politics, and AGE!
15 Little Questions (because the little things mean so much)
What’s your favorite noise? A nice thunderstorm.
What smell do you love? Campfire.
Who are you most like in the Muppet Band, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem? Well, I’m not sure that I'm cool enough to be in that band…but if I was… I think I might be Zoot.
What movie should be re-made into a musical? The Man with Two Brains.
What’s your plan to survive the apocalypse? Offering my cleaning services in exchange for room and board in someone’s underground bunker.
Ziggy Stardust was David Bowie’s alter ego, what’s the name of your alter ego? My name would be Celeste Summers…and I would run a café in a small sea port.
People make money with careers as Elvis impersonators, who would you be best at impersonating? Oooh…I do impersonations…but none of them are good. Hahaha!
Fraggle Rock or The Dark Crystal? Fraggle Rock.
Rhett or Link? Can’t pick just one…no way.
Carpe Diem or Carpe Noctem? Carpe Diem!
What always sounds like a good idea, but hardly ever is? Ice cream.
What’s your favorite herb? SWEET BASIL.
What’s your favorite essential oil? Sandalwood.
What’s your favorite gemstone? I don’t have one.
What is the universe trying to tell us? Love and care for one another.
To request Sandy for any upcoming events, she can be messaged via Facebook @ Sandra Schuschu