The origin of Neil Armstrong's DJ name has nothing to do with the astronaut. His real name is Neil Rodriguez. Everybody at school would call out all these famous Neil’s at him like Neil Diamond and Armstrong was the one that stuck.
Neil realized he wanted to be a DJ when he saw Shortkut of the Invisbl Skratch Picklz at the 1994 New Music Seminar. Seeing Shortkut, Qbert, and other Filipinos succeed inspired him.
Members of his crew The 5th Platoon, The X-Men, and Qbert took him under their wings training him. By October of 1995 he was practicing and having mock battles in his basement with Sinista, Eclipse, and the X-Men. He also learned about DJing by watching videos and from practicing.
Originally he bought one cheap Gemini turntable and mixer and would play along with a radio because he couldn’t afford a second turntable.
Neil has a college degree in Chemical Engineering. Chemical engineers do things like testing oil for Exxon. He has also previously worked in technology. The skills he learned there didn’t really transfer to DJing but Neil still believes highly in education. It provided him with a safety net and instilled important values such as hard work in him.
Neil was part of a jazz band called Russell Gunn and Ethno Musicology who were nominated for two Grammys. He was the percussion element via turntables and traveled the world with them until they broke up.
He has been a teacher at Scratch Academy on and off for a couple of years and used to be a freelance writer covering the underground DJ scene for Guillotine, Flavor, The ITF newsletter, and Subculture. He realized that he “didn’t just want to be a fan of hip-hop, he wanted to contribute.”
Neil has about 10,000 records in his collection.
Some of Neil’s favorite places to find records in New York City include A1, Sound Library, Fatbeats, and Rock ‘n’ Soul.
While some DJs are secretive about where they find records and some are secretive about teaching their tricks, the 5th platoon wants to spread the culture.
Neil recommends using the following equipment: Technics 1200’s, Shure needles, a Rane mixer (sponsor of 5th platoon), and Pro Tools software for making mix-tapes.
A beat matching tip Neil offers is that a lot of good DJ’s tap along with their feet or dance to get into the song when mixing.
Music is for everyone. I arrange it but didn’t create it originally.
If you like to rhyme start writing your own rhymes. If you like beats make your own. Just follow your dreams. Do what you love.