Creating Community Through Music: DJ Lamont

By DJ Lamont Young

(Editor’s Note: Legendary Bay Area DJ Lamont Young has been spinning music for over three decades, helping to provide the soundtrack to our lives. In addition to his own impressive work, he mentors young DJ’s and has taught over 350 private DJ lessons since 2008 from his music studio in the Mission District. We love the range of his musical choices, and the masterful way that he mixes different genres together. A set could include 1940’s early jazz, soul, funk, disco, smooth and sexy house music, the latest electronic and pop hits, and more. Whatever the mix, they all represent DJ Lamont’s soul-satisfying and distinctive, stylish approach.)

Music connects me to people. Being a DJ, I am able to share a moment or experiences with folks that I may never know personally or intimately, even though we spend countless hours in the same environment. Choosing the right song at the right time is based on trust, musical knowledge, musical history, and a great deal of internal instincts in order to cause the response that is anticipated.

I have been playing with records for 43 years, ever since I was given my first Close N’ Play record player at the age of 5. Although I now use the latest DJ technologies, such as DJ apps, software, and computers, the basic process for me of selecting music remains unchanged. Music has remained a constant, major force in my life.

Maybe you met me at Mecca Restaurant & Bar, where I was the music director and DJ from 1997 to 2007. The first year I spun music at Mecca, I was promoted from part-time status to full-time director. It was one of the first places where I was told to put down my playlist and express myself based on my passion in the moment and the vibration of the environment.

In addition to my work as a DJ, I have strived to create a musical community beyond the nightlife of clubs and bars, and one that is based upon creativity, education, and inspiration. With that goal in mind, I started Fingersnaps Media Art Services. Fingersnaps is a DJ school where music enthusiasts are taught DJ skills. I founded it in 2003, after cashing out my savings and purchasing new turntables, CDJ players, a mixer and monitors. I also cleared out a spare room in my Mission District apartment to set up an educational DJ studio.

My first marketing efforts were posts on craigslist. Within a week’s time, I got my first call from someone wanting my services. Since then, I have taught hundreds of youths and adults in my studio. I have also taught others at the YMCA, Hamilton Family Center, The California Men’s Gathering, through the San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts and more.

I find it amazing and organic that music has granted me the opportunity to enter such places as a classroom with youth as young as 5 years of age, as well as private homes and some of the finest entertainment venues in the Bay Area. I really have to pinch myself sometimes.

I also am the host and programmer of The Fingersnaps Music Salon on community radio KPOO 89.5 from Wednesdays 12midnight to 4:00am-ish spinning Disco, The San Francisco Street Inspired House Mix (where I use my self-powered, compact mobile DJ gear to record my set on the streets of San Francisco), NuJazz & Soul and Classic House Music. I also invite literary artists, singer/song writers, and other performing artists to my program in order to showcase the rich and diverse arts in our community.

I still play numerous events throughout the year, from family events; such as weddings, birthday parties, and anniversaries; to large-scale events, such as for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and for SF Pride’s Homo Hip Hop Community Stage, where I have been the stage manger and DJ for 7 years. I also work as a DJ at bars and cafes throughout the Bay Area.

I believe that music is not just sounds, tempo, and rhythm. DJ-ing and music are communication. When I am spinning, I achieve moments of clarity and purpose; I become very emotional. I am able to see the possibility of humans being more than who we are. Spinning music brings me joy, and I share that joy though each individual song I select for you, my guests.

For more information about DJ Lamont Young, and to hear sample music mix demos, please go towww.fingersnaps.net/dj-lamont.html