This week I had the honor and privilege to chat it up with someone I see as truly a knowledgeable person and extremely humble. The person I am speaking about is DJ Guamstyles of OTWS (Off The Wall Site). Enjoy!
How’s it going Dj Guamstyles, thank you for giving us the opportunity to chat it up with you.
-No problem man, it’s an honor.
First of all how did you come up with the name DJ Guamstyles? I know DJ’ing had a part in it hahaha.
-Haha yah it did. It’s kinda funny because it originated from an AOL screen name I had.
I remember listening to some of your older stuff when you DJ’ed. What made you start DJ’ing and do you still do events?
-I grew up around music. My parents love their rock, and soul, and oldies. Their record collection was pretty diverse, so I was exposed to everything growing up. From Classic Rock, to Easy Listening, to Pop, we listened to it all. I’ve been a fan of music since a young age. My dad had every Fat Boys tape, and that was probably my introduction to Hip-Hop, and I was glued to my radio ever since. I used to ruin my records, on my Fisher Price portable turntable, by scratching on them. I was always being yelled at for that! That beige one, that was like a suitcase, you know what I’m talking about? Later on, in high school, my friends and I started playing CDs at friend’s birthday parties and stuff. We got a crappy Radio Shack mixer with analog VU meters, and we just played CDs from two CD players. No mixing, just fading in and out between songs. It wasn’t until we linked up with our friends who were already deejays in high school, who had complete systems, and were doing our school dances, and lunchtime activities, that we got introduced to real deejaying. We knew that we needed to step our game up, so we went out and purchased some Gemini CD mixers. They were whack, so we upgraded to the Denon 2000s. Not good enough, so we then again upgraded to the Denon 2500Fs. We thought we were set! Well, that was until I learned that my uncle James, who I’ve known for many years as my aunt Cris’s boyfriend, was a deejay back in the day. He said he didn’t use his turntables anymore and that he’d sell them to me. My friend fronted the cash for them, and we said goodbye to the CD mixers! I later on found out from him, that he was part of this Hip-Hop group that formed in the late 80s in Leimert Park, South Central Los Angeles. That group was the Freestyle Fellowship! I didn’t know what that was, or how instrumental they were to the early scene, but as I became a student of the Hip-Hop culture, I realize how legendary they were. I’m honored to name drop him anywhere! So yeah, what up uncle James aka J.Sumbi! He was also The Nonce’s DJ (Mixtapes). I’ve somehow turned this question into a life story, haha! But I don’t deejay as much as I used to because of time and other things but still every now and then I do friends parties and stuff like that. Check out all my DJ partners though, from Critical Beatdown. That’s my fam right there!
So what made you start digging Vans?
I didn’t really buy Vans when I first got into collecting sneakers, but what got me into them heavy was their Syndicates. It was like their answer to Nike SB. I love how everything about them serves a purpose and the design is well capsulated. It’s also dope that all their shoes have a great story behind them. They really pay attention to all the details.
So what pair of Vans are you in the hunt for?
-It would still have to be the Syndicate 011 x Jason Jessee ’09 Notchback Sk8-Hi’s. I passed on it multiple times because retail was a bit expensive. That’s the thing about Syndicates they can sit for a year and BOOM they are all gone the next day. When I was ready to get them they were all shipped back to Vans. Vans let’s stores ship back shoes that didn’t move well. This was the time the earthquake in Haiti hit and Vans shipped out lots of shoes to help those in need. So yeah, some Haitians are rockin’ some serious Vans Syndicate heat over there!
Wow, I had no idea that Vans let stores do that and more amazed that Vans helped out so much!
-Yeah Vans really helps out everyone.
So how did you became involved with OFFTHEWALLSITE?
-The original OTWS (offthewallsite.com) was very integral with my interest in Vans, and becoming involved with the “rebirth”. I was learning a lot about Vaults, Collaborations with shops, and other special or limited edition models. The people were cool as well, and when RAF let the site expire, a lot of us were stranded without anywhere to go. It killed off the Vans collector almost instantly. Tons of guys started selling off their stuff. Shoes that used to sell for almost $200, were fetching $100 at best. There was very minimal interest anymore, and what sucked was that a lot of dope stuff was still releasing! I found a few of the OTWS members at a Dunkxchange in Fullerton, CA one time, and they said they were all communicating over on ISS forums. That was our home for pretty much all of 2009 and most of 2010. As the Vans popularity started to gain steam, we felt that a single thread for all of us wasn’t sufficient. I then suggested the idea of starting up OTWS again. I already had some knowledge with blogging, so that was a plus. I had zero knowledge about creating and administrating a forum, though. In December of 2010 we started the forum. The blog was started a few weeks before that. It was rough in the beginning, but we got by. People then slowly migrated to OTWS because it was a place where we could do our own thing.
Vans Shoes does truly have a strong following. It’s great to see the bond y’all have.
-We don’t know why it’s like that, but we acknowledge and embrace it! A lot of people were stoked to see that we were back up and running again. People came out of the wood works, and started spreading the word. There’s not much hype with Vans, so we tend to get genuinely loyal members. They don’t mind helping others find stuff, and doing favors for others. It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the blogs and forums. OTWS doesn’t exist without all of the contributing members. Members design tees, logos, etc. that we turn into stickers and tees for us. The “WDYWT” posts help give the members some exposure to our main blog, and since I know almost every shoe they post pics of, I am simultaneously educating the readers of the blog on what this or that shoe is. People have given great feedback on that aspect. We don’t try to be elitists. We want others to know how to find stuff, and rep it.
That’s fresh that you guys really cater to your culture. I also see you have a strong following on Instagram. How is that going?
-The Instagram feed @OFFTHEWALLSITE has also been a big part of us growing exponentially these past months. By having people hashtag #OTWS, I can pick and choose from a lot of awesome Vans related photos. I try to have variety, and I don’t cater to any specific genre, style, or username. If a user on Instagram gets a lot of reposts from @OFFTHEWALLSITE, it’s because they take unique and cool photos! Simple as that! (Also, don’t be “thirsty for attention” and hashtag #otws on every single Vans photo you take. Just the ones that you think people would really want to see!) It’s also allowed us to connect or be acknowledged by some of the designers, heads of departments, and some reputable people over at Vans. That’s one step closer to getting on the other side of that proverbial “fence” of the industry. Right now, I’m sitting on the fence, telling our members and readers what I see over there, and I try to relate back what I see, in my own words. One day I’ll get offered a collaboration project or something cool from Vans! One day!
-Dennis and I have known each other since high school, but hung out with different groups. His little brother and I are good friends, so you could say we come from the same circle of friends, by way of friends, family, and siblings. It was always a wish of mine to have him design something for OTWS. It’s like he was so close, but so far, due to him being occupied with Ek5obition clothing, RIF.LA’s line, and what not. The timing was just right, I guess, and it was great to finally get him to help us. We’re like best friends now, haha. It’s like that moment in Step Brothers where they say “Did we just become best friends?! …Yup!” His first design for us is on sale now, and I feel that it represents OTWS. We wanted it to a dope graphic that could be worn with anything, not just Vans, but with some inspiration from Vans, like with the color combos that we picked.
Well, thank you Dj Guamstyles for your time. It was dope to hear what you had to say. Any last words for everyone out there?
-Keep up with us on the OTWS site and Instagram and thank you to all our members, and followers!
Follow me @DJGUAMSTYLES if you care to see what I do with my personal life, and follow @OFFTHEWALLSITE if you get down with Vans! (That’s for both Twitter and Instagram)