When the coronavirus pandemic ends, people across the country will go “out on the town” in droves. Sure, we can go to nightclubs and bars now, but, for obvious reasons, certain adjustments have to be made. When the time for maskless, non-social-distancing socializing returns, there’s going to be a lot of wild partying.
The Dayton area has a number of great nightspots. One of them is Julia’s Nite Club on Kingsridge Drive in Miami Twp. One of the reasons Julia’s is popular is its secret weapon: house DJ Tim Dylan (Tim Wanwick). DJ Tim Dylan has been rockin’ Julia’s dance floor for 16 years.
We talked to the popular and reliable disc jockey about his long career, his time at Julia’s, and what he thinks about Dayton and Dayton-based music.
Q: What made you decide to become a DJ?
A: I got into DJ’ing by accident. In my senior year of high school ,1980, I needed one more class to fill out my schedule. The only options were math, finance, typing or radio broadcasting. I always loved music and local radio (grew up listening to WTUE and WDAO), so, the radio class sounded like fun. After graduating in 1981, I did not want to go straight to college, so I moved to Oklahoma and started working full time. I lived there almost four years, and then moved back to Dayton. I ran into an old radio class buddy who stated his own DJ business. I worked with him a few years, then started working DJ gigs, free-lance, on my own.
Q: How did you end up DJ’ing at Julia’s Nite Club?
A: I got back into radio in the early 1990s. I spent two years at WWSU while attending Wright State. I worked as a DJ for the Mix 107.7 Saturday Night Mix radio show/live dance party for 22 years, and at various clubs around Dayton. One of the absolute greatest joys in my life has been entertaining people as a DJ. And I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredibly talented co-workers in the bar industry. Special mention to Brandon Pyle, my manager at Sugar’s Night Club at Holiday Inn Fairborn in the 1990s. He was the first bar manager that absolutely gave me a blank check in programming the club’s music. And we built the number one rated night club in Dayton, from 1994 until 1998, in local entertainment polls. Also, I had a great mentor in WMMX (Mix 107.7) Production Director Rick LaBeau, who helped me get hired at Mix 107.7. That’s how I landed at Julia’s in 2004. Saturday Night Mix was moved there.
Q: What do you love about DJ’ing at Julia’s?
A: Julia’s has a very friendly atmosphere. Very welcoming to newcomers as well as seasoned regulars. I have worked for several owners there: Chuck Willz, Gary Thompson and most recently, Doug and Jim Finkle. All of them have been super people that have open and welcoming personalities.
Q: What songs and type of songs do well at Julia’s? Which ones do the crowd respond to the most?
A: The music has always been geared toward dance tracks. There is a base of classic songs spanning the 1980s until today. I add newer music as the crowd demand for certain songs increases. Plus, my assistant, Tony Hill, helps me take requests and keep them organized.
Q: Who are the artists/singers that Julia’s crowd responds to the best?
A: Line dances, such as Electric Slide and The Wobble, remain extremely popular. Nineties hip-hop is strong right now as well. The ’80s also remain very popular, even among younger 20-something club goers. And the 40-plus-year-old crowd still enjoys stuff like the Bee Gees and KC and The Sunshine Band. It really shifts week to week ... the vibe of every crowd is a little different. As a club DJ, you’ve got to be mentally nimble and react quickly to where the crowd is at in the moment. I’ve learned, after 30 years as a professional DJ, to feel “the groove” the dance floor is moving in, its rhythm.
Q: From looking at your social media page, and the fact that you are a DJ, it’s obvious that you love music. What is your favorite genre? Who are your favorite artists?
A: I’m extremely open minded in my own musical tastes. Everything from rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and R&B. I appreciate anything creatively done well. I always have to thank the “Big Three” for my DJ career: Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince. More recently, popular artists have included The Weekend, Lizzo and Usher. Bruno Mars is in a league all his own!
Q: Besides clubgoers at Julia’s, what kind of music do you think Daytonians like?
A: I make frequent visits to Omega Music Store: shout out to Alex and his staff. And, I notice Dayton is a very diverse city for music. I see people in Omega buying rock, punk, jazz, rap, electronic, country, metal, etc. You name it, they have it at Omega. And there is a demand for all genres. Any music you’re looking for, they can hook you up.
Q: Which artists from the Dayton area, classic and/or current day, do you personally love?
A: In my younger days, I was inspired by local artists Ohio Players and Roger/Zapp, who became superstars. And I’m a major fan of the home-grown band Guided by Voices.
Q: What do you love about the Dayton area, overall?
A: The best thing about living and working in Dayton is affordability. The cost of living is very manageable, at least pre-pandemic. Everybody is more challenged in that regard now. But the area has always been pretty resilient. From the Xenia tornado to the more recent 2019 tornados, Dayton seems to always bounce back.
Q: If you had to give advice to someone who’s interested in becoming a DJ, what would you tell them?
A: The best advice for anyone thinking about a DJ career is to get an internship at a local radio station. That was a crucial career move for me. It’s an excellent way of making industry connections. I was extremely lucky: at the right place, right time, as there were strong relationships between radio and night clubs in Dayton. Also, it’s never been easier to get audio/DJ equipment together. Instead of needing a pile of records and CDs, like I did back in the day, just get your laptop loaded with sound files, a mixer and some speakers. Set it up in your house or garage, and practice playing music and mixing songs together. I would set up two turn turntables, when I was a newbie, and practice mixing songs together for literally four to five hours a session. Lastly, everyone I’ve worked with at Julia’s the past 16 years, they are truly a family to me. I couldn’t find a better group of co-workers. I’ve been blessed: from my radio experiences, to working literally thousands of wedding receptions and reunions and night club gigs. It’s been a great ride and I’m still learning my craft! I’ve still got a few stops left on the journey.
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