Just call him the spin doctor
LONDON — It’s midnight on a Saturday and DJ at War, or Josh Hodge, drinks a Corona beer as he socializes at the Apt Club.
On this night, the east London club has an ongoing Spanish Harlem event filled with hip-hop and salsa music. DJ at War has been chosen to unleash his mixes at 1 a.m., when the club will be at its busiest.
DJ at War is a resident deejay for Progressive Entertainment who puts together Spanish Harlem and other events in the city. Over the past four years, he has become a popular deejay, playing at some of the top clubs in England, according to his Web site.
About a year and a half ago, DJ at War was Staff Sgt. Hodge, a mental health technician for the 48th Medical Operations Squadron at RAF Lakenheath. He has since separated from the Air Force, but he still has ties with the base, working at the base exchange when not spinning records.
Recently, Hodge’s future in the deejay world has been thriving. As he deals with the American-based Maha Booking Company, bigger gigs and tours with DJ Cash Money this spring and summer will soon be a reality for the 27-year-old.
For about 10 years, Hodge has been earning his own claim to fame. In August 2005, he became the first American to deejay at Mauritius, a popular tourist locale out in the Indian Ocean. He even mixed “Union Black,” which went on to win Best Compilation at the Urban Music Awards last year.
And, while stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Hodge broke into the nightclub scene and spun records at after parties for the National Basketball Association’s 2001 All-Star game with acts such as Eminem with D12, Jagged Edge, Juvenile, Baby Bash and DMX.
Hodge said it was quite the experience spinning in the same place as DMX.
“It was really cool. Then, to meet up with the different people from his crew, it was a lot of fun,” he said.
He said it was difficult balancing his military and deejay careers. Sometimes he had to work night shifts and conduct physical training in the morning.
“It was tough. I had a couple of late nights,” he said, laughing.
He said the military put him in the business mind-set as he learned about ethics, punctuality and responsibility in his eight years in the Air Force.
“The military career basically financed me as far as being able to buy my equipment. I wouldn’t be in England if I hadn’t been in the Air Force.”
At about 12:45 a.m. at the Apt Club, Hodge heads to the deejay booth, where he will transform into DJ at War. He browses through his records and music on a laptop, and gets a feel for the house’s turntables.
Hodge is dressed in blue jeans and a long-sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up, so his fashion hardly stands out among the suits and stylish outfits in the club. Yet, soon he’ll make his presence known.
Hodge — now DJ at War — lets the turntables go, and, with help from Sean Paul, swarms of clubbers rush to the dance floor.
For DJ at War events and booking information, go to: http://www.djatwar.com