Fact: John Haskins has played music for naked women on and off since 1996.
It’s been a quarter-century that Haskins has been a gentlemen’s club DJ, a vocation born out of financial necessity. He needed extra money because being an overnight DJ at the rock station wasn’t enough to provide Haskins his own lodging.
“There wasn’t enough money for me to move out of my parent’s house,” Haskins says.
Radio did start paying more but Haskins always remembered what helped get him through. “I always tried to DJ in the clubs on the side. Eventually, club DJing became the full-time thing.”
A hiatus from the industry in the early part of the 2010s saw him elated to rejoin the DJing ranks.
“I was happy to come back when the opportunity came back around,” he says. “It’s been really good ever since and I’ve been blessed to work with some great people along the way!”
ED spoke with Haskins, courtesy of StripJointsMusic.com to ask him about his market, his musings on club music and his philosophy about the job. And don’t miss his personalized Spotify playlist courtesy of Bob Chiappardi and StripJointsMusic.com!
ED: What club are you working at now, and how has the club survived the COVID shutdowns?
HASKINS: Prior to COVID I was at Teaser’s in Durham, NC. It was my third stint there and easily my favorite time!
ED: How would you describe the market where you DJ (prior to COVID)? How does the music you play, or your approach to the playlists in general, help give you an advantage over other clubs in your market?
HASKINS: Downtown Durham is a melting pot of people and I’m trying to give everyone something they can relate to, connect to and fund with. I’m trying to play a balance of Top 40, hip hop, dance and rock with a little country here, a little reggaeton there. Being able to go old school at the right time gives the whole room energy; everyone from the guys to the entertainers to the bar staff and managers connects and it’s just the best feeling!
Bottom line though: I’m gonna play some great music, be silly on the mic—and at the end of the evening a bunch of beautiful ladies I’ve witnessed getting naked all night, and who wouldn’t have anything to do with me outside of this environment, are going to give me money. That’s ridiculous, but true! — John Haskins
ED: What’s your philosophy when it comes to music in the club; meaning, how do you balance what to play when you consider the girls, the owner and/or manager, and the crowd?
HASKINS: It comes down to relationships and trust between me and the girls *and me and management. Their approach and perspectives may be different, but they all want to be successful and to have fun making money along the way. They trust that I’ll help put us all in the best position to make money. Sometimes I’m open to what girls and management are thinking…but when I have an instinct or a feeling about what needs to happen, they stay the fuck out of my way and let me make it happen lol!
ED: What’s your favorite thing about being a club DJ? What would you change about your job, or the industry at large, if you could?
HASKINS: I love entertaining people and having a great time. We could all be paid closer to what our value to our respective clubs is and we could represent ourselves with more professionalism so that we could get the respect we deserve. Bottom line though: I’m gonna play some great music, be silly on the mic—and at the end of the evening a bunch of beautiful ladies I’ve witnessed getting naked all night, and who wouldn’t have anything to do with me outside of this environment, are going to give me money. That’s ridiculous, but true!
ED: What are some of your favorite artists?
HASKINS: I grew up loving the classic jazz (Miles, Coltrane, Chic Correa), Yacht Rock, Level 42, Old School Funk/R&B, Def Jam and the Golden Age of Hip Hop and any kind of dance-y New Wave stuff from the ’80s, ’90s Neo-Soul. Now, I love anything with some Nu-Disco and House feel to it. Disclosure, Jamiroquai, AlunaGeorge, The Knocks, Oliver Heldens, Sleepy Tom, Chromeo, Duck Sauce, Galantis, Dua Lipa, Tove Lo, Anderson Paak…I know I’m leaving a bunch of artists out…
ED: If you could see a concert of any musician, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
HASKINS: Again, I know I’m going to leave someone who I love out. Living I would love to have seen Jamiroquai, Living Colour, The Police, Tribe Called Quest, Chic Corea or Level 42 in their prime. Dead…Miles Davis Quintet from the Kind of Blue era, and Jaco Pastorius. The musicianship of these people would just be mind-blowing to witness live!