When A.B. Eastwood, WNXP’s Nashville Artist of the Month for July, first took his place behind the turntables and laptop at shows, he was merely doing a thing that needed to be done, assisting artists whose music he’d produced—Bryant Taylorr, Brian Brown and others—in translating their studio performances to the stage by serving as their DJ and hype man.
Soon he branched out into gigs spinning hits for parties. “Then opportunities started coming where people just wanted me to be me,” he told me during an interview in the upstairs office space in South Nashville that he’s converting into a studio. “And that’s where I was like, ‘Oh, I can control the pulse here.’”
Eastwood’s idea of how to orchestrate the feel of a DJ set for a dancing crowd involves selecting music that spans the breadth of his taste. “As much as I can, I go across everything,” he said.” “You’re going to hear Paramore’s ‘Misery Business,’ and it might come after Tupac. I don’t know, but I know that it’s going to feel great. And the more that people enjoy it, the more it gives me ideas. I don’t ever want to be the guy who’s on stage, and [it seems like] I hate that I’m on stage. So any place that I can DJ that they allow me just to be me so I can enjoy myself, I’m going to show everything, because I want to hear that.”
Here’s a sampling of the many different territories that Eastwood steered through—from hard rap to melodic brooding, boy bands to pop-rock, EDM, southern R&B and, yes, Paramore—during his July 10 DJ set for a capacity crowd on the rooftop of Acme Feed and Seed.