An Interview With Reid Speed Of Play Me Records

It’s time for an interview With Reid Speed – founder of Play Me Records and world famous DJ! I was recently blessed to be put in touch with the mighty Reid Speed through my friends at Symphonic Distribution, Janette and Jorge and do this really insightful interview.

Some of the things I found out about the music biz from Reid Speed shocked me (you’ll see what I mean below).

Reid Speed is a phenomenal DJ who has been making huge moves in the EDM scene since the late nineties, dominating in the genres of dubstep, 2 step, fidget house, garage and drum and bass, with residencies in some of the world’s most prestigious clubs. Originating from NYC, she now lives in Santa Monica California, where she runs Play Me Records and sub label Play Me Too Records with her husband Alex.

An Interview With Reid Speed Of Play Me Records

Reid, it’s an honour to chat with you today. How did you get started with DJing?

I started DJing in high school. Since childhood I had made mixtapes for my friends, I was utterly obsessed with music. AT 15 I had run away from home and ended up at a rave called Eden in Colorado, where heard DJ Dan spin. I realized there was this medium where you could communicate musical stories to large groups at once, and I was hooked. Spent all my time & money on DJ gear and records from that point on.


Nice! So do you remember your first ever gig in a club? How did you get it?

I used to shop at Breakbeat Science right when it first opened. I would often run into local DJs there, and after 6-7 months of this, one of them (Christian Bruna) invited me to try out at his Hot Fudge Sundays night, he said “bring 5 records”, I did, and was offered my first residency at Camouflage.

From there, I caught the attention of Stuck on Earth, the largest rave promoters in NYC. I became their resident shortly thereafter, and then I also later joined up with Direct Drive and was a resident of theirs for years.

reid speed reaching

Do you get nervous before a DJ gig?

I did get nervous for about the first 2 years. Then it was like riding a bike.. pure joy.


What makes Play Me different from other labels releasing similar music?

What makes Play Me different is that I genuinely care about helping artists succeed and make a living doing their art. We do not run a factory. We try as hard as we can for each and every artist and want each and every artist to live their dream.

play me monster

What do you find are the biggest challenges of running a label?

I’d say the biggest challenge comes from the aftermath of the success we work so hard to achieve for artists. We specialize in finding new artists who are small and virtually unknown, and helping them create a bonafide career of their art. We put all of our resources into building new artists up, helping them get heard and get that career going. But more often than not, once relative success has been achieved or they “level up”,  they tend to not just forget the help, but actually turn against us. They become egotistical and often just plain shady towards us, bringing in “management” to obstruct the workflow and attempt to go back on deals they made with us before they were known. That to me is so sad, because we literally do everything possible to help, wanting nothing but loyalty and basic respect in return. Neither Alex or I has ever taken a dime from the company. 100 % of profits go right back into helping artists. So when they go flipmode on us, often after months or years of our tireless work for them, it really hurts.


What have been some of the landmark releases on Play Me that you and Alex are most proud of so far?

Some of my personal favorites I’m most proud of would include the recent Singularity & Them Lost Boys EPs, DCarls’ “Jump” EP, Dirt Monkey, FS, and Cyberoptics in general as artists. But taking it back, some things I am stoked we had a chance to be a part of include Dillon Francis’s first release, Figure’s first real solo EP, and also helping to launch Bare, J. Rabbit, Nostalgia, Dodge & Fuski… I’m super proud of all that.


reid_speed smoking

Nice – I saw you drop Ming & Jumpshot’s ‘Punani’ at Webster Hall last weekend (on Youtube LOL) – a huge tune from your label. I was also well impressed by ‘The Ascent’ by Divine Element and Dirt Monkey’s ‘Bussitup’ – You have some huge releases coming out at the moment.


Do you ever reach out to artists that you want to work with, or do you get so many demos that you don’t have time for that?

No we definitely reach out to artists we discover as well as go thru most all the demos we receive. We set aside a lot of time for listening each week.


How is the health of the EDM scene at the moment in your eyes? Is there anything you wish was different to how it is?

The scene is at a convergence right now….There is an overabundance of music, and therefore crap, but also therefore amazingness. The possibility of a new artist to actually make a living off their art has never been better. So I am stoked, all this mainstream business coming in obviously waters it all down, but helps people live….


Interesting… where do you think this convergence is heading? How do you think the music biz might be different in the next few years (a tough one to answer, I know ;))

I can’t say. Although I sincerely hope the obsession with turning up and molly go away soon. I do know that with money comes greed. So, I will have to keep hoping for and being the change in consciousness I hope to see emerge to all.


Is there any insider-info you can share with us about what to expect from yourself, Play Me and Play Me Too  later in 2013?

Definitely look out for my new project, still a secret, not named yet, but 3 songs are done and more to come, it’s 100 % not what you would expect from me, and hopefully the world will love it!


Nice! I’m amazed at how you manage to balance running two labels and actively DJ’ing on top of producing!

Ha, its very hard, this is why i don’t currently have many shows, because I’ve spent a lot of time helping others and didn’t have time to help myself! But we now have a small Team Play Me and that is making it increasingly more possible to do both and have neither suffer.

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