Byron Fenix, senior producer and host of the weekly radio program Soul Deluxe, as well as a resident DJ at Red Thai in Phoenix, Arizona, is not your average mix DJ. “I started collecting music by recording it on a cassette player,” he laments. A native of Phoenix, Byron is soul music’s most unlikely ambassador. Born to a Navajo father, and a half Hopi, half Navajo mother, he learned early on to appreciate diversity, not just in the music he collected, but in his everyday life as well.
In many ways, Byron is an example of the all American guy – he’s a graduate of Camelback High School in central Phoenix, studied computer aided design at Phoenix College, and has been “spinning vinyl” in one shape or form, for years. “My cousin started DJ’ing when I was a teenager, and had turntables but he wanted to play hip-hop. I was more interested in electronic music and then developed an interest in soul music, including jazz.”
The second eldest of five children, Byron developed a sense of humility and a strong work ethic early on, in part from having to help watch out for his siblings, while also witnessing it being played out by his elders. “From the time I was like five until about the age of 14, my mom, who raised us by herself, would send us to live with our grandmother in northern Arizona during summer breaks. We’d live and work with grandma on the reservation herding sheep. Not having luxuries like running water or electricity for the summer really made me appreciate going back home to Phoenix in the fall.”
Over time Byron’s hard work ethic, creative spirit, and curious nature caused him to take the leap and start sharing his love of music on Phoenix’s online community radio station, Radio Phoenix. First, in 2008, as part of the innovative dance music program, Unity Vibe, he was thrown into talking on the mic by Phoenix’s DJ RMC, and later in 2010, as host of his own popular show.
What some people find the most interesting about him is that even though he now has a regular DJ residency in Phoenix, and a popular radio program, he’s still that humble, curious, hard working guy he always was. He also likes to keep things simple. “I still collect vinyl and think it’s really important to know how to mix with vinyl. I try to find the soulfullness in all genres – jazz, house, electronic, whatever.”
When not on the air sharing the newest jams with his radio audience or keeping the crowds hyped at the club, Byron says his favorite things to do are spending time with his son, and listening to new music.
A DJ who actually gets excited by the music?
Go figure.java game