DJ APOLLO is a hip hop legend and musical pioneer who helped lay the foundation for the subculture known as turntablism. Born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco, Apollo is a jack of all trades known for his many musical styles, from hip hop to soul, funk, breaks, 80’s & disco to name a few. He was one of the first DJs to experiment with the turntable as a musical instrument, which helped elevate the skill into an art form and turn the DJ into a musician. Because of this, Apollo also became one of the first DJs to be member of a live jazz band.
One of the founders and original members of the Invisbl Skratch Piklz (ISP), Apollo helped introduce a revolutionary art form to the music world. The Piklz created the first turntable band: an art form in which turntables become the instruments that form all various sounds. The crew comprised of Apollo, Mix Master Mike and Qbert (also known as the Rock Steady DJs), and each artist possessed the skills to play various musical roles. These included the role of the drummer, bass player, lead scratch or turntablist. The combined talent of this team earned the group the titles of Disco Mixing Club (DMC) United States And World Champions (1992), which is the highest honor a DJ group can earn. The original ISP won them on both the national and international levels.
With the success in the DJ battle circuit, Apollo’s talent caught the attention of musical geniuses in the jazz and hip hop arenas. Apollo became the official DJ for Buckshot Lefonque, a band led by jazz legend Branford Marsalis and co-produced by DJ Premier of Gangstarr. Apollo also landed the DJ spot for Oakland based hip hop collective, Souls of Mischief of the Hieroglyphics and his musical work is featured on the group album “No Mans Land.” Another defining moment in Apollo’s career has been his experience with hip hop jazz trumpet player, Russell Gunn, and recorded tracks for Gunn’s albums Music Ethnocology, Volumes 1 and 2. Apollo is currently the DJ for another Oakland native, the diva of the Bay Area, Goapele.
Apollo is one of the few DJs in the world that has appeared on the three major late night talk shows, including David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. He is also featured in Scratch, a 2001 documentary film, directed by Doug Pray, that examines cultural and historical perspectives on the birth and evolution of hip-hop disc jockeys, scratching and turntablism and includes interview with some of hip-hop’s most famous and respected DJs. Both national and international publications continue to highlight Apollo throughout his career, including Vibe, Rolling Stone, URB, DJ Times, and The Source to name a few. Some of his awards include the Technics DMC DJ Hall of Fame Award and Inductee (1999) , the International Turntablist Federation (ITF) Grand Wizard Theodore Award (2000), and the Hip Hop Slam Hall of Fame Award (2002) presented by Billy Jam.
In 1999, Apollo joined up with two other legendary DJs, Shortkut (Beat Junkies) and Vinroc (5th Platoon), to form the super DJ group Triple Threat DJs. The only collective comprised of all turntable champions from major turntable crews. Triple Threat strive to master as many musical styles as possible as they produce tracks, compose music on the ones and twos, and rock a party with three times the power of your average turntable legend. Triple Threat has expanded into a music label and events promotions company as well.
On an individual level, Apollo also continues to create and master new forms of turntablism. He has an ongoing series of highly coveted mixes and projects that incorporate different genres in live gigs and studio beats, and spreads his musical acumen with DJ gigs throughout the world.
DJ Apollo supports the cause, being one of the many fine entertainers at this past years West Coast Cannabis Expo!