Steady rockin’ all night long…
Who?: Shannon Burton, AKA Steady B
Came to Indy: 6-7 years ago, but, has always a bastard stepchild of Indianapolis.
Places you may have seen him: Neon Cactus, The Vogue, Subterra, MojoStock, Melody Inn, The Mousetrap
This week, Indianapolis lost a shining star in its nightlife scene to the likes of Austin, Texas. Shannon Burton, aka, Steady B is a local dj/producer who has made major moves in his years in the Indy electronic music scene.
Shannon Burton has built a solid reputation and following since stepping into the music scene over 18 years ago. Through his many years of experience, countless headlining performances and successful events, he has earned the title as one of the Midwest’s leading and sought after DJ’s.
Steady B has brought his infectious energy and style to stages in Germany, Toronto, Detroit, Orlando, Chicago, and the rest of the Midwest’s major cities. Over the span of his career, Steady has held more than a dozen different longstanding residencies in different venues and cities.
Steady B performs regularly for major brands like Victoria’s Secret, Upland Brewing Company among others and is a DJ representative for Scratch Events based out of New York.
DJ Steady B’s talent is music. His passion is sharing it with others in any way he can. His unique and dirty music stylings mixed with a dynamic stage presence has made him an invaluable entertainer. Shannon and his wife Amanda will be relocating to make a new exciting life in Austin, Texas and it is only proper to give him a worthy send-off. Shannon sat down to answer some questions about his career, his hustle, and his upcoming move to Austin.
Amy Foxworthy (AF): How did you get your start?
Shannon Burton (SB): Well, it was something that I watched my older brother do growing up, and my step father DJ’d while in the Air Force. He had some records sitting around; I remember pulling out a UTFO’s Roxanne and scratching with that record until the needle broke. Then I pieced some gear together with my friend Mike Morgan and started doing house parties.and it seemed to become something that I became passionate about.
AF: First time you mixed records:
SB: Hmmm… are we talking a legit mix? I really didn’t have someone telling me what a proper mix was but I really payed attention to the mixtapes that my brother was sending me. I really don’t remember my 1st….but i remember playing records in the basement at my parents house–and I’m sure it drove them crazy–with this type of music with no vocal. A lot of 4-to-the-floor Hard House, House jams and Hip Hop, but they were supportive and it grew on them. My mother still shows up for shows and club events. When putting on shows myself, mom and pops would work the door at some.
AF: Who inspired you?
SB: My mother has been one of the biggest inspirations due to the fact that she is the one that instilled my love for music, my work ethic, and my party. As far as music is concerned, growing up I’ve listened to a lot of music and i appreciate it all-regardless if I like a genre or artist. Prince, Trent Reznor, Cajmere, Carl Cox, Rakim, Parliament , Depeche Mode….. the list goes “on and on” like Erykah Badu….
AF: When did you know you wanted to/could do this for a living?
SB: You catch this bug… this piece of you that wants more…..but, I really felt that I had this bug when I went to visit a friend in Germany and he had set up some shows for me. At the time I was still a infant in my career, but, being on the other side of this place called earth, and really not being that good I don’t feel. I wanted more out of it, and was willing to put in work to get to the point I’m at today. It is really powerful how music can bring people together; it was a life changing experience for me.
AF: Since you play so many different types of music, if you could only pick 3 genres for an entire year, what would they be?
SB: House, UK Grime and Juke!
AF: Scene drama–how you stay above all of it and how you stay tight with EVERYONE and don’t fall into cliquish shit?
SB: I stay in my lane. I SUPPORT when I can, i don’t take anything personal. I make my own opportunities, and my steps are guided.
AF: When you get to Austin, what is the plan? Build on what you’ve grown, or start fresh?
SB: A bit of both if that makes sense……the plan is to connect with like minded people with the type of gigs my heart is into, and continue my professional career as a DJ representative for Scratch events and with my own brand as DJ STEADY B.
AF: Who in Indy inspires you, who do you enjoy working with? Did someone give you some sort of chance where you got to open for someone, etc.? Did you have a “mentor,” per se?
SB: The DJ/Music community as a whole inspires me. I personally make a conscious effort to take something positive from everyone that I meet and take that and adding that to myself. I’ve played with many in this city–OG Brandon Patr!k, Jackola, 100proof……..but, when I’m on the decks with Cool Hand Lex or Buck Rodgers (currently in Austin, TX ) there is something about those sets that stand out; a type of vibe that gives ya chills. .As far as chances, I did different shows before i relocated to Indy, but, Techno Producer Adam Jay was the 1st person to book me as I started my 7 year adventure here…
AF: First Indy DJ gig, and first gig as a whole, nervous?
SB: Being like 16, doing house parties, R&B cafe, clubs/bars in Lafayette. I wasn’t even old enough to be in there and I still dj’d there. Purdue campus, we would load up the 79 Fleetwood (my first personal car) Cadillac, we’d hit specific party spots, play. I remember doing that at like 17 and 18. My junior and senior year in high school.
AF: Tell me about your production aspirations? have you been working on producing more? Talk a little bit about the differences in producing as opposed to mixing music/playing live and what you get from each, what you like most about each, what you dislike about each, etc.
SB: At this point in my career I’m wanting to evolve. From when i first started I was hip hop, then the booty & house, then I have produced my some tracks for my own person use for my shows…. I’m personally not too fond of my own work, but, people have liked the tracks I’ve made when I’ve played them out. This next phase of my career, production is going to be a focal point… I have a lot of concepts and projects that I’ve started by myself along with others. Just taking the time to sit down and arrange the concept to make a structured song from start to finish is my least favorite part.
For me, I want to produce stuff that sparks a person’s ear. When I’m in the studio I don’t have a genre that I’m going to make, I have idea that just vomits…. but, I may hear something and I just do it. There are too many “labels” in the world–genres or whatever. Same thing when I dj an EDM set somewhere. I ask the promoter what people are digging at the venue at the time, or look at what idea of why the booked me, and I build from there. I crate dig and then I get to a final cut process, then I will put the 1st 15 to 20 mins together on how I want to start the journey of my set, then after that we just see what happens. It’s about reading the crowd and seeing if you have them engaged.
AF: Collabs? Dream collabs? Michael Mcdonald? Kenny Loggins? Bob Seger? Are you wanting to like, break into the yacht rock scene? What’s something that people wouldn’t expect to hear from you that you’d like to experiment with or break into sometime?
SB: I enjoy working with people on tracks; you bounce ideas, you feed of one another vibe, you have a second pair of ears. You can play off of their strong points and they can play off yours. Dream collaborations… hmmm….Art of Noise, Cajmere, anyone from Dirtybird, Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Jaimie Fanatic.
AF: Talk to me about Booty House…. explain it for our listeners…. where did it come from, how did you get into it? Who are your inspirations or role models in that scene?
SB: BOOTY HOUSE…. ghetto house, ghetto tech, hip house miami bass… sexually driven party music–can be vulgar… It was twerk music before twerk was twerk in the “EDM scene” the booty house / ghetto house / juke based out of Chicago. The ghetto tech & was based out detroit. I made babies with the genres…..my brother would send me mix tapes from Detroit with such artist like Godfather, Assault and Nasty and other. I was also following djs from Chicago like DJ Funk, Slugo, Deeon, Nephews, Fast Eddie and so many more….I was the only Dj playing it from South of the region (Northwest indiana )
AF: Versatility…you play everything…. talk about ability to assess/judge your crowd and how important of a factor that is in dj’ing. How do you deal with sporadic requests, when you are playing a set?
SB: Its all about balance. The club or venue hires the DJ’s for a reason–to make a party and to rotate the crowd from the dance floor and to the bar.
Some DJ’s do requests, some don’t., depending on the venue or event…. its up to the DJ’s discretion….. it is a customer service-based job for some events.
AF: Charity…. you’re involved with some charities where you give your time and talent for free for some really good causes. Not asking you to toot your own horn, but can you tell me a little bit about the ways you give back to your community through your music? To follow, tell me some things going forward you’d like to get involved with or make an impact in some way.
SB: When you are blessed to be able to do what you love for a living…. why wouldn’t you want to give back to the community…or give time back to those who might need it. Everything from Red Cross to Boys and Girls clubs…. marathon to fund raisers……
I did work for the Boys & Girls club for years, I do miss that…..Something I may do a little more once down in Austin.
AF: Tell me some funny stories you’ve seen or witnessed on your many times playing out. Weirdest request, most frequent request, has anyone ever messed up your equipment, etc.
SB: A Funny story….I was up north near Chicago and the power went out, and as the dark silence took over the bar, the party kids started mouthing their own house track. “oontz,oontz,oontz,oontz,oontz,oontz,oontz,oontz!” Weirdest request; nothing weirder than someone requesting a song they have seen on youtube. Most frequent request, “That one song I don’t know the name of it, or who its by, but……” None of my equipment has been messed up….but my gear are my children….they are insured…but, you best not hurt my children…..lol.
AF: Nerves… Get nervous?
SB: during the set, you are releasing this energy out, and receiving out, and they’re pushing an energy back at you. After you get done, you are kind of depleted, so, coming into your space, makes me feel ill sometimes…not really “nervous” but just a sort of anxiety sometimes. My prep stage, hunting tracks down for a few days, then getting a few tracks together for a start, and get into that set. I don’t plan sets, other than the beginning and then I just go from there. It isn’t playing that makes me nervous, I get a little anxious about an hour before a big show, I double check everything, same bag in the same order, and I don’t make plans before the show, I will go back in the house 2-3 times before I actually leave for a gig, to make sure I didn’t forget things, etc. Every big show, that usually happens. I talk to people afterward, but it just takes me a minute to get my….chi….back to a certain level.
AF: Do you have a new years resolution?
SB: To get a job.
AF: Do you have a gig lined up in Texas yet?
SB: Not yet, but discussions have begun!
AF: What would you be doing if you weren’t a rockstar?
SB:Mentoring, that is the fulfilling portion of what I do. Maybe like a drug and alcohol rehab center, a Boys & Girls Club… I’ve driven trucks, worked for Fedex… one time , I’d only worked there for a few days. I put the van in park, went to unload it, and it started rolling… it slipped out of park. I hit a garage got fired that day.
AF: Who are you listening to right now?
SB: Run the Jewels, Talk Radio, Flat Black (coy) Jin XS-Wu Tang collection, Two Tears in a Bucket mix I just did,
AF: Memorable performances you’ve seen as a fan, who are some people you just admire their skills or like to watch?
SB: Anyone from Dirtybird. Green Velvet, Cajmere, I always miss Carl Cox but really want to see him. Prince, George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic
AF: You have an awesome wife…I see her at a lot of your shows… tell me how it works with being a working dj who does this for a living, and also has a family/wife, etc. What is the recipe for success for that to work? I know a lot of dj’s don’t have successful relationships and lots of relationships fail in this field… what’s your and Amanda’s secret to making it work?
SB: Understanding the business as a couple, communication and a strong support system for one another. I have a awesome wife. She loves me and and the passion I have for it. I love her for that. It’s not for everyone, but when you find the one…..ya better keep her!
AF: Tell me some thoughts of yours, overall, on the music scene in Indy. How it was when you became part of it, how it has changed over the years, and where you think it stands now. What do you see for its future, and what do you think are the factors we need to make us stand out more in the national scene? Long question…sorry.
SB: I’ve enjoyed my time here in Indy. There are REALLY talented people here in Indy. Top notch such DJs, Producers and Promoters. I would say you could take most and put them in any other major city and they would hold their own.
Along with anything, you take the good with the bad, but, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN PATH!
I’ve felt like a black sheep from the start. I’ve been fortunate to be able and accepted within Underground electronic music scene and also able to play club venues and corporate events while keeping separation of both spectrums within those particular stylings of venues. I also have been accepted in both. The change over the years in the Indy music scene I feel is the term “Open format” has taken the DJ of the old out of their comfort zone. Making DJ’s more diverse for those who choose to. I think there is a different generation of partygoers. Are there “party starters” anymore? Yes…but are there as many? I’m not sure. When I was younger I wanted to be at the shows or the club from close to start to finish–not just when the headliners came on or when the club was already packed. I think there are many reasons behind this but we are not writing a book! haha.
I think there are fractions of promoters that are doing good things and I don’t think it will stop when I’m gone…. It just might miss a smiling face
AF: You’ve mentored some younger musicians/artists who are on the come up; you’ve worked with different people in different areas, to create things together and build up multiple parties. Tell me about how important that is to you, and is helping people starting out something you enjoy doing, or is it something that sort of gets thrown in your lap and you do it reluctantly, etc.?
SB: I enjoy mentoring other artists. I think there is a generation gap sometimes. My mentors and people that showed me the ropes in the music scene I feel gave me advice and the do’s and dont’s. You listened, took notes and paid your dues. You put in work and move up the ladder. But as a young guy, you made sure you took that advice and utilized that info. Iit would make you or break you.
AF: What will you miss MOST about Indianapolis, besides me? What inspired you to move to Texas?
SB: I will miss some really good and genuine people hear in Indianapolis. A lot of good relationships were built here in Indy.
One of my mentors moved to Austin the year prior to me moving to Indy and I was told I would love it, but, it just wasn’t my time. Things lined up for me to come to Indy 1st; guided steps…..now its my time for Texas.
The inspiration on this move was that the wife and I where looking to relocate in 2015. We had been on the Emerald Coast of Florida checking out the music scene there few times, plus we have family there. We went Austin for my little dj brotha’s bday (Buck Rodgers) and the wife and I fell in love with city, and things fell in place. Once again, guided steps….
And thats that; a new chapter of blessings for the seen and unseen….
AF: Any chance on coming back to Indy occasionally to visit us/play for us, or do we just have to get a caravan and bring the Indy party down to you? Also, I call first dibs on any potentially open rooms or floor space in your new house during SXSW….
SB: That overlaps with Steady-Gras… it’s going to be the best birthday for several years. I’m very excited, and yes, I will be back to play, it’s a possibility.
AF: Tell us what you will REMEMBER most about your time here.
SB: Remembering those who I could be a positive influence on to fight the “good fight” because in the last 2 months, so many people like yourself have spoken to me about how much of an influence I have been to this city. Not trying to be “this guy or that guy,” but, being a “good, stand up guy.”
AF: Any advice for people who are trying to do what you do, get where you’re at, etc.?
SB: Look past the fog and mirrors, and don’t compare yourself to others or what others are doing. MAKE YOUR OWN SUCCESS FOR WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE!
LOVE YOU ALL! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, Shannon DJ Steady B.
DJ, Producer, Indy Nightlife scene staple, mentor, father, son, friend…. we will miss you like The Colts miss Peyton. Godspeed to you and Amanda, Shannon “Steady B” Burton. Don’t forget us little people…
Quotes about Shannon from esteemed colleagues and Indy elite:
Jason King-CEO of IndyMojo: Steady B is one the most versatile DJs in the game today. I have hired him to open for Snoop Dogg with a 3 hour hip-hop set at The Vogue.. But have also asked him to play a late night EDM set at MojoStock Music Festival. Steady B is as “well rounded” as they come.
John Mattox (Ed Trauma) “All around King amongst men”
Shannon is one of the nicest and versatile Djs I’ve ever met- Rob S, indigo child
-Hugh Jeffner-: I have know Shannon for 20 years. Here is my quote.
“Growing up in the 219 ( “The Region” ) the pressure to be great was overwhelming in the DJ game. Steady B is another one of the amazing talents, kindred spirits, and lifelong friends to come from an area that produced a plethora of talent.
Christopher Noland/DJ Hollow Point: Steady B and I got to know each other from his time at Subterra. He and Cool Hand Lex used to have a Tuesday night event there, which usually catered to whoever decided to wander in. Usually it was populated by folks that were in town for a convention, but there were several locals who would come down to hang out and jam. The best part of this night was how open the format was. You see, Steady B and CHL are two of the most versatile DJs on town and could rock a dancefloor with any genre of music, and trust me when I say that they flexed this skill on a regular basis. I heard smooth jazz, hard house, downtempo, drum & bass and a heavy dose of top 40, hip hop, and house music all mixed together in the most unique and complex ways. I’ve known Cool Hand Lex for over a decade, tracing back to my days in college at Ball State, but I’m blessed to have gotten a chance to get to know Steady B as well. I’ll always look back at those nights fondly with a smile as, in my mind, there’s a special connection DJs have when they’re able to sit back and watch each other mix not always what other people are requesting, but what they themselves love to play. To witness the emotion we each put into the music we truly care about and share it with each other in a fun and social environment is a rare treat DJs aren’t always afforded.
Tyler “Stewbot” Stewart: I’ve known Shannon for as long as I’ve known anybody since I moved to Indianapolis 10 years ago. Not only as he made a major postive impact on dozens of midwest DJ’s, but also in my personal life as well. Speaking of DJ’s, I don’t know of many DJ’s as versatile and well rounded as Steady B. A true friend and midwest hero. This guy knows no booty he cannot move.
Lawrence Moore (Elliott Eastbourne): Thankfully, Steady B was my introduction into the electronic music scene in Indy. I say thankfully because he was always supportive and inclusive of everyone. He gave me my first handful of opportunities to play in Indy and I’ll be forever grateful for that. He somehow managed to avoid cliquish nature of electronic music in Indy and he was always out at somebody else show, showing love, whenever he wasn’t working himself.
The first time we spoke was when you and I had been to Takeover Tuesday a few times and on one of those occasions, he asked us if we were ok or needed a drink or anything. I think that’s representative of what kind of person he was. Straight up genuine and friendly.
Jamie Jackson-Sam Ash – “So, I am in Lafayette for the first time. I am sitting in on percussion with a few friends and am loading in across a cobblestone street. On my second trip, I hear “Jamie Jackson.” I look around in wonderment, because, I have never been here and who is this! The one and only Shannon Burton is looking at me and smiling. He is dressed to the nines and looking good. He was next door DJing a friend’s wedding. I told him to come check us out afterward if he had time. Well, he did. And he brought over the whole wedding party with him. We partied for a while, had some drinks and he made my only trip to Lafayette a very memorable one.
Shannon is truly one of the happiest people that I have ever met. He is nice, caring and was an important figure in the music scene in Indy. He and his smile will be greatly missed.”
Rob Jones: Shannon was of the coolest dj’s I’ve ever gotten to listen to and to learn
from.Great technique and flow to his sets, always on point with the track selections whether it was Retro Rewind at the Vogue or just throwing down at the Melody Inn. Cool, down to earth guy to talk to. I’ve been around a lot of dj’s in Indy and its good to know he’s one of
the many who will offer words of encouragement and pointers to some of
the young, up and coming dj’s. That sort of mentoring is what’s needed for the next group to flow with and grow with.
Jack Shepler aka Jackola: Steady is not only a great DJ, he’s real. He doesn’t overhype, he doesn’t play politics, and he has a genuine interest in promoting local music culture.
Indy has been lucky to have him. Austin is getting a true player, and by that I mean team player of course. I’ve had many opportunities to tag team with him and it’s always fun. He keeps me on my toes, but we play off each other in a way that’s fun and fluid. I’m going to miss that!
TopSpeed: Lay flatts IN, aka Lafayette… seeing shannon spin there at the rink, for me, it was great. Got to see a side of a guy do a different kind of music to a crowd that really accepted it well. From that to the Cactus, I told Him I’d always try to stop and see him at the Cactus. I said from here and Chicago I’d come see him…. when I could knowing if I’d stop, I’d stay too long You were pretty excited when he actually moved to Indy. I knew if he was closer, I had a chance og gettng music from him. He met me at midtown grill at 2008 and gave me a folder of House, I still haven’t been able to go through all of it. Shannon Burton, if anyone doesn’t know, it is a derivative name of a rapper who I am fond of….so why wouldn’t I be happy about a guy adopted that name and keep it steady on the turntables. He will be highly missed. Met too many djs around the city that know his name real well that will miss him as much as I do.
Kyle Wilson: Shannon and I started out with the dance background. Always seeing each other at different events out on the dance floor cutting it up and just having a good time. There are even several memories I hear others share of us out on the dance floor. Then there was always the fact the Shannon would be behind the decks tearing it up as always dropping “O’Sheila” on vinyl before I could even ask. He is without a doubt one of the faces I was always happy to run into. I truly feel Shannon will always be one of those friends that although we may not see each other for a long time, when we do we can pick up like it was yesterday. Hope everything works out like I know it will for ya, and keep up the good work with the positive vibes. – Big Kyle
Lisa SHIVA Smith: My memories of Shannon all revolve around his big smile and infectious demeanor. He’s always been that dude, bringing the party to you with a smile and an upbeat attitude.
Nate Cancilla (Jin-XS): Back when I was still shitting green as a DJ, i was on some very tiny ass shows for Crash! promotions that drew next to no one. However, Steady was one of the few local names that came to check it out when we were getting a lot of ire from other local DJs. He got one of my mix cds, which he still says is in his car cd rotation to this day. It may not seem like much, but it was little things like this that went a long way when i was breaking in, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why I have so much respect for Steady B
DJ Rican : At a time like this for being thankful for many things, I am grateful for gaining a friendship with Shannon. He, along with the TSRP crew, taught me a lot of the ins and outs of the DJ Business and introduced me to a lot of great people. From chaperoning him at the Neon Cactus gigs to enjoying T.N.T / All Record Parties / and the (Squish face) music, I know he will bring just as much love and talent to Austin as he’s done for Indy. God Bless and Best Wishes for Shannon and Amanda Burton (Mom and Dad) *BAM*
Pete “Antik One” - NAP DNB: I can’t say I know him well, but his influence on the scene here has been apparent since I returned to Indy. I’ve shared the stage with him once. He was very kind and encouraging. His attitude and general support for Dj culture as a whole will be missed.
Schaunita J. Falter-Lett – SHANNON’S MOTHER – “I am the #1 fan and biggest supporter of Steady. I have followed and encouraged his love for music since his first desire was expressed. Gifted not only in music but also gifted in his love for mankind and the gathering of many through his Steady Beatz! So Proud that the Love he has shared is being reciprocated as he turns one more corner to new adventure and possibilities.
As for funny stories;
Who do you know that ever skipped school in 1st grade? Must say he has always been creative! Love you, prosperity and blessings be with you. -Steady B’s Mother”
Buck Rodgers – formerly Indy, Transplant to Austin: Shannon is the big brother I never had. Back when I first started to dj he used to bring records back from Chicago just to give to me. Introducing me to new genera’s and showing me the ropes when it comes to business. You really don’t find many people like Steady. However, where as most of you are sad to see him leave. Im actually VERY excited for Shannon and his mrs. to start their new venture down here in the dirty south!! Can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store us. #whatthebuck #thebteam #959
Cool Hand Lex AKA Alex Edgecomb: Shannon is the best friend and DJ partner anyone could ask for. He’s an outstanding mentor to the younger class, a savvy businessman, and a world-class destroyer of dance floors. We’ve shared in a lot of ridiculous situations in a lot of ridiculous locations and there’s nobody I trust more to have my back. He’s quite literally loved by all and his departure from Indy is just Austin’s great gain. D!rtst*r in ya mouth all day.
FIND HIM HERE:
Steady B on Soundcloud
Photo credit: Dynamik Optiks, Aaron Lingenfelter, Amanda Burton, Neon Cactus