Confessions of a Runway DJ

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“Hands off the models!”

So says DJ “Rock” Spitale about the first rule of spinning at fashion shows.

“Womanizers (or man-eaters) do not get re-hired,” he adds.

On the closing day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, New York City, this is a fitting manifesto, and a useful corollary for any DJs out there who can’t keep their hands to themselves—exceedingly difficult, perhaps, among such nubile and strikingly gorgeous specimens, both male, female, and otherwise, as they strut up and down the runway.

DJ Rock, aka Paul Spitale, who spins at Victoria’s Secret ‘Pink’ Event and the Mass Appeal Fashion Show, advises DJs looking to get into the fashion game that’s it a pointless pursuit if you lack one crucial ability: “You have to relinquish control,” he says.


“Your job as a DJ is to gather information, interpret it, and create your playlist from the limited information supplied.”

First, says Rock, you have to meet with the show’s lead producer, who, God-willing, has a clear vision of the event. Usually, a theme is involved—could be “beggars and thieves,” the “apocalypse,” or “things that look like head cheese”–which narrows the music selection. Some producers may even want you to write your own music or create remixes, a great way to either put your signature on the event, or create a mass exodus of fleeing models.

“And you must meet with the designer,” he says. “Visit their website, store, and/or studio if they have one. Take detailed notes and jot down what songs come to mind when you see their designs. Many designers will even provide a playlist for you. Just make sure they are clear that you (or they) must check their list with the show’s producer. Ask for clean, edited versions of the songs. Fashion shows often have diverse audiences, so cursing or inappropriate subjects on a track can make for an embarrassing moment. Screen all of your songs beforehand.”

The one sure-fire way to not get re-hired, save for groping? Three words: “I’m Too Sexy.”

Here are DJ Rock’s Top 10 Runway Jams

Ya Understand-Juvenile

It’s Tricky- Run DMC

Wife Beater- Young Money (I love to mix in part of this chorus)

Hyptnotize-Biggie (of course)

Sabotage-Beastie Boys

Smooth Criminal-Michael Jackson

99 Problems-Jay-Z

Straight Outta Compton-NWA

I Want You Back-Jackson 5

400 Degrees-Juvenile