DJ Neil Armstrong / DJ Neil Armstrong (Jay-Z’s official world tour DJ) took a break before his Saturday night set at Stage to talk with the Weekly about coming to Hawaii, Jay himself, and halo halo.
That’s not your real name is it?
My real name is Thomas Neil Rodriguez. I was named after the astronaut, so it made sense to take the moniker when I began DJ-ing.
What do you dig most about sharing music?
I love listening to music, the way it can make or break your day and change and shape the mood of one or even thousands of people in a second. It’s my way of connecting with the rest of the world.
Fellow 5th Platoon member Vinroc came out in April, now it’s your turn to show Hawaii what you’re all about. What’s that going to be like and what took you so long?
I actually used to live out in Hawaii about five years ago. I made Warmfuzzy and Extraordinary when I was out there. I guess it was just about finding the right venue and right promoter and right time.
I’ve been told I have a lot of fans out on the Islands, and judging from the last party I did for the Architechts crew, this one should be a blast as well.
How did touring with Jay help your professional and personal outlook on DJ-ing?
Working with Jay just provided me a lot of great opportunities from performing at Madison Square Garden to DJ-ing for Obama. It obviously opened me up to a new and larger audience.
Any dope Jay-Z stories?
One time when we were putting together the show for Houston, we were rehearsing, and he and I recited Pimp C’s verse on “Big Pimpin’” together, like two kids sitting on a stoop just enjoying the song.
Were you immersed in the Filipino culture growing up?
I’m Filipino American. I was born and raised in NYC. The extent of my heritage is definitely the food. My favorite is the desserts–halo halo. I got a sweet tooth like nobody’s business.
I have learned some of the local dances, but shoot, I don’t do the tinikling dance every Friday.