DJ Neil Armstrong Invites You to 'A Dinner & Mixtape'

Appreciation for music comes in all types of shapes these days. Celebrating his 40th birthday, DJ

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Appreciation for music comes in all types of shapes these days. Celebrating his 40th birthday, DJ Neil Armstrong is taking his love for music, food, friends and family to the next level. The internationally renowned DJ has linked up with select chefs and restaurants in North America and Asia to curate a special live event series that gives you the chance for a first listen to his new mixtape Original5 while also enjoying incredible food.

The series continues tonight at EscaLA in Los Angeles, where celebrity chefs, Brian Huskey of Top Chef, and Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage and winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and Cutthroat Kitchen, are teaming up on this momentous occasion for the night’s culinary remix. The theme – Three Course Truffle Menu. Limited pre-fixe meals will be available for purchase, that includes Original5, a custom Jason Markk Travel Kit, a Monster Powercard, and guaranteed entry to this highly anticipated event. Pre-fixe meals will not be required for entry, However, highly advised as reservations and space will be on a first come first serve basis in the dining hall and bar.

We caught up with Neil during the Hong Kong leg of this campaign, where he joined forces with gastronomy luminaries Matt Abergel and Lindsay Jang to throw the event at one of the city’s most sought-after culinary destinations, RONIN. The guests were treated with Izakaya style seafood that perfectly vibed along the sounds of Originals5. He opened up about the initial idea behind this project, the strange relationship between age and music and his latest mixtape of course.

Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind Dinner & Mixtape.?

The idea stems from the Dinner & A Movie concept, where they teach you how to prepare creative dinner to go with the theme of a certain movie. I’m a older cat, I just turned 40 and I listen to a certain type of music and I enjoy certain things in life more than before now. I’ve come to a point in my career where I want to play music that is not necessarily played in the club. And today, the spectrum of hip-hop is so vast. I come from a generation where hip-hop was Public Enemy but today, hip-hop is also Chief Keef, A$AP Rocky, and even Rihanna to some extent. With my new tape, I wanted to put together some music that the older crowd can enjoy.

Besides music I also love food and that’s something everyone can relate to. It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone just appreciates good food. For instance, teenagers these days throw up their kicks on Instagram but also share images of their food. They want to eat at restaurants like RONIN, they want to eat at the cool spots in New York and so on. So I thought, at a perfect dinner setting, I could eat and break bread with my friends and also listen to really good music as opposed to trying to get people turnt up in the club. The vibe at a dinner is a little bit different, I can play slow jams.

How did you choose the restaurants for this idea?

I’ve been blessed enough to have come across a lot of awesome people. It seems like-minded people attract each other. Before Matt started Yardbird and RONIN with all this amazing food, he used to come to my shows back in Canada. And Matt’s a cool kid with tattoos on his arms who’s listening to hip-hop music. I have genuine relationships with all the restaurants that I teamed up with. I’m doing one in New York, in Los Angeles, and Toronto and one in Atlanta. It’s a really simple situation. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel a lot so it was possible for me to come all the way to Hong Kong and make it happen with Matt and Lindsay. This is one of the things I like to do in conjunction to the normal parties.

Is there an age limit in music?

Young people’s music is a young man’s game I feel. If you take a closer look at how hip-hop music has evolved, Wu-Tang Clan is vastly different to what’s coming out now. And Wu-Tang Clan is very different from “Planet Rock.” This is just natural evolution. At a certain age, other things become important, as they should. At some point people have families, they are not going out to a club on a Thursday anymore but rather just hang out and maintain a different kind of relationship with music. Then again, we’re an iPod age of music, everything’s connected.

Turning 40 is quite a milestone. Looking at your career, what’s next?

I’ll always be a fan of music. I’ll always love the aspect of dj’ing where you can make people forget their problems. This Dinner & A Mixtape campaign is a sign of what I am trying to do in the future. And if you look at the age demographic in here, these are not the kind of people that rush to a club on a Wednesday night and stay until five in the morning. I am trying to create a new vibe. If you look at the tracklist of my mixtape, you will find a lot of newer cuts being featured as well. It’d be amazing to link people that appreciate both spectrums of music and broaden each other’s horizons with these kind of events.

How did you put together you latest mixtape and how does it fit together with your previous work?

Original 5 is the fifth installment of my Original series that I started 12 years ago. As far as my career goes, every highlight that people would consider an amazing accolade could be tied back to the mixtapes. Original came out and it got into the right people’s hands. There was a girl named Vashtie Kola who used work for JAY Z at Def Jam and loved my mixtapes. And JAY Z needed a dj for his tour at that time and Vashtie told him to work with me. Boom. A similar thing happened with my adidas connection which also started with my mixtapes. adidas got wind of my series and approached me to work with them and wanted to hire me for gig. The general theme is that I align an original samples and the hip-hop version of that sample. The initial plan for the latest one an underground hip-hop type of thing but ended up embracing all kind of genres.

What can you tell us about the packaging for this project?

(Laughs) Yeah, I wanted to do something really special for this one. Today’s generation treats music very disposably, the mentality of making music has changed. I thought a special packaging for this project would add a certain effect to it by melting the old, the cassette, with the new, which is digital delivery. So I put this out ona digital cassette USB. It’s nostalgia type of thing.

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