Before last Friday’s show at Mo|Tav, Video DJ C.FLO prepared in his usual methodical way — he showered early, loaded his equipment on time and arrived at the bar right on schedule. C.FLO, or Coleman Howard, goes through this process, plus some mental preparation, as part of his pre-show ritual to get in the right mindset.
According to Howard, a D.J.’s energy is reflected in their music and Howard’s unique video remixes involve more than just music.
Howard is the man behind the turntables every Thursday at Creeky Tiki as of last week, and every Friday at Mo|Tav.
“I definitely feel like this is my purpose,” Howard said.
Howard said he is part of a small community of video D.J.s. Before the equipment or software even existed for people to remix videos at home, Howard said it was something he envisioned.
“Now that it is possible and it is something that I do, I know that it is why I’m here,” he said.
Howard’s videos play on big screens during his live sets at Mo|Tav. His visuals enhance his live show, giving him a creative edge in the D.J. community. Video D.J.ing means that in addition to mashing audio tracks, he also makes video remixes. This specialization makes him “Video DJ C.FLO,” not “DJ C.FLO” — a point he stressed to ensure that nobody would confuse his current, official title with any outdated, past versions of the name.
Some of his videos are made using his own audio remixes, which are often titled with catchy combinations of the original songs’ names. For example, he remixed Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” with Lil Wayne and Young Money’s “Every Girl” to create “Every Girl in the World.”
His other videos use audio remixes by other D.J.s. Video remix “Forever La Vida” uses the audio track remix by Howard’s close friend and fellow mixer Chi Duly, who mashed Drake’s “Forever” over “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay to create this track.
“Happiest Wedding Cry in the World” is C.FLO’s most viewed video on his YouTube Channel with more than 800,000 views. The humorous video mash up is an eclectic remix of various video clips, including popular favorites like “David After Dentist” and “Sneezing Panda.” The clips somehow work perfectly with Chi Duly’s audio remix which features David Guetta and Kid Cudi’s “Memories.”
Well-known San Luis Obispo local Patrick Grow, also known as DJ Donk, plays at Mo|Tav every Saturday night and does a lot of work with Howard. They met in 2006 and have been working together ever since.
“Since he does video D.J.’ing, he has more range to be creative,” Donk said. “He definitely does a good job with it.”
And his creativity shows in the work he creates. Howard’s videos are all different from each other, yet still maintain some consistent variables that make up his personal style.
Howard said this style comes from within. He described a sort of spiritual event he experiences when ideas for remixes come to him. And although he said he is not religious, it’s close to feeling as if God put the songs in his head.
“I don’t feel like I make the remixes, I just make them come to life,” he said. “I’m like the vessel that the music comes through.”
Howard grew up in Oregon and began D.J.’ing at high school dances when he was 15 years old.
During this time, he started listening to The Baka Boyz, a hip-hop duo known for their remixes and radio shows and was inspired to take his sound to another level.
“I didn’t even know you could beat match or mix in that fashion,” Howard said. “I heard it and I was like, ‘How did they do that?’”
He learned to recreate the hip-hop sounds and discovered this was something he was good at.
He started college at Oregon State University in 2004 before transferring to Cal Poly in Fall 2007 as a liberal studies major. His passion for spinning and mixing took over so he quit after one quarter to focus on his music. Now, at the age of 25, Howard is making somewhat of a name for himself.
He was voted “#1 Club DJ” in New Times’ Best of SLO 2009 poll and his mixes have aired on the San Luis Obispo radio station, Wild 106.1. Howard has also performed alongside big names such as E-40, Sean Kingston, Mickey Avalon and Schwayze.
In addition to his weekly residencies at Mo|Tav and now Creeky Tiki, he also plays monthly at Sharkeez in Santa Barbara and has D.J.’ed in Hawai’i and Portland. He will also be going to Miami in March to compete in a D.J. competition at The Ultra Music Festival.
Claire Davidson does events and promotions for Mo|Tav and said Howard is booked for one of their busiest nights of the week.
“Our clientele really like the D.J. scene and the dancing,” Davidson said. “They also really like the visuals that C.FLO provides.”
Howard recently quit his job at the Apple Store downtown in order to put more time and effort into his videos. Every second of each remix is analyzed and scrutinized until it is perfect. Howard is very serious about producing high quality videos. He said a 15 second clip can take up to five hours of editing alone.
“I’d rather make one good (video) than 10 mediocre ones,” Howard said. “I put out stuff a lot less frequently than other people who will put out 10 at once. My perfectionism hinders me.”
But new content is coming soon. He plans on releasing four or five themed mega-mixes. Each mega-mix will be about 15 minutes long and contain about 10 different tracks mashed together. The dirty south, Lil Wayne, R&B and electro are some possible themes, which Howard plans to release in March.
Editors note: A featured video of Video DJ C.FLO is available on the Mustang Daily website.