Jo Vill (JV) and Chad Vill (CV)
(JV): Why did you want to learn to DJ?
(CV): I didn’t. [Laughs] I used to see you doing it all the time and the equipment was always around but it’s like, that’s my dad’s thing. I’m not doing that.
JV: But I remember I came into the room one day and I saw you putting the record on a needle and scratching. I was like, ‘Oh, no, you can’t be scratching up my stuff.’ So I went and got you your own record, which was a Ninja Turtle record —
JV: — And you scratched that thing to death. [Laughs] And it turned out that you had a natural talent. It made me proud that you were able to kinda follow my footsteps.
CV: You know, when the pandemic happened, all of the clubs got shut down. In the back of my head, I thought, you know, this isn’t going to last too long. This will probably be a couple of weeks and I’ll be right back.
JV: It was kind of eerie at first because all you heard all night long was an ambulance going by. And so that was like a signal that somebody else is sick.Then when we started hearing of all the deaths that were occurring, my cousin passed away, then it got real.
CV: No one was really walking around. Everybody was, was pretty much scared.
JV: People felt like they were locked in, isolated, alone, afraid. And so, we’re DJs, I said, ‘Let’s put a speaker out in the street.’ And every day we would come together and try to choose what would be the song for the day. And then it stretched out to two songs. Then the neighbors would make suggestions for a song. And we saw the transition from one speaker, to two speaker, to a total of six speakers and the next thing you know, we had a street full of people.
CV: Black, white, straight, gay, Asian, Spanish, everyone was there. The melting pot that they say New York is.
JV: With everybody wearing masks and Mom’s running around spraying people with alcohol if she saw them touching each other.
CV: We wanted to make other people feel better.
JV: And it worked.
CV: Yeah. We’ve had bus drivers drive, stop at the light, open the door, dance a little bit, wave to us, keep going. We’ve seen the mailman drive by and everybody clap for him. You know, the thing was like, we all lived next to each other for years but…
JV: Yeah, we’ve been on the block since 1989.
CV: People would walk by and not say anything and now, people say, ‘Hey, Chad. Hey, Jo.’ Like, we know people’s names.
JV: You can’t walk by without speaking to each other. I think we’re more of a community than we were before. You reap what you sow. You sow love, you sow love, you get love back. Not always back from the source that you think you’re gonna get it, because I sure didn’t think it was going to come this way, but it did, and I’m glad it did.