“Raise your hands in the air!”
The popular refrain at electronic dance festivals and gigs could also be the title of Scott Lassiter’s biography.
Scott, a native of Fadette, Alabama, is better known on Florida’s Gulf Coast and in the worldwide dance community as DJ 30A.
In 2022 alone, Scott has DJ’d at concerts across the nation and headlined the Inferno Festival in Colorado Springs. Collaborating with his music-making partner Huda Hudia, his remix of Crystal Method’s anthem “House Broken” even made it to #1 on the charts.
But being behind the decks at some of the country’s biggest dance events wasn’t the original plan for young Lassiter.
“I grew up in Fadette, Alabama – a rural town of 54 residents perched on the Flora-Bama border,” said Lassiter. “I don’t think I was particularly popular at school, but I found a creative outlet in music.” His first introduction to performing was as a rhythm guitarist with a band called Legacy, playing southern rock in bars and social clubs around Geneva County.
“Because I was so young and way under the legal drinking age, my mom – who raised us on her own – had to chaperone me to the bars and clubs where we were playing.”
Speaking to Scott, you get the idea that not only was he interested in a possible career in music, but he wanted to make his mom proud too.
“My sister was up in Atlanta at the Art Institute, and my brother owned and managed Splash Bar on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach, so I was the man of the house,” he said. “I wanted to do something that I could be proud of and there would be no question of who I was.”
So, fresh out of high school, Scott made his way to Dothan, Alabama, where he entered the recruiting office for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Enlisted, Scott served six years in the Marines, based at Camp LeJeune, as part of the 24th MEU – an expeditionary quick reaction force, deployed and ready for immediate response to any crisis, whether it be a natural disaster or combat missions.
But after leaving military service in 2000, like so many veterans, Scott had to decide what would come next.
“I moved up to Atlanta where my sister was still based and started exploring the dance music scene,” said Lassiter. “It was here I met my music partner Dan – known as DJ Huda Hudia – and I started hosting and promoting DJ nights at Studio Central and elsewhere in Downtown Atlanta.”
While promoting and organizing these nights, Scott met and networked with some of the best DJs in the world, but he still had the urge to perform himself.
“I was aware I wasn’t experienced enough to headline an event myself, but I started to play the opening sets under the moniker GoldFinger,” said Lassiter, who chose the name because of his love for Bond films.
For three years, Scott expanded his skills and hosted bigger and better events, until a change in the laws made raves and electronic music festivals almost impossible to stage.
“We had to lay out a lot of money upfront to get the world’s top DJs, book venues, pay for equipment and security, and then, all of a sudden, the event would be shut down,” said Lassiter. It no longer made sense to stay rooted in the Atlanta area, so with his older brother in Panama City Beach, the Emerald Coast was an obvious choice. “We had been coming down here for vacation as kids – back before Rosemary Beach existed and when these dunes were the nudist beach.”
It was Laurence who introduced Scott to music – tunes he wasn’t hearing on the radio.
“The first album I bought was ELO’s Out of the Blue, and he introduced me to Depeche Mode, the English electronic band,” said Lassiter. “Laurence passed away last year, but he left me his extensive vinyl record collection.”
Then, as so often happens along Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A, an opportunity arose.
“I got a call from Ollie Petit, the owner of the Red Bar in Grayton Beach, who needed a DJ for Friday night on short notice,” he recalled. “I packed up my kit and was there in a flash. I knew Ollie likes his music funky, lots of James Brown, so that’s what I played, and the night was a success. I was on a high after that night, and while others went out for a drink, I raced home and hooked up my computer and equipment and spent the night making music.”
This was the start of something new.
“Close friend and local artist Justin Lyons told me to ditch the name GoldFinger, and he christened me DJ30A – the name has stuck and really helped my career,” he said.
As well as playing DJ sets at big festivals, Scott has established a successful music-making business.
“The majority of my music is considered break beats – inspired by those classic jazz, funk, and soul beats,” he said. “I’m signed to Kaleidoscope Music and have an extensive catalog of solo hits. My music is featured on compilation albums and is being licensed, downloaded, and played by music lovers in Europe, South America, and beyond.”
His music is also distributed via BeatPort, which is a platform where DJs go to find new music. “It is kind of like digital crate digging in the way DJs used to look for rare vinyl back in the day,” said Lassiter. “It lets you know your tunes are being played in clubs and at events all over the world.”
Last month, Lassiter was the DJ for a major soft drink manufacturer’s annual conference in Sandestin, Florida, and he got to open for Earth Wind and Fire live on stage. These events are also learning and development opportunities too.
“Recently, I was asked to DJ a big wedding, and the bride and family wanted some traditional Latin music included, so I had to hit the reset button and explore some of the great music coming out of that community,” he said.
“Each of the DJ sets I do is tailored to the audience and the event – a wedding, a corporate meeting, a festival, or a nightclub. Each is individual and different.”
DJ30A continues to make and play music across the nation.
In November, he played the Electronic Daisy Carnival in Orlando, one of the biggest dance music events. “Last year, it attracted 200,000 event-goers, which is unbelievable!”
So, is the boy from Fadette, Alabama, happy?
“You bet,” said Lassiter. “I get to work with artists I admire, attend the biggest festivals, and travel the world –all while making people sing and dance. What’s not to love!”
ELO: Out of the Blue
James Brown: Live at the Apollo
John Kelly: Funky Desert Breaks Vol. 2
Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
Huda Hudia: Electro Funk