|DJ Ayres started The Rub at Southpaw in 2002. Originally from Mississippi,
he got his start in upstate New York spinning hip-hop on college radio and
at parties. Ayres is known for playing a wild range of music, from rap to
house, bass, reggae, rock-n-roll and classics. On top of promoting and DJing
at The Rub, Ayres rocks parties all over the US and releases a new best-selling
mix CD every month. read more
Special: Ayres on MTV Cribs!
Music has always been in Ayres's blood. His grandfather composed classical music and conducted the Greenville Symphony Orchestra; and his uncle is a rock musician and producer. From these roots, Ayres Haxton, Jr. grew up in Mississippi on a diet of Delta blues, Miami Bass, alternative rock and gangster rap. In high school Ayres was already playing Native Tongues cassettes and booty music on the local R&B / Gospel station. He moved to upstate New York to attend Vassar College in 1994, picked up a radio slot and devoured all the indy hip-hop singles and mixtapes he could find. Ayres learned to mix and scratch in dorm rooms and live on the radio, began producing beats and djing in the local bar. Poughkeepsie was rich with talent at the time, including djs Mark Ronson, Paul Nice, DJ Ease, Darshan Jesrani (Metro Area) and Jamie Hodge (Plus 8). Our young hero absorbed these influences, developed his skills and picked up some extra scratch booking and promoting shows. Despite wasting most of his waking hours working on music, Ayres graduated and moved to Brooklyn in '98.
Once in the city, Ayres helped out at On The Go Magazine and Ten Deep Clothing and worked in book and web publishing to support what had by now become a serious record addiction. He paid dues spinning at little dives all over downtown Manhattan and sold some mix CDs through Fat Beats. Ten Deep sponsored a series of DJ Ayres mixtapes that became best sellers in NYC, California and Japan. Ayres held down a day job as chief editor of an internet portal called AKA.COM, where he interviewed Master P, Freddie Foxxx, MF Doom and 50 Cent. Ayres continued to move up in the New York club circuit, spinning at a weekly called Hot Callaloo and one-offs at Limelight, NV, Speeed and Club NY. In 2000 when the internet bubble burst and (f)unemployment came, Ayres didn't take another nine to five, relying strictly on playing records to pay the bills.
Everything was falling into place with a number of residencies in Manhattan mixing hip-hop with disco, eighties, house and reggae. Then September 11, 2001 came and everything changed. The downtown scene fell apart, but Ayres got back on his grind, throwing and promoting his own parties in Brooklyn. These parties circumvented the increasingly strict cabaret laws (the so-called "dancing law" was hardly enforced in the outer boroughs), and stressed community and music over glamour and glitz. They also bolstered Ayres as a unique talent. His increasingly eclectic (80s electro, reggae, backpack rap) and meticulously produced mix CDs were making their way to the furthest reaches of the world through an online store in the neighborhood called Turntablelab. Around the same time Cosmo Baker and DJ Eleven were djing together every weekend, solidifying the Brooklyn / Philly connection earlier established through On The Go.
In 2002, Ayres had his birthday party at his friends’ new Rock & Roll venue, Southpaw. They called the party The Rub, and played mostly disco and weird eighties records with some rock and hip-hop thrown in for good measure. 500 people packed in the dance, and The Rub was made a monthly, with residents Ayres, Eleven & Mikey Palms. Over the years, Ayres and the crew have given shine to dozens of incredible guest djs. In 2003 regular guest Cosmo Baker moved to Brooklyn and became a monthly resident at The Rub.
The Rub was widely recognized as the best monthly club night in New York City, and by 2004 the word was out. An article in The New York Times about DJ Ayres, Danger Mouse and Hollertronix said DJ Ayres "has quietly become one of New York's best mixtape D.J.'s." In annual Best of New York editions, The Rub was named "Best party in Brooklyn to dance sweatily to smart music" by The Village Voice and "Best party in NYC" by The New York Press. By 2005 Ayres and The Rub were featured in Vice, XLR8R, Urb, The Fader, Hip-Hop Connection (UK) and more. Spin Magazine called The Rub "New York's hottest dj collective."
In addition to The Rub monthly in Brooklyn, Ayres has DJed in Philadelphia, San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Sweden, Norway, Copenhagen and London alongside Public Enemy, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nice and Smooth, Mark Ronson, Hollertronix, Peanut Butter Wolf, Estelle, Special Ed, Tom Tom Club and ESG. With more than 30 mix CDs released in the last four years, sales are through the roof worldwide.
But in the end none of the hype matters. All that matters to Ayres is that the people enjoy his parties, be they a group of fifteen friends in a loft, a hundred revelers at a wedding, or a club packed with thousands unwinding after a hard week of work. And most importantly, Ayres has been able to give back, spinning at non-profit fundraisers for Shush the Bush, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, the families of 911, Tsunami & Katrina survivors and more. Ayres's story is one of building a career organically through friendships, partnerships and hard work.