Our Town: Game Plan: DJ Joe Bunn

Madeline Gray

“People see you loading a sound system to a party, and they’re fired up.”
– DJ Joe Bunn

Joe Bunn is part of the soundtrack of Raleigh. You might have heard the local DJ at a wedding or corporate event, or perhaps at a spin class at Flywheel or Cyclebar.

Bunn first got the mixing bug at age 13, playing for parties in his hometown of Wilson, North Carolina. He tried a brief stint on the drums, too, but found it wasn’t his jam. He had to get more creative if he wanted to pursue music, he says. “From an early age, I realized that since I love music but wasn’t a very good musician, this was the natural progression of things. At least I’d be able to play music.”

From Wilson, Bunn’s turntables moved to teen clubs, to fraternity basements at his alma mater UNC-Chapel Hill, and then to beach bars in Wilmington. It wasn’t until he moved to Raleigh in 2000, he says, that he realized he could spin records full time. “I started making it more than just a one-man show.” Today, Bunn DJ Company includes dozens of DJs in Charlotte; Charleston, South Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia; as well as in Raleigh.

DJing is fun and games, he says, but for Bunn it’s a lifestyle, too. In addition to his gigs, he sells custom turntables and records his own weekly podcast, The PhDJ Podcast. He’s also gotten his son Colin, 12, interested in the music. Bunn is an educational speaker, and he says up next he’ll be in Las Vegas this month at the Mobile Beat conference. “I speak more about business than DJing. I’ll speak about how I find and hire talent, and how I built this business.”  –Catherine Currin