If a DJ is spinning to an empty room, can they still be considered the best in the nation?
Such was the scene in Vegas last year during the DJ Times America’s Best DJ ceremony because, well, no one knew about it. Taking home the top honors in 2008, trance guru Christopher Lawrence accepted his gold-plated Pioneer mixer then launched into his set. Sadly, only a couple dozen people gathered—and most of those were staff, other DJs ranked in the top spots or writers for the nightlife section of the Las Vegas Weekly who were notified at the last minute.
Fortunately, this year is a whole new ball game. The America’s Best DJ awards are coming back to Vegas and looking to throw a big-ass party this time around. And the Weekly just received exclusive news on the event. While the tiny Rouge Lounge at the MGM was the sad setting for last year’s ceremony, the top honors are going to be celebrated in a more apropos location in 2009. You guessed it: Just like Beatport and BPM Magazine, DJ Times is having a party on Planet Perfecto.
The ABDJ closing party will be September 12 at Rain, so no matter who takes home the prize, the club will likely be packed with dance music addicts in for a special treat when this year’s winner spins a special set at the ceremony. To sweeten the pot for fans around the country, there’s an opportunity for prizes galore just for voting online at www.americasbestdj.net for your favorite DJs. Each month, DJ Times has been giving away Pioneer HDJ-2000 headphones and a DJM-400 mixer to voters. But one fortunate fan will be selected at random for the grand prize: A trip to Las Vegas for two for the ABDJ Closing Party, which includes plane tickets, hotel and VIP treatment at Rain (no word on if a local simply gets to fly in circles around McCarran if they win).
Which leads us to how Vegas’ Scotty Boy is doing this year. He garnered a fifth place spot last year and astounded much of the DJ world, which had never heard of the West Coast fav. But has anything changed since he catapulted to the top of the ranks?
“Honestly? Nothing,” laughs Scotty Boy. “Just bragging rights—and a lot of crap from my other friends who are DJs.”
So how did a Vegas DJ climb to the top of the America’s Best DJ game? “It’s pure popularity,” he says. “I campaigned really hard last year, but I haven’t had time [this year]. It was almost easy when I got number five… it shouldn’t be called ‘America’s best DJ,’ but ‘America’s Most Popular’. It’s whoever gets out there hard enough and gets people to vote.”
Despite pounding the pavement, sending out e-mails and playing more gigs than even he can keep track of, Scotty Boy still gets slack for self-promoting his butt off. Earning a high ranking in the famous contest is a good promotional tool for clubs bringing him in to spin, but there’s a downside. “It’s hard because other DJs look at you like ‘How are you number five?’—and I agree in a sense.”
Yet, Scotty Boy takes it all in stride and maintains a sense of humor about the ranking; he says friends have resorted to calling him “Number Five.”
Can he keep the nickname, or maybe even change it to “America’s Best”?
“I think I was more organized last year,” he says. “This past two months, I’ve been on the road a ton and this year I’m relying more on fans.” But he still plans on doing a big push for votes before the contest ends on August 9 since he says “it would suck” to get a lower ranking this year. Even without sending out a barrage of texts and e-mail blast thus far, the Weekly just received word that the current standings have Scotty Boy back in the top 10.
In actuality, it seems Scotty Boy is less concerned with numbers and more focused on exposing the country to Vegas’ growing dance music scene. “The only two Vegas people [nominated] are me and Nick TerraNova [aka Starkillers],” says Scotty Boy. “If we could really get people in this town to vote for us and support us, it could really get Vegas on the map.”
UPDATE 09/01/09: Scotty Boy has earned the number five spot for the second year in a row. For the complete list of winners, click here.