Q+A: DJ TrueLove talks his $100,000 Sapphire residency and favorite summer jams

DJ TrueLove and Lex Rox.

Beatclan DJ TrueLove has been making a name for himself in the local scene since moving to Las Vegas five years ago, but the DJ (born Brian Epling) earned himself a place among local mixmaster royalty after winning Sapphire Pool & Dayclub’s Resident DJ competition last month, earning himself a coveted $100,000 residency at the new venue.

We caught up with TrueLove about his win, the gig and what he’s looking forward to spinning this summer.

Opportunity-wise, what has winning the competition meant for you?

It was actually my first DJ competition. For me, my mentality going in was that it was just going to be a good experience, and there was going to be a lot that I could learn from it. I felt honored just to be in the semifinals among some of the top battle DJs in the world. I never expected to win; I just thought I’m gonna do my best, and this will be a great learning experience for me.

What did you learn from it?

I learned that it doesn’t always boil down to who has the best DJ skills. It’s not just about how well you can scratch a record or play songs. There’s a lot of other things that these types of companies that build multimillion-dollar pools and throw multimillion-dollar parties look for.

Such as?

Well, there’s a look. If you’re going to be literally the poster child for whatever property, it helps to have a certain look. If this was a rock and roll club, they wouldn’t want somebody who’s extremely clean cut and visually could not be relatable to your core demographic. And the same is true with a pool. You want someone who has a certain look and who is also going to help promote the pool. Not somebody who is just going to show up when they need to show up, play music and leave. Somebody who cares about the success of the pool.

So I heard after winning that one of the things they were looking at is who was doing a lot of social media to promote the DJ battle, and I was one who was really going to town on all of the social media platforms. They look at everything. There’s nothing they don’t look at.

In terms of your style as a DJ, what makes you a good fit for Sapphire, and vice versa?

First and foremost is that I’m an open-format DJ. I got into DJing because of my love of house music, but when I went out to try to get work — this was late '90s, early 2000s in Northern California — it wasn’t big then, so I had to learn these other genres to even be eligible to be hired as a DJ. So it’s that I’m open-format and that I can program a room, which is basically being able to pick your head up out of your laptop and look around.

To say, oh, there’s a group of girls over there that could potentially be the life of this party — what kind of music do they want to hear? And if I can play what music might potentially be on their iPod, then they’re going to start to have a good time and bring this party to life. Not every DJ puts an emphasis on programming. Some only play what they like. I play songs that I don’t like all the time! But I’ll play them because it’s right for the particular environment. It’s not about what I want to hear.

How does playing Sapphire compare to other Vegas clubs and venues you’ve played?

It’s tough to compare to be honest because there’s no other pool like it. You have pools that are for locals, which I’ve done, you have your big rager pools like Rehab or Tao Beach where you get a lot of mainstream people. At Sapphire, you get a lot of demographics, you get girls, guys, out-of-towners, people just coming out of the club, and then you have locals. But it’s a party pool.

And I guess that’s the common thread between this pool and the rest of them because people go there to just have an amazing time. It’s not a large pool, so you have that sense of intimacy, but it’s big enough so that people have enough space to be with their group and their friends and still feel like the rest of the party.

What are your favorite summer jams to play or new songs you’re most looking forward to playing this summer?

I’m a really big house head, so all the songs that I like to hear are house tracks. There’s an artist out there called Showtek, and it seems like every track that he has is amazing. So anything by him. Krewella has some really good tracks, and they have that really cool pop demographic where it’s house music, but it has crossed over into the mainstream.

“Wild for the Night” [by A$AP Rocky featuring Skrillex] is another one of those tracks. It’s not quite house, it’s like trap mixed with dubstep mixed with rap. That’s an amazing track that blurs the lines. Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child,” even though it’s not on an upswing anymore, it’s still a song I love to play — just as much as I still love to play “Sweet Nothing” [Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch]. Those are just a few!

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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