Eyes on the prize: AMG’s manifest destiny
“We were very pleased with the first season,” says Derek Silberstein, Angel Management Group VP of operations, of Wet Republic’s debut summer, as the October 5 Daylife Sundays closing party quickly approaches. (DJ Benny Benassi has the honors.)
Angel Music Group is no more—at least in the U.S. The group that administers the Godskitchen brand Wednesdays at Body English and lends its creative talents to Wet Republic, Tabu and Studio 54 in concert with the MGM Grand prepares to enter the next phase of its stateside growth, as Angel Management Group.
Paying keen attention to Vegas’ nightlife success model, and eager to build upon the great name AMG has in the electronic-music arena, AMG approaches 2009 with an eye toward reorganization and growth, thereby establishing a restaurant division, a nightclub division and a marketing/promotions/consultancy division.
Never one to put his eggs all in one basket, CEO Neil Moffitt keeps his company diverse in both task and geographic location, reports Silberstein. So while others have had to learn the fine art of multitasking as they moved from club ownership to ultralounges, restaurants, pools and eventually real estate or worldwide events branding, “[Moffitt’s] been doing it for the better part of 15 years.”
Aiding him in this, Alex Cordova, formerly of Pure Management Group, has slid over to AMG to fill the familiar role of VP of marketing, overseeing all VIP marketing and promotions. Widely known for his approachability and admirable work ethic, Cordova says, “I’m going to try to complement what [AMG is] already doing and add to that.”
Three and a half questions with DJ Von U-KUF
Producer/DJ Von U-KUF’s moniker may bring to mind a sense of nobility or maybe even aloofness. But once you learn more about the well-built man behind the decks, his dedication to the music and desire to stay humble dismiss any preconceived notions. DJ Von U-KUF will be spinning at Studio 54 on September 13 with Donald Glaude.
You spin darker, heavier sets, which sets you apart from most DJs. Do you ever change your sound based on what other DJs spin on the same night?
I don’t really alter my set … I notice that when we start getting darker and heavier, the music still has a really progressive groove to it, so if we take it too dark, we’re going to lose the crowd. Every now and then, we’ll start pulling it back from the darker stuff into more of the funky stuff. I don’t really like to stay with one particular style for too long, ’cause I get bored myself, as the crowd would. I think as our crowd progresses, the music progresses as well. All the way from productions and into the way we spin.
As a producer with downloads available on Beatport.com, which of your tracks do you feel is the best representation of your music to a new listener?
“Familiar.” It’s an AcropolisRPM/Bitter Persona remix.
You’ve done charity events in the past, such as helping the widows and children of fallen soldiers. What other projects are you working on?
Will Spin for Food 4 [September 27]. It’s a whole weekend event with 3,000 people, and it’s on wanttickets.com. That’s like 25 different DJs, and it runs from 9 [p.m.] to 6 in the morning down in LA.
What does “U-KUF” mean?
[Laughing] Uh … just read it backwards.
The winner’s circle
Shake it like it’s Tropicana. Or maybe a salt shaker. Or possibly a Polaroid picture. No matter what the motivation, the
dancers—and some of the DJs—at Body English’s Beauty and the Beat competition did just that. On September 3, seven DJ/dancer teams faced-off for $5,000. With a mere 10 minutes to wow the crowd, both DJs and dancers had to win over the judges dispersed anonymously throughout the club.
DJs Brian Hart, Buckley, Miss Dust, Dave Onyx and Jordan Stevens all threw down stellar sets, but the evening culminated with a tie between Exodus and Smashbox (aka Alex Terranova). With the birthday-boy advantage and a two-year working relationship with go-go dancer Cinnamon, Smashbox himself stepped out from behind the decks to dance. Exodus and male dancer Jalles increased the crowd interaction with glow sticks for all, an homage to Michael Jackson and Jalles’ percussion prowess. With the judges’ scores tied, the crowd’s reaction was taken into account, but it was still too close to call. “I’m okay with it being a split decision,” says Smashbox. “What can you do with 10 minutes of music? I think every person there did a great job.” Ultimately, the prize money was split four ways.
Just one day prior, five more awards were given out, including three Olympics-style medals, for the third annual America’s Best DJ competition and 40-city summer tour. One hundred DJs were whittled down by 35 million online voters over the course of four months to a mere five who attended (with the exception of Z-Trip) the awards ceremony held on September 2 at MGM Grand’s Rouge Lounge.
Hosted by chanteuse Kristine W and sponsored by Pioneer Pro DJ and DJ Times magazine, the competition awarded fifth place to Vegas’ own DJ Scotty Boy and fourth to the absent Z-Trip. A bronze medal (literally) went to part-time Las Vegan Skribble; the New York-born DJ exclaimed, “It’s a crazy honah to still be doin’ dis!” Said silver medalist DJ Qbert, “I just can’t believe that I’m still using vinyl and I made it this far!” But the gold medal, as well as a gold-plated DJM-800 mixer—the only one in existence—went to America’s Best DJ, Christopher Lawrence, who thanked his booking agent, “but most of all the kids that voted for me. This means a lot to me and a lot to the kids in the underground. That’s who we’re doing this for.”