Between Las Vegas’ resident superstars and the recent Electric Daisy Carnival, what’s your perspective on electronic dance music’s rising popularity here?
It’s awesome. I’m a big house head, so I’m happy with it. I’ve always been an open format DJ—never just hip-hop, house or rock. Vegas keeps me on my toes and forces me to keep up-to-date with what’s current. I was in Ibiza two weeks ago having this conversation with [Erick] Morillo—we both agreed: Vegas is the capital of music, of party, of dance. This is where it’s at. People aren’t looking to New York, LA, Paris or London. They come to Vegas for music.
You started on the radio. How did that affect you as a club DJ?
Radio is live—there’s no room for error. There’s no “my mix was offbeat, let’s try it again.” A mixtape DJ can sit in their room and piece it together. When I came to clubs it helped me be on-point with my mixing. The other day at Tao Beach the music cut off. I was quick; instead of leaving dead air I grabbed the mic and pumped the crowd back up while I was fixing my needle and dropping it again.
At a time when so much music is free, how can aspiring DJs build a career?
A big part of it is your original music remix production. Another part is how you promote yourself. I was watching a YouTube video of this 17-year-old kid DJing with 23 million views. It blew my mind—the viral factor. Now these people found you, they heard your music. When they come see you it’s the performance, that energy, loving your craft—that’s what sells them. It’s also about connecting with fans. I try to reply to every tweet, wall post, everything.
Can your indie model challenge the major label establishment?
- DJ Vice
- Tao: July 9 & 16, 11:30 p.m.
- Tao Beach: July 15, 3 p.m.
Those labels are f*cked. I can put my music on Beatport or iTunes; I can tour the country in clubs; I can take it international. I can sign an artist to my indie label, put her out, have her tour with me in clubs, festivals, shows and have her blow up without a label.
Who are you listening to these days?
I listen to a lot of dancehall because my fiancé is into reggae—big Damian Marley fan. I listen to Phoenix. I would love to work with Passion Pit. I think they’re really dope. I like Ladyhawke. I should do upbeat club remixes for some of them.
How do want your career to progress?
Production and international. I want to play festivals now. I’ve played everywhere across the US, Europe here and there, Asia here and there. I think the key to breaking out of the states is your own music and production. That’s my goal right now, pushing my music onto an international platform. I want to break the open format scene out there. EDC is a big step for me. People might think I’m a mainstream DJ. So that’s my main goal: to show what I really know and rock a crowd.