DJ Eric D-Lux has been playing Vegas long enough to not know exactly how long it’s been. “It was at Mandalay Bay, at Rumjungle, maybe in ’05 or ’06?” he says. “That place, it was a mission to get to the DJ booth. It was hidden. Now it’s Light, and it’s like night and day. It changed to the point where the DJ is the star.”
That change is emblematic of the DJ and nightclub scene over the past decade, and D-Lux has been at the center of the action. A longtime resident at Tao who has played just about every club on the Strip through the years, he’s back for Labor Day Weekend—taking a quick break from radio duties at his native LA’s Power 106—for gigs at Tao Beach, Marquee (with Kevin Hart hosting) and Drai’s.
Are you spending more time lately in LA or Vegas? I still live in LA full-time, but I have an apartment in Vegas that I share with DJ Five. I still spend so much time [in Vegas], and I just didn’t like checking in and out of the hotel all the time.
Tao is celebrating a big birthday this month—10 years on the Strip. When did you start DJing there? I think it was ’06 when Vice had me open for him. It’s always been one of my favorites, just because for some reason, that dancefloor always stays full. I’ve done venues where it’s a weird layout and people don’t know where to walk, or the dancefloor is by the bar. Tao is the one room that stays packed all the time. It’s the way it’s designed. Tao Group really knows what they’re doing.
You’ve played pretty much everywhere in Vegas. How much does your experience differ from room to room? I play a lot of rooms, but when I do a big EDM club, I’ll play the hip-hop room. Places like Tao or Marquee or Drai’s, they’re big rooms, so there’s definitely a lot more energy than when I play Ling Ling [at Hakkasan] or Heart of Omnia. But those have a really fun vibe, a feel kind of like a [club] in New York or LA. People are having a lot of fun with less stress. When I play a house room I still do open-format, because you have house tables and tables that like hip-hop, so I have to find the balance and keep everybody happy.
How does a DJ adapt to musical trends while maintaining his or her own sound and style? I always just kind of read the room. I never have a set playlist or mind-set. I feel it out. If it’s a big room like Marquee or Tao, I might start with the big EDM energy stuff, and I can tell right away if it’s gonna work or if it isn’t. I like to do quick sets, seven or eight minutes of a high-energy mix, then go to hip-hop, then back, and see what’s working and stay a little longer when I need to.
How much has the music changed since you started playing on the Strip? Las Vegas is a lot more current. People want to hear the new hip-hop and EDM and pop records, and they don’t care as much to hear other stuff anymore. Then again, every venue is different. If I play at Hyde there might be a little bit of an older crowd, bigger spenders, and they might want to hear some Bon Jovi or something in the mix. Vegas is still the one spot where people can be drinking and partying so much that a lot of stuff will work.
Eric D-Lux At Tao Beach: September 5, 11 a.m., $30+ men, $20+ women. At Marquee: September 5, 10 p.m., $50+ men, $20+ women. At Drai's Beach Club: September 6, 11 a.m., $40+ men, $30+ women.