If you go to Chateau Nightclub when Stevens Duplessy is spinning, know that he’s in charge. “You come into the club, you’re gonna do what I say,” the veteran mixer, better known as DJ ShadowRed, says in a thick New Jersey accent. “I’m the man behind the music.”
That statement might sound assertive, but it’s because being a DJ comes with great responsibility, one Duplessy doesn’t take lightly. “The DJ is the heart of the club. If the DJ sucks, the club doesn’t make money. If people aren’t having a good time, it’s the DJ’s fault,” he says.
It’s why he has held down the coveted resident DJ slot at Chateau at Paris Las Vegas for five years, spinning there three nights a week. Though it’s predominantly a hip-hop club, you’ll get a little bit of everything when ShadowRed mans the booth. He might even slip in some glam rock or salsa, depending on the crowd. “If I don’t see somebody dancing, I’ll switch it up to see if I can grab them,” he says.
His ability to read the room and his eclectic arsenal stem from two decades of experience and an East Coast upbringing. Now 42, the Haitian-American DJ was born in Brooklyn and raised in a suburban town in north New Jersey. While his neighborhood friends introduced him to hair metal and New Wave, his cousins in New York kept him stocked with the latest hip-hop tapes, and his Dominican boys made sure he had Latin jams in rotation. It laid the foundation for his career.
Originally a club promoter in Hoboken, he began playing music at his own events on slow nights. Soon, he found himself in New York City, spinning at the era’s hottest venues: Lotus, Pink Elephant and B.B. King’s. He was a staple of the scene but eventually got tired of the rat race, moving to Las Vegas in 2012.
Duplessy didn’t know a single person here, but while at the Hard Rock Hotel one night, he had a chance encounter with a manager of a new nightclub opening at Palazzo, the Act, a Sin City extension of famed New York club the Box. Duplessy was a perfect fit. But Las Vegas club life spans being what they are, it shuttered the following year. He didn’t get much of a break. The music director at Chateau snatched him up right away. It’s been his home—and stage—ever since.
If Duplessy’s on the turntables, he’s putting on a show. He’s cracking jokes, calling people out and talking trash—whatever it takes to get you to move. “If you make somebody dance, you’ve touched their soul,” he says.