Born-and-raised Las Vegas native DJ Wellman says he’s always had the “music bug,” snagging his first DJ setup when he turned 14 and playing his first gigs at the Hard Rock Hotel before he’d turned 21.
“I graduated from high school early so I could go to LA to go to the Musicians Institute, where I studied record engineering and the music business,” he says. “When I graduated, I moved back to Vegas and started working at the Hard Rock [Hotel] at the Joint doing stagehand stuff and running sound, and it almost instantly turned into DJing.”
Wellman was a full-time resident DJ at the rock ’n’ roll resort’s Rehab and Vanity venues for almost 10 years. Getting his start during the rowdy heyday of Rehab was a memorable experience.
“It was at its peak and I didn’t even know how to comprehend it,” he says. “It was the first of its kind and it was out of control. There were thousands of people every Sunday, and you’d get some of the top artists in the world. I used to MC for Tiësto out there.”
These days you can catch Wellman spinning at any number of Vegas clubs, from 1 Oak and the Bank to Tao and Lavo, along with dayclubs like Liquid and Bare. One of his principal gigs is opening up for DJ Mustard at that hip-hop heavyweight’s Tao Group residency.
“The thing about Mustard is, he’s not going there and performing his own [hit] songs; he’s really DJing, and he brings the crowds,” Wellman says. “It’s really good energy, and he knows how to DJ. I’ve seen some [people] from that side of the music world trying to do it, and it’s a disaster. He holds it down. It’s a good fit, and a good look for Tao.”
Between his Vegas gigs and steady touring—he’s heading to the Philippines for the first time in the coming months—Wellman stays busy working on electro-trap remixes of tracks by artists like Lil Jon and, yes, DJ Mustard. “Trap is just the most fun. I don’t think it will ever die,” he says. “You’ll always be able to play trap records in the club mixed with open format sets. It’s just the way to bring the best energy.”