• Vice Talks All Things DJing in Epic ‘Reflections of a DJ’ Interview

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    Vice (Source: Instagram)

    Legendary DJ/producer Vice recently sat down with the Reflections of a DJ podcast for an epic, three-hour conversation. The iconic DJ discussed the evolution of his career and the past and current state of the scene.

    How seeing DJ AM perform at a Hollywood club inspired him to DJ in that scene:

    “Right away I’m like, ‘What the f#ck is this? This is like a very crazy wedding set, but it’s still kinda cool.’ [He was playing] like the Joan Jetts and the Journeys. It’s all the basics. Chicago and all these records are playing but then JAY Z plays and [A] Tribe [Called Quest], and I’m like, ‘What the f#ck? How are all these people dancing to this? It was mind-blowing because I DJed so long in L.A., but I had never seen that side of L.A. … I was like, ‘Yo, this dude is on some next level sh#t, and he’s in a different world, and I wanna know about this. So that’s when I just started going to all those Hollywood clubs.”

    Why he produces dance music instead of hip-hop:

    “I would try and work with rappers and every rapper that I first wanted, I couldn’t afford because they’d all want crazy money to do a verse. And [the] second time, the sessions I got in with rappers, even though I’m in hip-hop, I felt out of place. I don’t smoke weed, I didn’t drink in the studio. I would try and vibe in certain sessions, and there was no-one that was exciting me. I want MCs; it’s so hard. I want Andre 3000 on a record. I couldn’t get him at the time. … And I honestly, truthfully, I didn’t have the hustle. I respect A-Trak so much because he goes out finds these rappers, and I’m like, ‘Who are these dudes? Where do you find them?’ … Also, as much as a lot of people don’t know, I’ve always been into dance, but more into dance like Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Kenny Dope, real house music.”

    How he reacted when the scene switched back to hip-hop from EDM:

    “I felt like I was already on brand and it was a wedding. [It was] like the music has just shifted again and I know how to adapt. I know how to adapt to any moment. Even to this day, if someone throws me in a senior citizen party, I know how to adapt and start playing the room and play the music. For me, I’m always about the ride.”

    DJing on the radio vs. DJing in the club:

    “I always give props to radio DJs because all of us play in clubs and we’re out, and we’re rocking, and you feel the energy, and then you get thrown on radio, and you’re in a box, [a] little room. And at the time, Power [106] had like over a million listeners, and you’re like, ‘Go ahead and DJ with no reaction, no feedback, no vibe.'”

    Listen to the entire convo below via SoundCloud, and stay tuned for new episodes every Wednesday. The podcast can also be found on iTunes.

    Related: Watch DJ Vice and Entrepreneur Chris ‘Drama’ Pfaff Go on a Taco Run

  • Watch: DJcity Hosts First Ladies Linkup

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    Earlier this month, a diverse group of DJs from around Los Angeles got together for the first DJcity Ladies Linkup. The exclusive event, which took place at DJcity’s headquarters, included DJs and turntablists such as DJ Shortee, PattyClover, Nikki Duran, and DJ Eliza May.

    Organized by DJcity team members MISS DJ BLISS and DJ Dazzler, the gathering featured jam sessions and custom vinyl record art.

    “The energy was full of good vibes, inspiration, and motivation,” Nikki Duran wrote on Instagram. “It’s an amazing feeling when you can connect with other ladies about this passion that is DJing.”

    Watch the recap of the Ladies Linkup above.

    Related: The Women Who Have Contributed to DJcityTV

  • Idris Elba to Star as DJ in Netflix Comedy Series

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    Idris Elba
    Idris Elba at the Snowbombing festival in Mayrhofen, Austria on April 13, 2018. (Credit: Andrew Whitton)

    Actor and part-time DJ Idris Elba is set to star in a new Netflix comedy series titled Turn Up Charlie. The UK native will play a struggling DJ who puts himself in an undesirable predicament for a chance at stardom.

    Before hitting the big screen, Elba began his career as a DJ in East London under the moniker Big Dris. He has played major festivals such as Creamfields and Glastonbury and has held a residency at the world-renowned Pacha Ibiza.

    In addition to DJing, Elba is also a producer, having released several albums and remixes. His notable projects include co-producing and performing on the intro to JAY-Z‘s 2007 album, American Gangster, and his new house remix of Natalie Wood and N:Fostell’s “Circles.”

    Elba is best known for his roles on BBC One’s drama Luther and HBO’s The Wire. He also starred as Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

    Turn Up Charlie, which was co-created by Elba and producer Gary Reich, will begin production in May. A premiere date has not been determined.

    Related: Goldman Sach’s Next CEO Is a Part-Time DJ

    Posted in DJ Culture
  • Las Vegas Talent Buyer Dave Fogg Gives Insight Into His Booking Process

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    Dave Fogg
    Dave Fogg (Credit: DMahoney Photo)

    If you DJ or party in Las Vegas on a regular basis, chances are you’ve been to an event that Dave Fogg has booked or performed at. Originally a DJ, Fogg got his start as a talent buyer for Club RA at Luxor in the late ’90s. (RA was the first venue in Vegas to book dance music artists.) From there, Fogg went on to book for clubs at casinos like Hard Rock, Station, and Palms. He’s seen the scene go through various transformations as both a buyer and a DJ.

    Now, Fogg is pushing boundaries as a buyer at Drai’s popular Beachclub and After Hours venues. The Beachclub’s lineup boasts cutting-edge acts like A-Trak, Showtek, MK, TroyBoi, Henry Fong, 4B, Sak Noel, Ape Drums, and Stooki Sounds.

    With the return of pool season in Vegas, we spoke with Fogg about his process for finding and booking new talent.

    What do you look for when searching for talent?

    Relevance is probably the most important, whether it’s a new, up-and-coming artist or an older, established one. There’s also the early buzz surrounding artists and their release schedules. If you’re a working DJ, you have the advantage of getting that information ahead of everyone else. Lastly, I like to book artists that are friends and collaborators with artists who have residencies at the other nightclubs. This is a nice layer because you can get them to show up and hang out, even if it’s against the wishes of some bitter club GMs.

    How do you find new acts?

    Surprisingly, not through industry standards like Pollstar, but through record pools such as DJcity.

    How do you determine how much to pay a DJ?

    If you’re going off other venues in Vegas, then you’re screwed. Those inflated price points will never be a true indicator of value. I’m going off of what the venue can support, strategic booking on certain days of the year, and comparing with other cities with similar markets.

    Does being a DJ influence you as a buyer and vice versa?

    Almost all of my decisions are coming from a DJ point of view, never the other way around. It’s more about me playing someone’s track as a DJ and seeing firsthand how people react to their music. That then leads to me following up as a talent buyer and booking them. For many, it’s their first time in Las Vegas.

    TroyBoi at Drai’s Beachclub on March 24. (Source: Drai’s Beachclub)

    You’ve booked a ton of DJs over the years. Which ones have impressed you the most?

    It’s pretty much across the board. Derrick May, Loco Dice, 12th Planet, Diplo, MK, AlunaGeorge, and Rusko. I’ve been fortunate enough to be creative and a fan of the bookings that I do.

    What is a common misconception about being a buyer?

    That you have to go to Ibiza, ADE, SXSW, and all of the big festivals to “scout” for talent. It’s such a crock of sh#t. It’s honestly just an excuse for free vacations, and no worthwhile work will ever get done.

    How do you feel about the current state of the Vegas scene?

    I’d say it’s in a fairly stagnant state in some respects, meaning that the big clubs on the strip will not stop how they’re programming anytime soon. In other ways, the circle of music trends is becoming interesting.

    Where do you think its headed?

    We had EDM a few years ago, hip-hop last year, and currently there’s a return to electronic music, specifically the underground.

    Follow Dave Fogg on Instagram.

    Related: Four Color Zack: The Politics of DJing in Las Vegas

  • The Samples Behind Gang Starr’s ‘Moment of Truth’

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    Since 2015, Power 106‘s Wax Only series has examined some of the most iconic albums in hip-hop history. While each episode has been outstanding, the latest one is extra special.

    Today, Wax Only is celebrating its 100th episode by honoring the 20th anniversary of Gang Starr’s fifth studio album, Moment of Truth.

    Released on March 31, 1998, Moment of Truth debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and peaked at No. 6 on the 200 chart. The project, which was produced by DJ Premier and the late great Guru, was the duo’s first gold album and most successful commercially.

    Moment of Truth featured the singles “You Know My Steez” and “The Militia.” It also contained classic tracks like “Above the Clouds,” “Work,” and the title track, “Moment of Truth.”

    Watch Wax Only above.

    Related: The Samples Behind 2Pac’s ‘Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…’

  • Dee Jay Silver Talks Blending Country and Dance Music

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    Dee Jay Silver
    Dee Jay Silver at Rehab Beach Club in Las Vegas on July 4, 2016. (Credit: Key Lime Photo)

    DJcity’s country music contributor Dee Jay Silver recently spoke with Las Vegas Weekly about the crossover between country and dance music. (View his DJcity country club edits here.)

    The Texas native will kick off his 2018 residency at Rehab Beach Club on Saturday and spin at Jewel and the Foundation Room in April. Those dates coincide with the Academy of Country Music Awards.

    Las Vegas Weekly writes:

    “Country has been bleeding into dance music for a while now, but things have come to a head: ‘The Middle,’ Zedd’s latest track pop with rising star Maren Morris, is solidly atop Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic chart.”

    Silver adds:

    “And look at Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line. ‘Meant to Be’ is one of the top radio songs in the country across any format. I’m excited to see where these [collaborations] will go next.”

    In addition to his residencies and role at DJcity, Silver holds it down as Jason Aldean’s tour DJ. He also has three original singles on the way, including a trap collab with Atlanta rapper Constantine.

    Follow Dee Jay Silver on Facebook, Instagram, Mixcloud, and Twitter.

    Check out all of DJcity’s country club edits here.

    Related: Four Color Zack: The Politics of DJing in Las Vegas

  • Watch: Nina Las Vegas Gives Advice to Female DJs

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    In February, Red Bull 3Style held a discussion panel with its judges during the world finals week in Poland. The panel featured DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Craze, DJ Nu-Mark, Skratch Bastid, and Nina Las Vegas.

    During the talk, DJcity’s Styles Davis asked Australian DJ/producer Nina Las Vegas if she had advice for her fellow female DJs. Watch her response above and the full discussion here.

    Related: Is Sync the End of DJing? DJ Jazzy Jeff Answers at Red Bull 3Style VIII

  • Diplo Talks About His Hip-Hop Roots, Lil Xan’s 2Pac Comment

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    Diplo at Premier Nightclub in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Jan. 26, 2018. (Source: Facebook)

    Before dropping his California EP on Friday, Diplo sat down with the popular No Jumper podcast for an in-depth interview. The conversation, which spanned one-and-a-half hours, covered a wide range of topics, like the current Las Vegas scene, the EDM bubble, and his most difficult DJ gig.

    The Mad Decent founder also discussed his hip-hop roots and Lil Xan‘s recent controversial comment that 2Pac is “boring.” (Diplo has a track with Xan on his EP.)

    On Diplo’s hip-hop roots:

    “When I grew up, I loved hip-hop because I was obsessed with the graffiti. I was obsessed with the culture. … It sounds corny, but I was break dancing. I was doing graffiti. I was obsessed with the art side of it. … So I dug into the history. I watched this movie called Style Wars. I got into the history of old school hip-hop, like what it meant to be a DJ and I’m lucky that I learned that way. I’m obsessed with the old records, the old sounds, like what DJ Premier was doing all the way to like what the DJ are now.”

    On Xan’s comment about 2Pac:

    “I grew up loving West Coast hip-hop. [Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride of the Pharcyde] is probably the album that made me wanna be a producer. … And then like Freestyle Fellowship, and then I got into like Snoop [Dogg] and [Dr.] Dre. … I wasn’t a big 2Pac fan, but then as a DJ I became a huge fan because [all of his music] worked. So I mean music just affects you differently, but people have the right to be fans and not fans of music.”

    Watch the full convo below.

    Related: Diplo to Launch His Own SiriusXM Channel

  • Four Color Zack: The Politics of DJing in Las Vegas

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    Four Color Zack
    Four Color Zack at Holy Ship! 10.0 on Jan. 7, 2018. (Credit: Rukes)

    Four Color Zack recently sat down for an interview with the Reflections of a DJ podcast (a.k.a. R.O.A.D. Podcast). The show is hosted by Las Vegas DJs Crooked, D-Miles, Jaime Da Great, and Neva.

    Among the topics discussed were the politics of DJing in Vegas. A fan of the show, Zack told the hosts that he values their inside perspective of the Vegas club scene. The conversation that ensues covers what it’s really like DJing in Sin City as well as some of the dos and don’ts of holding down a residency.

    Watch the clip and listen to the full interview below. New episodes of Reflections of a DJ go up on Wednesdays on iTunes and SoundCloud.

    Follow Reflections of a DJ on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Related: Shecky Green: How DJ AM Became the Highest Paid DJ in the World

  • A-Trak: Must-Have Items in My DJ Bag

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    A-Trak's must-have items
    Photo source: A-Trak

    A-Trak is one of the busiest DJs on the planet. From performing live and producing music to running his Fool’s Gold label, Days Off festival, and Goldie Awards, the Montreal native puts in a lot of miles. Given all of his experience, which includes serving as Kanye West‘s DJ in the mid-2000s, A-Trak has become an authority in the DJ community. People from around the world pay heed to his advice and opinions on the art of DJing, DJ technology, etc.

    Check out his must-have travel items below, and download his new single “Ride For Me” with Young Thug, Falcons, and 24hrs.

    Cocoon Grid-It! Organizer

    “This is my greatest discovery in recent years. I always want to have every imaginable cord or adaptor with me on the road. I’ve had so many emergencies. You’re overseas, and you suddenly need to boot one laptop in Target Mode from your other laptop. Or you forgot that your backup drive uses a different kind of port than what your new laptop has. Or you somehow need to use an ethernet jack. You need all these emergency cords, but how do you actually pack them? This Grid-It thing is the most zen-like order that I’ve ever had with my cords and adaptors.”

    Comme Des Garçons Travel Wallet

    “This Comme Des Garçons wallet has been my travel companion for a long time. It’s where I keep my frequent flier cards and any random reward program cards, and I can stick my passport in it when I don’t need it. I can even keep a few foreign currencies in it too. None of this needs to be in your regular wallet.”

    Kiehl’s Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Face Mist

    “Airplanes are your skin’s worst enemy. Keeping up a few little habits can make a world of difference. No one wants to be told ‘you look tired,’ or feel their own skin turn into leather. I like this mist because hey, who doesn’t like Tibetan ginseng?”

    Fool’s Gold x Stokyo Needle Case

    “I used to carry the classic blue Shure needle case, but it’s kind of big. Then we made this smaller Fool’s Gold case with Stokyo. It’s way more portable. I also love how it has a little compartment where you can keep spare styli.”

    The Bag Within the Bag

    “I always carry-on, I’d say 98% percent of the time. It’s extremely rare that I check something in. So the bag I travel with is bigger, but that doesn’t mean I’ll bring that to my gigs. That’s where you need a bag within your bag. Going to gigs with only a tote bag has changed my life.”

    Follow A-Trak on Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, and Twitter.

    Related: The Chainsmokers: Must-Have Items in Our DJ Bag