Local Vegas DJs Discuss Current State of the Scene

DJ Five
Sin City is famous for its thriving EDM scene and high-paying residencies with international DJs but what about the locals who’ve been holding it down for years? What do they think about the current state of the scene and where it’s headed?
Las Vegas Weekly recently spoke with eight of these hardworking DJs about the progression of their careers, the pros and cons of working in the city, the future of the scene, and more.
The revealing article includes insights from DJ Five, Dave Fogg, DJ OB-One, Jeff Retro, DJ 88, DJ IKON, Brett Rubin, and Alex Clark. Here’s some of our favorite responses:

DJ Five: Those [international headliners] are demanding from $10,000-$200,000. When the clubs come hiring open format guys, they won’t hesitate to give more to the locals since they’re used to paying so much for the [big DJs] … Clubs make more money with open format guys anyway — we can play all the big EDM songs and also Top 40 and hip-hop, and we work with the club on bottle presentations and shout-outs.


Dave Fogg: [DJs] just see the spectacle, and that’s what they want. They want to be in front of the crowd. There’s more to it than that. [They’re not] thinking about the times when the whale comes in and drops $50,000, or let’s say $200,000. You essentially turn into a jukebox. You’re playing whatever that guy wants to hear. The set you may have prepared for two hours is now thrown out the window! Your artistic integrity means nothing then. In some respect, the money is the star.


DJ IKON: It’s funny. When I moved here from Reno, in my mind I was like, yo, I’m versatile! When I actually moved here, I was like, I am not versatile — I have a lot to learn! I had an immediate wake-up call as to what DJ I was, especially in the midst of the DJ AM era … He shows up and it was like, this is versatile, this is open format. You have to be able to go into any room, know what you’re [doing], be up on music, and you have [to] play it really well.


DJ 88: I would love to see a lot of the younger DJs challenging themselves and coming out of their comfort zones. Anyone can play the hits. I would love to see more variety and more excitement and creativity in people’s sets.


Dave Fogg: [The resurgence of open format] is definitely happening. The EDM boom in this market is over. People will come to EDC, yeah, but that has nothing to do with the way the clubs are booking and what next year is looking like. The experience of being at XS every weekend and seeing how the crowds react to DJs and music they like—it’s definitely there. Even the EDM artists are playing hip-hop to deal with the market.

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