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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?
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.