Behind The Beat: Getting Real with DJ Vice
OTB: Let’s start from the beginning. Is it true that you started DJing at age 12 when you got your first turn tables?
VICE: Yeah. I started DJing when DJs weren’t cool. I remember walking into clubs saying, ”I’m the DJ” and getting the response ”Great you can go setup in the back by yourself” and having to carry and set up everything all alone. It’s is pretty amazing because I am 37 years old and still here today DJing and doing what I love to do.
OTB: How has your style changed? It can’t be the same as it was when you were 12 years old.
VICE: The passion has never changed, but I always stay current with music and always up to date on what is going on in all genres. I have always been true to the fact that I am a DJ first and a producer second. I am a DJ first because that is all that I knew for a number of years and learned how to be a good DJ during that time. This shows when I perform because I don’t plan my sets, I don’t play the same shit every time, and I don’t even know what I am going to play first tonight. I just go out there and have a good time. My style has evolved to reflect what is happening now in music.
OTB: Many writers and commentators in the industry believe that you are one of the most versatile DJs able to do wild EDM shows, but also mix relaxing beats at other venues. How do you prepare for each show? Do you do any research on the venue?
VICE: No, I go in and I go with the vibe. I have been lucky enough to be DJing for as long as I have, and I can adapt to any environment. If I am thrown into a senior citizen party, I could tear it up.
OTB: Jack Ü did a Soulcycle event a few months back and I hear that you are DJing an ice skating event in Las Vegas on December 2nd, 2015. What is with these different venues?
VICE: I actually did a Soulcycle in Hollywood a few months back and invited all of my friends. I am doing the 2nd Annual Vice on Ice at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas overlooking the strip and another one in the heart of downtown LA. It’s crazy because most people think of DJs as crazy party animals, but here I am doing kid friendly events without explicit tracks. For me it is about pushing limits and trying new environments to have fun. I don’t want to get comfortable.
OTB: How about the craziest venue where you perform?
VICE: I remember DJing a long time ago at the Playboy Mansion and jumping into the pool. I wanted to just be cool and jump in the water and of course they were like get the hell outta here.
OTB: You have worked on a lot of collaborations over the years with top artists. Who was your favorite artist to work with and who would you like to work with in the future?
VICE: I recently started working on a song that is not out yet with Kelly Rowland, which is definitely a highlight for me because I was actually in the studio producing the track and not going back and forth over email. My bucket list includes collaborating with is definitely Andre 3000, which is my ultimate goal.
OTB: You have residencies in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. How do you maintain all of these residencies, tour, perform at major festivals, and keep up to date on music/music technology?
VICE: And add taking care of a baby. I have to juggle everything and somehow try to stay healthy. The DJ lifestyle is crazy. You can eat whatever you want to eat, drink whatever you want to drink, and then have to jump on a flight with little sleep. I try and stop to take time for myself.
OTB: There are a lot of producers and DJs out there that dream of having residencies at major nightclubs and tour the country like DJ Vice. What advice would you give these aspiring DJs/producers?
VICE: Follow your passion and own it. Know your brand and stick to it. I have always played different types of music rock, hip-hop, rap, reggae, 80’s music and I play what I want to play.
OTB: What is the most essential accessory for a DJ or what defines your style watch, sneakers, hat, or sunglasses?
VICE: The hat. I always wear a hat even back when I was younger. Hat game strong.
OTB: As a follower of you on Instagram, I continually see a lot of posts about coffee and tacos. What are your favorites foods, hobbies, sports teams anything outside of music?
A photo posted by Vice (@djvice) on
VICE: I actually run. I got into New York yesterday and ran five miles. I actually did eat tacos yesterday maybe because I felt good after running.
OTB: In addition to being a DJ you own a few CRSVR boutique stores in California and Las Vegas?
VICE: CRSVR it my other passion. My passion growing up was buying records and spending all of my money on music. I also like shoes, which is apart of DJ/Hip-Hop culture of having fresh kicks. So I figured out how to get free records and I needed a way to get free shoes. So I started a shoe company that opened up 7 years ago in Santa Barbara and 5 years ago in the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. So I got the connection for free shoes and have like 200 pair now.
OTB: Final question. What are your plans for the rest of 2015 and into 2016?
VICE: Wrapping up the Kelly Rowland record and a nationwide radio show ready to launch.