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Poised at his laptop, where he’s masterminding his newest mix, DJ Vice flashes a smile and says, “I love what I do. There’s no part of me that wakes up and is like, ‘Dang. I have to go to work.’ To still have that newness driving me is a good thing.”
While he’s still a young man, DJ Vice is also an industry veteranapproaching his 20-year mark. The LA native discovered his passionfor spinning records at the age of 12, when he bought his first turntables. Like most musically precocious kids, he came into that world by hearing – and falling in love with – what his older brother and older sister were playing. “I’d borrow from my sister’s collection of Air Supply, Blondie, Depeche Mode and Madonna records. My brother would have the Cure and Morrissey and I would buy hip-hop and house records.”
DJ Vice likes to mix these types of artists along with newer music into his sets, which is unusual for the always-current world of club DJ-ing. “I’ve always been a multi-genre DJ,” he says. “I’ve always been a music lover. A lot of DJ’s stick to one format. I’ve never been that DJ. Ever since I’ve started I’ve always played all types of music. It stems from being a house party DJ, a wedding DJ, a high school dance DJ, a radio DJ. I’ve always done so many kinds of things as a DJ that it’s brought me to where I’m at right now. My set has something for anybody and everybody.”
DJ Vice’s first big break came in 1998, when he started playing hip-hop records on LA’s Power 106 for a listenership of 1.6 million. “It really tightened up my skills. It was always live, with vinyl, and there was no going back and fixing things.”
In 2002, DJ Vice saw new opportunities emerging in Las Vegas at the huge clubs that were starting to open and left his radio job. He began with a residency at Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel and later moved to the mega-club Tao, where he still has a residency. The move to Vegas has been a huge game-changer for him, exposing him to an international audience. DJ Vice has now played all over the world, including Shanghai, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Norway, Germany and Istanbul.
Vegas has also embraced DJ Vice’s other venture: the wildly popular CRSVR, a boutique that sells top of the line sneakers. DJ Vice opened the first store in Santa Barbara three years ago and just this year opened CRSVR at the Cosmopolitan on the Strip. It’s a Nike tier zero store, which means that it sells the very first top of the line Nikes the minute they’re available. DJ Vice also gave CRSVR his own twist by setting up a DJ booth in the store.
On the horizon, DJ Vice is ready to start producing original music and is in the process of working with songwriters. Over the years, he’s broadened his knowledge of production by being in the studio with Christina Aguilera, Timbaland, Mariah Carey, Pharrell and Lady Gaga among others. “They’d turn and ask my opinion. ‘Would this work in a club?’ And I’d be honest with them.”
Despite this shift toward producing, DJ Vice has no intention of transitioning out of performing at clubs. His goal is to play his own tracks at his events where he can experience the immediacy of the crowd’s response, because that’s what he thrives on. “The biggest compliment I get is when people come up to me and say ‘I was having the worst day but now I feel so happy. I don’t even dance and you had me dancing.’”