Recently I caught up with a local veteran, DJ Louder, and asked him a few questions about his experiences as a DJ and his thoughts on the evolution of the music scene in Arizona. Louder has been a staple in the Arizona DJ circuit for quite some time now and has more recently been exploring music production, which you can hear on his Soundcloud page. Read on to hear what Louder has to say!
1. So what got you into music and deejaying?
My father was a musician and his father before him, so I’ve always been into music. Naturally, I wanted to surround myself with the music, but never learned an instrument, so I did the next best thing. In 1998 I went to the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences for music recording. During my time there I needed to work some internship hours. My trip to California fell through, so I was forced to work here in AZ. I ended up calling my home town hero, DJ L3GO because I knew he was doing music around town. I ended up interning for him and DJ MARA at Burn Music. The first “rave” I went to, I actually worked at. Needless to say I was hooked and picked up the decks a year later.
2. How long have you been in the game, and how much time did you spend pushing your style and sound before breaking through and generating a bigger name for yourself within the AZ scene?
I started playing house parties in 1999, fortunately enough I was able to land my first warehouse gig with DRP in 2000. It didn’t take long to be recognized because nobody was really pushing the NuSkool breakbeat sound out here… It was fresh and blew up around the world. I was kinda pushed forward because of that. Clubs and raves alike were feelin it. I’ve always had an ear for fresh new sounds, so that really helped with DJing.
3. What are your feelings on the rave and club scenes in the city and how do you feel they have changed over the past 5-10 years?
Well when I first started spinning, the electronic music scene was on the decline from the big years of the early 90’s. I feel like I’ve rode the waves up and down throughout the years. Right now the party is thriving! Thousands of kids at raves and electronic music on the radio. The clubs are packed with tons of awesome headliners coming to town. I love that you have a lot to choose from right now. Though, along with the popularity, you get a hell of a lot of idiots that a)cannot handle taking drugs, drinking and being in public b) have no respect for other people and c) just don’t belong. They’re only there because it’s the popular thing to do. Sometimes the party turns into douche bag central. That’s definitely not what electronic music is about.
4. Do you have any tips for new DJs that are trying to get their name out there?
Work hard, make a lot of demos and show the world what you got! Support is definitely something you gotta do if you’re just starting out. Support your local promoters and shows. If you’re good enough, they’ll support you by giving you a slot. Spamming on the interenet, asking every promoter for a gig on public message boards is definitely a no no. If you think you might wanna make music some day, START NOW. Learn that while you perfect your DJing skills..
5. How do you juggle working a 9-5 and still taking time to work on your DJ skills, promote and now move forward into production?
FML… haha! It’s hard. Where I usually would get little sleep on the weekends, I now look forward to them so I can actually sleep in and get some damn rest!
6. It seems a fair amount of DJs these days are making the move to digital, moving away from vinyl and getting into using tools like Ableton, Serato and CDjs – How do you feel about the movement from vinyl into the new digital age?
I hated it at first, but I feel it expands the way DJs/Producers can express themselves musically without having to be a turntablist, which is some hard stuff to do! Though, I think staring into a computer screen the whole time you’re DJing is really boring to watch. It’s hard to connect with someone who does that. I feel it takes away from the magic.
7. When did you play your first gig and do you remember how you felt before stepping on stage in front of the masses?
It was the year 2000, I can’t remember the name of the party, but it was a DRP show at the Nile Theater. I was booked to play in the basement. I dunno why, but the promoter (Matt Dunn) gave me a prime time slot. Haha! I was really nervous, but excepted the challenge. I train-wrecked twice, but recovered nicely. The kids in front gave me support and were really positive about the whole situation. That was nice of them. It was an exhilarating experience… Shakes and all!
8. It seems that just about anyone can go buy themselves a laptop with some software on it and consider themselves a DJ or a producer. What are your thoughts on this new mentality and how do you think it’s changing the game?
If you have never matched a beat in your life and all of a sudden consider yourself a “DJ”, I hope that you’re doin some really magical stuff on that computer of yours! Production wise, the list of amazing producers is getting YOUNGER. You have 16yr olds banging out some pretty neat tunes. That, in my opinion, is awesome! I can only imagine where the music goes as they get older.
9. Last question! What does DJ Louder do when he isn’t saving the world from terrible music?
Being so busy with music, plus the 9-5, I’m in much need of down time. I like to go to the movies, hang out in dive bars and breweries and chillax in Flagstaff, my home town. It feels good to have nothing to do, which is rare, so I make the most of it.
Big thanks to DJ Louder for answering the questions! Don’t forget to check out his website and soundcloud below to hear his mixes and to check out the new tunes and remixes he’s working on.