As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m constantly producing performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day I get reports back from my DJs filled with the kind of wild adventures I rarely get to be a part of as a desk jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this 4AM DJ Tour Diary, read about DJ Phresh‘s insane weekend in Vegas. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.
New York, Friday, March 18th, 7:14am: Vegas is a big deal for a lot of American artists and DJs, but at all I could think about was that one extra minute I had planned for on my Blackberry alarm — 7:15am is so much better than 7:14am, especially when it comes down to New York minutes. One of my managers, Arie Deutsch, was calling me in his Diddy-esque “Goin’ Back to Cali” voice to make sure I was up, and my other manager, Adam Alpert, was dually texting and emailing me to make sure I checked out a mention I got in Page Six for the previous night’s insanity. And so the day begins.
Showered, locked, and loaded, I rushed down the stairs of my apartment, Tumi and Incase bags in hand, right into my car, and proceeded to drive through the pothole run that is the route between Williamsburg and JFK Airport. With 10 minutes left before final bag check time, I pulled in at Terminal 5 only to remember that it is the terminal from hell when it comes to parking. I finally found a spot on the top floor of the structure and had to make what felt like a half-mile dash down the corridor leading to check-in. Gotta love it when they turn off the walkways in the morning! The check-in line was ridiculous, and in true New York nightlife fashion, I caught my breath, put on my best, and approached one of the female attendees, who then escorted me past the line and right up to the counter. “Please help this handsome, sweaty man catch his flight.” she said to her coworker. After the usual bag check and inspection of alien devices, later to be described as my DJ needles and equipment, I met up with Adam and Arie in the terminal and got my customary stash of snacks for the flight. After a couple minutes of safety prayers, I threw my iPad new music playlist on, and then it was heels up, and lights out.
Las Vegas, Friday, March 18th, 1:00 pm. Five animal crackers, a sandwich, a four hour nap, one remix, and twenty levels of Angry Birds later, and hello Las Vegas! There’s just something about Vegas that gets me every time. The minute I land it’s like the entire city is screaming “GO IN!”
The crew and I made our way out toward baggage claim, where our driver was waiting with his “love boat” sign. We got our bags and headed to our first stop on my Vegas Spring Break weekend, The Mirage. Light Group had me set up to spin at The Bank at the Bellagio, Jet nightclub at the Mirage, and The Bare Pool at the Mirage. Light Group is one of the major hospitality development and management companies in the States. I was introduced to them initially through Danny A., who cosigned me for my work at Upstairs.
Once we got to the Mirage, Arie and I decided to go check out the Bare Pool and see what the vibe was down there. It was 70 degrees in Vegas, which totally beats NY’s mid 40’s. When I got to Bare, I bumped into Kalika Moquin, who was running the show. She walked us right in and it was everything I expected. The music was on point, the vibe was right, and the crowd was sexy. It definitely took me a lot longer to blink than usual. After that, we decided to stop by BLT Burger and grab a bite before linking up with my homie, DJ Ikon. Ikon just opened up a sick sneaker store called Feature LV and he wanted me to check out all of the progress they had made since my last visit. Not even 5 minutes into my sneaker hunt, and I already had 3 pairs of kicks on the counter waiting for checkout. Once I wrapped up, I took a trip next door to my other good friends DJ Crooked and DJ Neva’s clothing store, KNYEW, which stands for Keeping New York Everywhere. I picked up a few shirts from some up-and-coming brands, and a couple accessories, and headed back to the Mirage for a pre-game nap.
Friday, March 18th, 10:00 pm. After waking up and retrieving Arie from the sportsbook, we headed over to the Bellagio and had dinner at Yellowtail, one of my personal favorites. It’s also about 50 feet from The Bank. Once dinner was done, we walked over to the club, which was a total scene. It wasn’t even midnight yet, and it was already packed. We were greeted out front by Colin Comer from The Bank and a linebacker-sized security guard, who then proceeded to make an opening through the crowd toward the DJ booth. DJ Karma was opening and had the crowd nice and ready when we got there. I don’t usually drink — unless it’s with the Light Group crew, apparently. Because Jake Saady from Light Group walked into the booth with Karma in the middle of my set and it automatically became Patron time. At that point, I just went into autopilot and went in with all the hits. Vegas is a hits-only kind of town, and that’s one of the things I love about the crowds. They just want to dance. The Bank is a high-end room, and there’s no room for the too-cool-for-school mentality or wallflowers. As a DJ, it’s the perfect stage to exert your crowd motivation and party rocking skills. I stayed on until after 3am, tapped out, and passed the headphones to Karma.
Saturday, March 19th, 5:00am. In a perfect world, at this time of morning I’d be tucked under some high thread covers, dead-to-the-world-asleep, but not in Vegas. We leave The Bank and and somehow got from the Bellagio over to the a bright and modern hotel, whose name I was too drunk to remember, where we met up with some friends for some late night gambling, and then over to a friend’s two-story suite for the after-after party. The rest of this story has been redacted to protect the not-so-innocent and their fuzzy warbles. Bedtime: 10am.
Saturday, March 19th, 4:00pm. So tonight is Jet Nightclub, and a 10pm reservation at Stack. I was supposed to spin the Bare Pool earlier at 3 but the temperature dropped 15 degrees, so it’s not warm enough outside for the pool to be open. It’s a big let down because it would have been my first pool party in Vegas. But there’s always next time. Kalika and the Light Group crew were cool about it too, and let me know that they’d make up next time. So now it’s time to get productive, which means remixes.
Saturday, March 19th, 10:00 pm. I headed down to Stack Restaurant, where Light Group had us set up with an all-you-can-eat dinner for 6. The food was great. I usually don’t enjoy DJing on a full stomach, but I didn’t feel that weighed down or tired after the meal. After dinner, I ran up to the room to find myself real quick, and then came down and met up with JT and security. They took me over to the club through the secret “bat cave” entrance, which led right up to the red carpet. I had a couple shots taken, and then ran inside and hopped on with DJ Ikon.
Jet was insanely packed, and more hip-hop centered than The Bank. At around midnight, I got on with Ikon’s blessing and started to go to work. A short while later, Adam Alpert showed up with a huge crew to support me. Ikon had the “Patron Time” look in his eyes, so we went down that road again. My encore set was even more fun for me, because I actually got to spin house. New York clubs want to leave on a high-energy note, but every now and then you should smooth them out. Once the club finally closed, we decided to go meet up with my good friend and a great DJ, David Christian.
DC does the DJ booking for Light Group. We met over at this local Asian restaurant on Spring Mountain Road that all of the industry people go to. It was pretty packed for that hour of the night, and the food was remarkable. Good times were had, and I got a chance to meet some more of the local Vegas DJs. The camaraderie amongst DJs in Vegas is unrivaled. After failing miserably at downing the mountain of pad thai I ordered, I decided to call it a night and skipped past the sexting part of the night right for the pillows. Overall, the trip was successful and fun, and that’s the best you can ask for — good times with good people, and a whole lot of left-out details, because what happens in Vegas…well, you know the rest.