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Though he's held residencies at virtually all of the city's most exclusive clubs, DJ Phresh has -- purely and simply -- made a name for himself behind the decks. Niteside sat down with the electro-happy record spinner to talk summer jamz, making bodies move and mistakenly harassing Leonardo DiCaprio.
Having DJ'd all over the city, what's your favorite spot? I'm split between 1OAK and SL. 1OAK has a great vibe, constant cameos and unprompted performances, and SL is where my one of my new favorite genres, electro, lives.
Prediction: What record will be making dance floors move the most this summer? DJ Khaled -- "All I Do Is Win (Remix) (feat. Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Nicki Minaj, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Swizz Beatz & T-Pain)." It's just so epic! Busta Rhymes completely dominates the remix.
Who's the one DJ you've always looked up to and why? DJ AM, despite the celebrity, the politics and anything else. He was always humble, showed love and always about skills. Three things that I believe in and the three things that will take you around the world.
What's your most memorable nightlife experience? Memorable but yet really awkward, if not embarrassing, but still hilarious, was accidentally hemming up Leo DiCaprio at the backdoor entrance for Upstairs, Danny A's old spot. I was just hanging out before my set and I see this guy with his hat really low sneaking into the club and I ran over and grabbed him ... just because it's NYC and you never know, right? So he flips his hat brim up and in rolls the, "A-Ha!" moment. We both gave each other the I-won't-tell-if-you-won't-tell look and kept it moving. But yeah, the staff had a ball with that one.
Do clubs with strict door policies dilute the music-lover vibe? Not necessarily. It all depends on the focus of the club and the creative freedom they give their DJs. Some clubs aim to please large clients and others aim to be different and brand their particular vibe above all. For the most part when a club caters to an upscale or jet-set crowd, you should expect to hear just about any and everything through the course of a night. As a DJ, I have to factor in that most of the people listening on any given night have traveled around the globe many times over. I know I'm going to have to dig really deep and get extra creative and aggressive to win them over, inform them, and loosen them up.
Serato or Vinyl? Why? Serato. I don't miss the eight or so crates I used to bring to gigs. Carrying records is the less sexy part of the job description. I was always the DJ that had to have everything just in case ... still am. I'll always love vinyl and I love the fact that Serato operates with vinyl, but there's no turning back. It allows me to get a lot more creative as well as bring my own production ideas and remixes to the club without having to go to record press each and every time. The downside though is a world 10 or so years from now without DJs that actually learned on and respect real vinyl. When you buy physical vinyl you have to make sure its not just an okay song but a great song which is not the case with mp3s.
Cocktail of choice? I'm not much of a drinker as most people can see from the wall of unused drink tickets I have on my Facebook page. But when I do, its a vanilla vodka and ginger ale.
If you're not out DJing, where would we find you? Probably at home programming, digging for that new big hit, collecting crazy graphic tees or just working on remixes. I have a few remix projects that have been keeping me busy and a good deal of the stuff I play out are my remixes. I'm also partnering up with the pianist Eric Lewis for a new concept event being held at Butter, called Flip N Keys, in which Eric and I combine my turntables and his baby grand piano to take people on an eclectic but mainstream musical journey. Its definitely going to be ill!
Who's the most famous person you've seen sweating to one of your sets? Where was it? It's gonna have to be a tie: one night I was spinning at the old One Little West 12th, which is now The Collective, and I was in the zone just doing my thing when I feel my friend yanking my arm so hard that it felt like she was trying to tear it off, and I looked up and she's pointing at Dennis Rodman and Prince -- a.k.a the musical god Prince. They were both going crazy to what I was playing. I think that was the moment that I realized that I was actually doing it, being a DJ in New York City and that it was really my job. The other was when I was spinning at 1OAK one night and I looked over to my left to see Jay-Z nodding his head to what I was doing. If that's not one of the ultimate hip-hop seals of approval for a DJ, then I don't know what is.