As most DJs will tell you, we listen to our fellow DJs with a different (read: more critical) ear than most people. Not necessarily because we want to, but mostly because it’s ingrained in us. We hear mistakes that the average person may not hear and we’re more apt to notice and/or recognize tricks and music selection. There are quite a few of us who will compliment a fellow DJ on a job well done, or at the very least give them that “I see what you did there” nod of approval.
This is how I came to meet DJ PHATAL. Back in ‘06 or ‘07, he and DJ Super Mario stopped into my weekly gig on their night off. (Their weekly was on hiatus due to club renovations.) Midway through my set, Mario came over and complimented my music selection, which made my night. (That’s one of the greatest compliments I can receive.) After my set, we all sat down, had a pleasant introductory conversation and have been friends ever since.
PHATAL has incredible taste in music, specifically when it comes to House and Nu-Disco. Every time I watch him play, there’s at least 2-3 songs that I’m asking him about (that is, if they’re not Shazam-able…wink wink). You can catch him at various places around town, including Playground, Junxxion and this weekend at Saturday Nights At La Cocina!
Keep up with him on his Facebook page!
Describe your style.
My style for the most part because I live in Tucson is Open Format. You gotta be able to read a crowd/ dance floor and adjust your set and song selection to what they are liking. I tend to lean more towards house-uptempo music if I can.
I once got a request for World Music. I guess that is a music genre although at the time I had no idea what that was.
Who are your influences?
Z-Trip, Jazzy Jeff, DJ AM, Armand Van Helden, Richard Vission, Bad Boy Bill, Skratch Picklz Crew. I have so many.
Favorite DJ sets you’ve witnessed in person.
Z-Trip. I think it was around 1999 or 2000 he played a set at this small cafe/bar called the Copper Room in downtown Tucson. It was Cinco De Mayo so he put together a set that was all Latin artist or Latin-influenced music, from Kid Frost to Christina Aguilera to Cypress Hill. It was amazing.
Describe your best and worst moments you’ve had while DJing. What was your favorite set?
Worst moments while DJing are usually if I have any kind of technical difficulties and there is no sound. Even if it’s just for 5 seconds in the club that seems like a hour. Rarely happens though.
I played a show in Mammoth Mountain California (Ski Resort/ Snowboarders playground) at a club called Hyde Mammoth. I played the whole night and I soon as I came into the club I just felt great energy from the people that were already there. I jumped on the decks and just rocked it. I was able to play pretty much everything I wanted and only got a couple of requests. Oh and I also got a $100 tip from Sean White’s entourage who had the table right below the DJ booth. For sure my favorite set.
What do you listen to when you’re not DJing?
I listen to a lot of old school music,all genres and other DJ’s mixes when I’m not DJing. I try to stay away from the mainstream radio mixes. I just like to see what everyone else is playing.
How do you feel you’ve evolved? What would the past you say about the DJ you are now?
I feel like my technical skills have evolved a lot but the thing that’s more important to me is my music knowledge. I wish I knew back then what I know now when I was digging in the record shops. I think the past me would say that I’m a more rounded DJ now but still as humble as when I first started and eager to learn.
What do you always keep in your bag? What do you never leave the house without (when headed to a gig)?
Aside from extra needles and adapters etc., real vinyl. At least a couple because you never know when you’re gonna have to re-boot Serato or have to transition between DJs.