DJ Brett Ortiz on How "Return of the Mack" Got Him Into Destroying Turntables

Tongue 'n' Grooves: DJ Brett Ortiz licks a winner behind the decks.
Tongue 'n' Grooves: DJ Brett Ortiz licks a winner behind the decks.

Ask DJ Brett Ortiz what the best part of his job is, and he doesn't take long to answer: "Knowing [that] you alone can make a room full of people have the best night of their life," he says. The 27-year-old does his damndest to fulfill that goal every Friday evening at Wild Knight or on Saturdays at the Monarch Theatre, spinning up a combination of tech-house, electro, progressive tracks, as well as a little dubstep or trance thrown in for good measure.

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When asked for his least favorite aspect of being a DJ, Ortiz is just as quick to respond: "All the negative labels that come associated with being a DJ," which include being considered a pompous douchebag and lazy performer who simply presses drops overplayed bangers and nothing more. Find out what else Ortiz had to say - both in regards to the poor habits of other local selectors and how his particular mixing mojo differs - by checking out this week's DJ Dossier.

Name: Brett M. Ortiz

AKA: I used to be called just "B" and used to go by DJ B most the time.

Current Gigs: Fridays at Wild Knight, Saturdays at Monarch Theatre, and at most Relentless Beats events.

Preferred genres: I try my best to mix up the genres through out the night between tech-house, electro, [and] progressive. I've had a soft spot for Trance so I play it as music as I can. Drop a dubstep track here and there to surprise the crowd.

How did you get into the DJ game? When I was about nine or 10, I heard "Return of the Mack" (C&J radio edit) by Mark Morrison, and fell in love with sound of the scratching on the track. I asked my father what it was, and he told me it was a DJ scratching on a Turntable, so I would scratch on my dad's belt-driven turntable every chance I could.

How long did that last? After I broke it a couple times he bought me my first pair of Technics 1200s when I was in sixth Grade. He was big in the nightlife scene, so he would bring mix tapes of many local DJs and I would try to replicate the mixes with the turntables or my tape player. It carried on into high school through huge warehouse parties at Scottsdale Airpark or at empty houses, progressed into college, and then into the club scene.

Are you more of a DJ or more of an EDM artist or producer? I am a DJ, number one. I try to focus on the trying to get the new tracks and never before heard future bangers like DJs were known for. I do my own mashups and bootlegs and have started working on my own music. It's what you have to do now to set yourself away from the ever growing pool of "DJs." I didn't just jump into this cause EDM became big again overnight.

Brett Ortiz helps on crowd have the night of their lives.
Brett Ortiz helps on crowd have the night of their lives.

So how are you different than most rank and file DJs? I started on vinyl, carried crates back in the day, [and] don't use a laptop. Every single night I play, I create a unique playlist of new tracks, most that have come out just that week. So no one set will ever sound the same or have the same tracks you can hear from any other DJ at any bar or club. Yes, I mix it with well-known tracks, but I think people get tired of hearing the same songs over and over. A DJ is supposed to bring you new music and mix with what's popular here and there. I love dropping a new track that no one has heard, and the crowd loves it and getting asked, "What is this?"

What misconceptions do people have about DJs? Nowadays if you're a DJ, especially in Scottsdale, you're automatically an asshole or douchebag. I'm actually very quiet person and pretty down-to-earth. I do it for the love of the music and for creating a memorable night for everyone.

How do you go about crafting your beats and mixes? I get my ideas from other genres, especially older music -- 50's, 70's, 80's, even country music...all have unique sounds and beats. [I] take those ideas to create a new track or even mashups, taking vocals from and old popular track and putting over a current banger.

What's the key to a good gig? Feeding off the crowd, you cant go in saying you are only gonna play only these tracks or only this genre. Like I said you need to play for the crowd, and not just play music at them. You want to keep the people in the club, not bouncing around from club to club.

Craziest shit you've seen at a gig? What haven't I seen? Guys getting blowjobs, girls flashing their boobs, people getting knocked out by bartenders, jumping off the bar. [I've] seen it all.

How do you pick the songs you mix? If I like the track or not. Just cause its on Beatport or the majority likes it doesn't mean [that] I do.

What artists have been finding their way into your set lately? Hardwell has been killing it lately, especially with his mashups.

What's your favorite track of the moment? Jordy Dazz and Dannic, "Fuego." The break down surprises the crowd every time and they just love it.

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Wild Knight - Closed

4405 N. Saddlebag Trail
Scottsdale, AZ 85251


The Monarch Theatre

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