DJ Dossier

Aaron Taylor Talks KISS FM, DMX, Bob Marley, Usher, Masters At Work, and More

ame: Aaron Taylor

AKA: Vanilla Gorilla (not really)

Current club schedule: Thursday at Jackrabbit Lounge, Friday at Suede, and Saturday at Myst.

Genres spun: Hip-hop, Top 40, old school, electro, reggae, or anything else you might tip for.

How did you get started as a DJ? Back in '94, a buddy had one Technics turntable from a garage sale, one Realistic turntable, and a Radio Shack mixer in his basement connected to a house speaker. We'd buy old break records and try to beat match for hooked, the rest is history.

Best experience as a DJ: Being able to DJ at KISS FM events/concerts for 15,000-plus people, open for famous acts like Nelly, E-40, Nas, The Game, Jon B, Tony Toni Tone, George Lopez, Dave Chapelle, etc.

What determines what is played on FM radio? Many things...We use a lot of research tools to gauge what people like and dislike. We check music charts of other radio stations across the country and what works for them, phone/text/email requests, album/single sales, reactions in the clubs, the history of the artist, etc. And finally it comes down to my experience and what my gut tells me.

Does a day job at a radio station make it harder to do club gigs at night? No, because I'm on Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Although after a crazy Thursday night in the club, Fridays mornings can be a lil' rough. God bless Starbucks.

Ever been stalked by a listener? Yes...but mostly they're young girls, so they don't worry me too much!

Craziest shit you've seen at a club: This is a hard one because coming from the Bay Area, I've seen some bad stuff. But most recently a very memorable time for me was DJing DMX's Birthday Party. He's a guy that I've listened to since the start. And playing his songs and having him rap along next to me, with Flava Flav also by my side was memorable!

What's your opinion on the Phoenix club scene? People out here love to party and with music changing daily, I'm glad electro and uptempo music is becoming popular again. Tough times these days in the world with money, jobs, etc. People want to just go out, dance, sweat, and have fun!

What would you change if you could? DJs take it way to seriously. I get that in a way it's a completive sport/hobbie/job, but talking bad about other DJ's and - especially - undercutting is the worst. Phoenix has some serious talent out here, but it gets ruined by the bad attitudes of others. Being a DJ is like any other job.

There's always going to be someone better than you, and there is always going to be someone worse. Some will get gigs because of talent, and some will get gigs because of who you know. That's the way the game works. We all got bills, and we all want to work. There's always going to be someone that "hates" on others, and all I do is pray for them. I respect every DJ that does what they do because they love music, don't have ego's bigger than there name, and want to give people a great time, that's what were paid to do. 

Prefered poison while DJing? D. All of the above.

Worst request you've ever gotten: I recently had a girl ask if I have any Japanese house music. Huh!?

What sites do you use for music? A lot is sent to me from the record labels, but good remixes I get from DMS, DJ City, fellow DJs, etc.

Last album purchased: Probably was Bob Marley's Greatest Hits, to replace the one I lost.

Last song downloaded: "To Be In Love" by India/Masters At Work.

Track currently stuck in your head: "DJ Got Us Falling in Love" by Usher featuring Pitbull (if you heard it 6,254 times a day, you would too)

DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again by DancingWRobots2

When not Djing, where can you be found? I try to get out as much as possible to support other DJs so just depends on the night.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.