DJ Dossier

DJ Epidemic on Moombahton, Tropical Bass, & New York City's Terrible DJs

Joel Davis, better known by his DJ handle, DJ Epidemic, is moving to New York to join up with Silver Medallion, whom he officially mans the wheels of steel for. Epidemic isn't planning on leaving Phoenix without a party first; he'll be guest DJing at Sticky Fingers at Bar Smith, Friday, June 24, with the resident DJs there and The Gentlemen Ether.

He's understandably excited about the prospect of taking the Big Apple by storm, but he also has some less than kind words for the DJ scene there.

"New York DJs are terrible," he says with a laugh over the phone on a sunny Saturday, speaking with Up on the Sun before heading to a pool party. "Arizona is like a DJ battleground; there's not a lot of business out here, but there are a lot of really awesome dudes, and you really have to be the best you can be to survive out here. It's the complete opposite out there."

Your Love Is My Drug (Epidemic Love Dub) by The DJ Epidemic

UOTS: What have your regular gigs been as of late?

DJE: I actually don't have any residencies. I still DJ professionally, full time. I do private parties, and weddings, and stuff I've been in teams. I have a pretty good network to be able to [play] Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix. I DJ every weekend, but no residencies.

UOTS: The Sticky Fingers party is your last official gig before you take off?

DJE: Yeah.

UOTS: What genres do you play?

DJE: In my professional DJ life, really, whatever pays. At Sticky Fingers, I'm going to be playing a lot of tropical bass and some funky house music. Lately, I've been playing a lot of what I like to call cerebral house, which is a lot of ethereal, atmospheric house music.

UOTS: What kind of stuff are you into personally? What are some of your favorite styles?

DJE: Right now...although I don't play it, moombahton, because Pickster and Melo and all those dudes, they've gotten in on the ground floor of moombahton and have been involved in the proliferation of it. [I'm into] UK Funky and tropical bass music. Tropical bass is what I've been deeply in love with for the last year.

UOTS: What are some artists that do that?

DJE: Man, so many. For the top people, people like Boriqua ...let me grab my iPod, and get some reference points. Anything on the No Brainer record label, which is run by a dude named Malente; Sound Pellegrino, and does tropical stuff and really deep house, ethereal, cerebral shit. There's a label called Marble Music ...a lot of what I go [for is] based off record labels, not so much specific artists.

PYT (Epidemic's Baltimore Fuck-Up) by The DJ Epidemic

UOTS: Do you play vinyl, or digital? What's your set up?

DJE: All digital. Two turntables, a mixer, Serrato. I started out as a hip-hop DJ, so I really like a simple, basic, uncomplicated DJ feel. I collect vinyl. I don't play it out ever, but I'm a pretty avid collector of original print '80s LPs and 12 inches.

UOTS: Where do you get your vinyl here in town?

DJE: Stinkweeds. I used to work at Stinkweeds for a while, and they are a really great spot to do that. Revolver has some really great stuff. The occasional Zia gem, there will be like, one, in an entire stack. If not that, eBay.

UOTS: So what's the plan for NYC? What are you looking to do out there?

DJE: Well, Silver Medallion is based out there, the group I DJ for officially. Defintely going to work on more Silver Medallion stuff. They haven't been able to do any live shows, so once I get out there, we'll have a little more of a performance presence, and not just so much of a musical network presence. I'm just going to DJ full-time out there. Luckily, I've been going out there every three or four months, for the past year and a half, so I've built up a decent size network to work off, and I've built up a resume of clubs to kind of launch off of.

UOTS: What are you going to miss most about the Phoenix DJ scene?

DJE: The talent. New York DJs are terrible. There are a ton of DJs and they're terrible, and they don't mix, they all get drunk and are on drugs, and it's a very terrible scene for DJs. It's great if you don't have any talent because you can still make a ton of money, but people who have worked really hard to cultivate their talent is one thing I'll miss.

Not only that, but I'm pretty good friends with DJs out here, and missing their talent. Arizona is like a DJ battleground; there's not a lot of business out here, but there are a lot of really awesome dudes, and you really have to be the best you can be to survive out here. It's the complete opposite out there.

LET THE BASS KICK (Epidemic Moombahton Remix) (Dirty) by The DJ Epidemic
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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.

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