DJ Dossier

DJ Senbad Talks Bar Smith, House Music, Current Underground Chicago, Crue-L Grand Orchestra, and More

So why isn't Phoenix more renowned as a DJ town then? It's a situation of how leisurely our lifestyle is in general here, leading to the fact that people don't care as much about their entertainment. You have to be way more on top of your game to get people to come out when they don't have a real high stress lifestyle to begin with, and once you get them there then you have to work harder to entertain them. People in cities where their life is such an everyday struggle -- like in New York or Detroit or Chicago -- really value their entertainment.

What else is holding the Phoenix scene back? Bottom line thinking across the board with all of the club owners. With radio everything is watered down, super accessible. Nobody challenges anybody, nobody puts anything super original out. There are only a handful of groups of people that try to do interesting entertainment. Everybody else is playing Top 40 and selling liquor and that's all they care about.

How do you get a crowd going? It depends on whether I am starting things off or sliding in. Basically I just try to get a feel for the room and whatever energy I feel needs to be put into the room and try to introduce that energy. I'm not like going to jump on and play a big hit right now to get things started. I like to create a groove and pull people into it.

What's the secret of a successful club night? Continuity. You try to create a specific environment like when we tried to meld the music with the live art of the chalkboard. Live art gets done to death these days at events but it's still a good thing to do. We worked very hard to create a specific vibe and booked other DJs besides just Pete and I.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.