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.

Where do you get your music? These days, mostly online. Tracksource, Beatport, or directly from the producers. I get a lot of e-mails full of MP3s and spend time on instant messenger.

Last album purchased: I downloaded an old Shelter release called Black Action by Current Underground Chicago.

Track currently going through your head: I've been stuck on this one song, It's called "(You Are) More Than Paradise" by Crue-L Grand Orchestra.

Current projects: I have a bunch of releases that I have been working on and finally submitted them all to Next Dimension Music. I just gave him a bunch of releases to put out on his label on Friday. I'm pretty sure he is going to take all of them.

Any upcoming gigs you wanna promote? Solstice's three-year anniversary is coming up in April. I don't know who we're going to book for that but it will definitely be a big show.

Where can you be found when you aren't DJing? I feel like I am always DJing. I don't really have days off, I'm always doing sales or talking to corporate clients, talking to venues, meeting with management, working on promotions. It's kind of a 24/7 thing for me.

Preferred poison while DJing: Water, Man, or soda with lime. I'm not a drinker.

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