DJ Dossier

DJ Steel Talks Scottsdale, La Roux, Booth Sex, Mindless Self Indulgence, and More

AKA: DJ Steel

Current club nights: Monday nights, Crown Room; Wednesday nights, American Junkie; Thursday nights, Pussycat Lounge; Friday nights, American Junkie; Saturday, The Cathouse at the Luxor in Las Vegas.

Preferred genres: I really don't prefer any genre over another. I've been lucky enough at this point to have had time to understand the importance of each genre and how they affect the listener.

How did you get started as a DJ? From the first time I went to a roller rink (Skate World in Phoenix), all I ever wanted to be was a DJ.

Scottsdale nightlife tends to have many haters. How do you respond to them? Haters are everywhere; it's just part of doing business. My boy, AL3, says if you don't have anyone hating on you, you're probably doing something wrong. Haters are just people who are too lazy to work hard enough to get what they want.

What's the craziest shit you've seen at a club? A DJ having sex with a girl in the booth while the dance floor was packed.

Explanation behind your DJ name: Well, it sounds pretty bad, but I was a horrible kid and got in a bit of trouble with the law for "stealing things." My friends and I were sitting around trying to come up with names, and one of my friends suggested DJ Theft--bad idea. Another friend offered up DJ Steal, at which point I mentioned, "What about DJ Steel?" It stuck, and I've been DJ Steel ever since. This was when I was very young, and before the Internet Age. If I had to do it over, that would definitely not be my DJ name, but it sure sounded good to a 13-year-old me.

What's been one of the hottest trends in Scottsdale lately? It's pretty obvious that video is huge in Scottsdale now and is starting to blow up all over Arizona. DJing with videos well is a pretty tough thing to do, but a lot of guys here in Arizona do know how to do it well. Most cities still don't have even one or two guys who are at that level, and we have many. In terms of fashion, the biggest new trend in fashion is the jerkin' movement--it's not just in Scottsdale but everywhere. If you would have told me two years ago that guys would be wearing nerdy clothes and doing the reverse running man to get girls, I would have thought you lost your mind. I get it though; it's pretty cool.

Worst request you've ever gotten? Probably when some asked me for two coronas and two shots. They were so hammered they thought I was a bartender. That has actually happened a couple times at different bars.

How do you get a crowd going? This is the most important question a DJ can ask himself. The answer is what separates bad DJ's from good DJ's & good DJ's from great DJ's. It's all about the timing and the energy of the songs that you play.

What's your opinion about Scottsdale's club scene? Scottsdale is truly unlike anywhere I've ever DJed. As a DJ, you feed off the energy of the crowd. It's very cool when you can tell that some of the women took hours to get ready, because you know they are excited to be there and to be seen there. There's nothing like a special event in Old Town; it's something that I am lucky enough to be part of and am grateful for every night I work.

What sites do you use for music? I use New Music Server, My 12 Inch, Promo Only, DJ City, DMS, and 8th Wonder. I also use music videos which is very similar to hunting for hard-to-find records way back when.

Where do you shop locally for music? Zia. I love Zia and always have.

Last album purchased: Mindless Self Indulgence's If. That's my favorite group, and I always go out of my way to make sure I buy everything they are selling.

Song currently stuck in your head: La Roux "I'm Not Your Toy"

Any other projects you're working on: I'm constantly using Ableton Live to make my own tracks. It's what I find the most fun doing, and I love it.

When not DJing, I am: In my studio making tracks or video edits. That is really my only interest.

Preferred poison while DJing: Red Bull

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.