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Having performed for less than five years, Manuel Camacho is a relative newcomer to the DJ world. But that doesn't he's any less talented that any of the more experienced turntablists, platter jocks, or knob-twisters in the Valley scene.
The 24-year-old, who performs as Maneone, has spent the last half-decade building up his DJing chops at such venues as Bar Smith, Hidden House, and the Yucca Tap Room, which have made his already potent skills as a mixmaster and selector that much better.
Every Tuesday, you can find Mane One rocking the decks at Lost Leaf as a part of the relatively new hip-hop night The Rewind along with three of his contemporaries.
Occasionally, he's also known to spin at high-end retailers as H&M and G by Guess. While he doesn't get much in the way of perks or presents from said gigs, an unknown DJ once left him a unique...um, gift in the downstairs booth at Bar Smith one night. Camacho discusses these topics and plenty more in this week's edition of DJ Dossier.
Name: Manuel Camacho
Current gigs: The Rewind at Lost Leaf on Tuesdays. Wednesdays I'm playing downstairs at Bar Smith. I've also been spinning at Solstice Saturdays for the past four years. And when the football season starts, I'll be at The Firehouse in Scottsdale.
Preferred genres: I specialize in hip-hop, new and old, and old school disco, funk, and soul.
How did you get into the DJ game? I lived with my uncle who was a DJ and his turntables were always set up. So I would just practiced at home. I first started working in the industry as a barback at Bar Smith when I was 19. So that makes it five years because I would just watch all the DJs that would be there [and] then practice at home the following day. I'm still considered new to the game, but I can hang with the OG's.
Describe your DJ style? It's an open format style...I like to mix a little of everything together. I like playing music that I would like to hear. There are those certain songs that you know work really well but have been played out. I like to find a way to play them in a way where it's different, but not too different to where the crowd doesn't recognize it.
Who's been a mentor to you? There are multiple DJs that I've learned from. Basically anyone that I've worked with has influenced me somehow.
How do you craft an effective set? Most of my sets are on the fly. I'll just have a couple songs that I know I'm gonna play I like to feel the crowd. And go by their energy. No requests.
Anyone ever try? You always have people try. But I wasn't hired to be a jukebox. I think back in the day people would go out and listen to DJs because they loved the music that they chose. But now it seems like people think they have the right to go up and choose which song to play.
What's The Rewind all about? It's about having fun. There's no telling what kind of music you're gonna hear We have four DJs that can play all sorts of music. I like it because it gives me the chance to try out new music and different music.
Why is it called The Rewind? The "Fast Forward" was taken. Because you'll hear music so good that you'll be thinking "man, I wish the DJ would REWIND it and play it again."
What's your favorite track at the moment? There's so much to choose from but I'm currently diggin this track called "Ecstasy" that was produced by DJ Fashen who is also from Arizona. Its a couple months old and I love the fun disco feel that it has.
What other artists are working their way into your sets lately? A lot of Arizona moombahton producers such as Pickster One, Riot Earp, and Frank Mendez. They all make good moombahton music that can easily fit into any set.
What's the craziest shit you've seen at any gig? Someone left a 'surprise" in the equipment room behind the DJ booth at Bar Smith. We sill don't know who did it, or how they could just take a dump in the middle of club night. I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go.
Where else have you performed? Every now and then I play retail stores like G by Guess, Ann Taylor, and H&M.
How is that different from a club gig? Those take a little more preparation. The music has to be fun, upbeat, and super clean. At a club, I can just go on and not have to worry about the song having and swear words. But the in-store gigs need time to make playlists with all clean songs. It's mostly Top 40 that gets played at the stores. And they don't have a club-style speaker system, so you gotta watch your levels.
Are there any perks from those gigs? I haven't gotten anything personally. But the people that I've worked with there would probably hook it up with at least an employee discount. My clothes may look flashy. But you wont find them at any mall. My girlfriend and I hit up thrift stores on the weekends. And places like Buffalo Exchange usually have good deals. I don't have [anything] against malls. I just don't wanna be DJing and see someone wearing the same shirt.
Did y'all set off fireworks inside Lost Leaf during Piñata, or was it outside? We went out to the street and stuffed an actual piñata with fireworks, then set them off.
How much was left? The outside caught on fire and a hole was burned out of his butt.
Are you a graf artists as well? I did it when I was in high school. But I stopped after getting arrested back in 2007. But now I like painting and drawing at home with my son.
What were you doing when you were arrested? It was just a simple write with a marker outside of a liquor store. The cop was responding to another call at the same store so he was just there at the right time.
What sets you apart from other DJs? It has to be my knowledge of music for how young I am. There's a ton of young DJs that just buy equipment and think they can call themselves DJs. I actually put in my work and practiced at home for about a year and watched other DJs perform. I've been so lucky that I got to learn from the best Arizona has.
What do you dig about the music you spin? I like how my sets make people feel good. The best part is when I'm done and they come up to me and say "You just played all my jams from when I was in high school, thank you." That's when I feel like I've done my job right.
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