Jay Lujan is fast becoming a local DJ success story. He's opened for countless big-name DJs and EDM superstars like Wolfgang Gartner and Fedde Le Grand, played last year's Groove Cruise Los Angeles and recently toured the country in support of his annual compilation CD, This Is Lujanic.
On top of planning local shows, getting things in order for the next Groove Cruise Los Angeles and playing the latest Wet Electric next month, Lujan will be representing the local dance music scene this weekend at Winter Music Conference in Miami.
For those who might be unfamiliar, the WMC is the EDM world's most influential industry conference that's held every year in the Magic City also includes the influential Ultra Music Festival, Miami Music Week, and the International Dance Music Awards. It's a "Who's Who" of world-renowned DJs, beatsmiths, producers, mixmasters, and other EDM movers and shakers. In other words, the sort of place where an up-and-comer like Lujan would want to be seen.
This year's version kicked off on March 21 and runs through Sunday, and the 28-year-old has been in Miami gearing up for the gigs he's booked for the event.
It's been a hectic experience, to be certain, but nothing that Lujan isn't unfamiliar with. Organizing a gig, no matter how big or small, has many interconnected parts that all rely on each other, which can make the process a bit hectic and seemingly disorganized if a person isn't self-motivated and able to create structure for themselves.
As an employee of local EDM promoter Relentless Beats, however, Lujan is adept at the ability to network and stay on top of opportunities he wants to make happen. It helped him land a few coveted set times at Miami-area clubs during WMC 2014.
"[I'll] try to maximize my opportunities while I'm there," says Lujan.
Planning for WMC this year began in the fall, during the release of his 2013 comp This Is Lujanic. He knew he wanted to organize a mini tour for 2014, and music being an "it's all about who you know" industry, had Lujan scrolling through his contacts, seeing which cities he has connections in and where he could maximize his know-who. Miami, was one such place, he says, including contacts like George Acosta and the owners of influential label Sleeping Giant Music.
He initiated the idea of playing some of their events and has been in the works ever since, attempting to finalize set-times and press out the logistics. He landed two gigs as of this past Monday, both at South Beach lounge Delancey's. The first went down on Wednesday, while the second takes place during the George Acosta WMC Takeover on Friday, March 28. As DJs drop out and changes continue to happen, there are talks that Lujan may be able to book more events this weekend.
The hectic, last minute nature of WMC really ties into the idea that the event is all about opportunity for amateurs.
"The first year I went to WMC I played a party at Nikki Beach, we ended up getting a few extra spots because a DJ showed up late," Lujan says. "Sometimes it's just about being at the right place at the right time, and getting gigs right there."
Lujan has played WMC four times before, as well as once at Ultra. It's a wild time he says and you never really know who you will run into during the event.
"Last year I was going into a hotel to have a dinner with Ferry Corsten and his manager, then I saw Afrojack and Paris Hilton walk out," Lujan says.
With almost everyone in the industry in attendance, whether you're at a club or grabbing food, opportunities to network can really happen anywhere.
"Sometimes you do your best networking when you're partying with people," says Lujan.
As far as preparing music for his gigs, Lujan notes that he tries to apply the local sound to the music he chooses.
"They have a specific sound down there, a lot of tech house and deep house," Lujan says. "So I try to keep that Miami vibe as I look for music for my sets."
Lujan has been in the studio the last few weeks producing original music, but says his music is not quite performance-ready, and he wants to wait until he's "perfected" his sound before he releases it.
In the meantime, he'll be prepping for his set tomorrow and probably getting in some major raging, considering WMC is one of the biggest EDM fiestas in the world. And he might grab a bit to eat, if he can find time.
"It's very easy to forget to eat when people are raging their faces off," Lujan says. "It's definitely helpful to eat."
As for those burgeoning DJs looking to make the most of WMC, he offers plenty of advice, including staying hydrated, resting whenever possible ("Good luck with that one"), and networking like a mofo.
"If you are an upcoming artist, meet and have fun with as many people in the industry as you can," Lujan says. "Share some drinks, have a good club night, Gather contact info, again stay in contact and a good rule of thumb is to always offer any and all help you can to the people you meet long before you ask for something from them."
Oh, and enjoy the music too.
"For the spectator there for fun, in order to get the most out of the WMC experience you should branch out from the clubs and artist you know and check out new artists and parties," he says. "There is sooo many great new artists and sooo much brand new music there."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.