We remember club nights in the ’80s when a visionary DJ like Mike Messex or Matt Dike would rock the Grease soundtrack next to AC/DC next to Eazy-E. Finally, after all these years, that kind of organic eclecticism has truly taken hold of L.A.’s dance floors. Whether it’s due to downloading or the disco-punk fad, or new DJ computer programs like Serato and Final Scratch, the gap between hip-hop, Top 40, indie rock and even classic metal is being bridged. (No more separate clubs or even rooms to segregate the rockers from the hip-hoppers!) In the process, DJs are creating a bona fide nightlife phenom. Here, some of our L.A. faves.
DJ AM: Celeb connects and Crazy Town affiliations aside, DJ AM (a.k.a. Adam Goldstein) earns fat gig fees with intricate mixes displaying inventive mashing skills on sounds ranging from hip-hop crowd pleasers to more adventurous prog-rock jams. “Playing one format of music for four hours gets old!” he says, adding, “There’s a dry spell in new music, to me. There aren’t enough good [new] records to fill up that much time without some oldies-but-goodies.”
Mix Snip: The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”; Run-DMC, “It’s Tricky”; Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child o’ Mine”; Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Boogie Nights: Club LAX (which he co-owns) and Pure in Las Vegas
STEVE AOKI: Don’t hate him because he’s everywhere. Aoki (a.k.a. Kid Millionaire) has prospered for a reason: Dude knows what people like and he gives it to them, often. “Indie-rock kids like hip-hop too,” Aoki says. “They just don’t want to have to be around a bunch of cologne guys to hear it. Match the bpm and the energy, and you can mix almost any style of music together.”
Mix snip: Madonna, “Hung Up”; Franz Ferdinand, “Do You Want To” (Erol Alkin remix); Bloc Party, “Helicopter” (Weird Science mix); Kanye West, “Gold Digger” (Diplo remix)
Boogie Nights: Cinespace, Tuesdays (which he co-promotes with Franki Chan, below); Hot Lava at LAX on Saturdays, and, soon, at the Spider Club, Fridays
SAMANTHA RONSON: “I grew up on rock & roll,” says Ronson, queen of the decks at promoter Brent Bolthouse’s soirees. “I probably got into hip-hop after Biggie died, and it’s been a natural progression from there.” Indeed, Ronson (whose bro is mashup whiz Mark Ronson, and whose dad was the late Mick Ronson) has a grasp of multifarious rhythmic sensibilities and musical eras, and often sneaks in random goodness like Journey and Rick Springfield.
Mix Snip:Jay-Z, “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me)”; Neptunes, “Can I Have It Like That”; Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”; Modest Mouse, “Float On”
Boogie Nights: Mood, Wednesdays; Privilege, Saturdays; Teddy’s, Mondays
FRANKI CHAN: Chan started by spinning rap to the tatted rockers at Fucking Awesome at Beauty Bar and never looked back. “It was subversive to like mainstream hip-hop in that scene,” he says. “Now people don’t care, they just want to have fun, especially when they’re drunk at 1 in the morning.”
Mix Snip:Missy Elliott, “Lose Control”; the Rapture, “House Jealous Lovers”; Salt-N-Pepa, “Push It”; AC/DC, “You Shook Me All Night Long”
Boogie Nights: Cinespace, Tuesdays, and a new night coming in March
DJ MORTY: Morty’s not new to this: His long-running, musically mixed dance party on Tuesdays at Canter’s Kibitz Room was the stuff of party legend. “Now that hip-hop is the mainstream it can start to stretch out and get adventurous. It doesn’t need to prove itself anymore,” he says. “It just needs to remain relevant and interesting. The same thing happened to rock & roll in the late ’70s.”
Mix snip: Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”; A Tribe Called Quest, “Can I Kick It?”; the Floaters, “Float On”; Modest Mouse, “Float On”; U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”; Kanye West, “Jesus Walks”
Boogie Nights: Dragonfly, Sundays, with the Spazmatics; Privilege Centerfold, Tuesdays; Privilege Garage, Fridays
More Beat-Bashers: Z-Trip, Danger Mouse, Kev E Kev, Adam 12, Stone Rokk (Vanguard), Squeek E Clean (Teddy’s), DJ Vice (LAX), Mark B (Nacional), DJ Splyce (Cabana Club), Josh Glazer (Panaramic Friday at Cinespace).