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DJ Halo

The Foundation

Chicago. DJ Halo is 16 and working at famed record store Hip House, where it all began – the education in acid house, garage, Detroit techno, everything. Chicago’s underground loft parties inspire him to hear real Chicago house music, plus a dash of disco spun by such legendary jocks as Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy. These were the artists whose sounds formed the movement, and they made an impression. Listen close: You can still hear them in Halo’s soul-tickling, eardrum-rattling, deep rhythms today. Because of Hip House’s location just outside of downtown, the Windy City teen was able to establish contacts with visiting club industry reps that, after listening to his tapes, began hiring him to play their parties. “I started doing that more and more. And more and more people started hearing me play,” Halo says. Before he left the Midwest for the far west, he served a three-year tour of duty as an A&R with Moody Records, a period where he learned more, grew more, saw more. In a word: becoming.

Go west, young man

San Diego. Now he was traveling. Regularly. He was manning the decks in clubs from sea to shining sea, gaining experience, developing a sound. In addition, Halo and his partner, Hippie, worked together for about four years producing and DJing shows under the moniker H-Foundation, breathing in the Pacific-laced air, soaking in the California house scene, influenced as it was by the sounds of Chicago and New York. “We built up a good following and we were playing all over the world,” Halo says of his H-Foundation days. Early on during his stint in So-Cal, guys from the newly opened London-based Fabric approached him. “They were like, ‘Have you ever played Europe?’” He said he hadn’t. Soon after, Halo was in the rain-soaked city, reaching out and crucially, connecting with an unfamiliar audience. He’d found a home.

“The sound system, the staff – it was probably one of the best clubs I’ve been in,” Halo says of Fabric. Fabric offered him his first residency abroad. He accepted, and he still plays there on a bi-monthly basis.

The Heat

Las Vegas. So now Halo’s lived in three places, journeyed and spun records in many more – the UK, Europe, Australia, Asia, South America. Now he’s holding it down in Sin City’s commercialized clubland, helping to bring DJs such as Alex Alvarez, Mark Grant and many others who had heretofore never performed in the desert town. “I just brought to the table what I do and the music that I was feeling,” he says, noting that he’d helped start a successful Saturday night soiree called H.O.M.E. at the now-defunct Barcode. “It was different for Vegas. It wasn’t the typical casino-club.” During this time, Halo also continued to beef up his label, City Deep Music, which he began in 2004. Dedicated to releasing quality, cutting-edge dance music created by the finest producers, City Deep is a house oasis that worships at the altar of deep house, Afro, soul and techy rhythms – the stuff, in other words, of the beat-happy spirit that lives within us all.

Inside the crystal ball

In 2008, Halo will load up the U-Haul once again and head to San Francisco to work on a variety of projects, not the least of which will be rocking parties with David Harness. Also, he and pal/partner Kemal will release “Lift Me Up” featuring Arnold Jarvis on MN2S records as well as “Come Together” featuring Michelle Weeks on Jamie Lewis’ Purple Music. In April look out for another City Deep release: Halo’s solo project with Maiya, called “Glory.” Glory’s never really been his thing, though – the music has. His dedication to it has earned him the top spot on URB Magazine’s “Next 100,” a nomination for best DJ in 2003 at the International Dance Music Awards and top 20 recognition in BPM’s “Who’s America’s Favorite DJ” in 2003 and 2004, as well as support from a small army of DJs and producers including Louie Vegas, Mr. V, Alix Alvarez, Marques Wyatt, Aaron Ross and labels like MN2S, WestEnd, Large Music and CoCo Soul. Then there are the club gigs, which include regular appearances at L.A.’s Deep and Balance, New York’s Cielo and Chicago’s SmartBar. Halo’s house is for the soul and spirit, not the cheap and commercial. “I’ve been DJing for 19 years. And I love what I do.”

Real name
Brian Zarga
Name orgins
I got in freshmen year of high school in 1989 - was a nickname from younger and kept it as a DJ.
Current status
Performing worldwide, nationally and locally
City
Las Vegas
Years spinning
20
Genre:
House, Techno
Favorite place to listen
At Home
Favorite place to play
Fabric in London
Past gigs
Smart Bar, Chicago/'05-'07; Development, United Kingdom; End Up, San Francisco
Influences
Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder
Recommended if you like
Marques Wyatt
Sounds like
Varies: deep into energetic, depends on crowd
DJ gear
Mac Computer
Instruments
Keyboard, Piano
Label
CityDeep Music
Booking contact
Halo