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DJ 88 on female DJs, dumbed-down music and open format’s rise

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Bree DeLano, also known as DJ 88, is a resident DJ at Insert Coin(s), as well as the venue’s entertainment and marketing director.
Saeed Rahbaran
Jorge Labrador

Calendar

Insert Coin(s)' Two-Year Anniversary
With Nadastrom, Phoreyz, Dave Fogg, Cutso, Charlie Darker
April 12, 10 p.m.
Insert Coin(s), 477-2525

After a stint in music management and production, Bree DeLano got her start as an open-format DJ in LA. Today, DJ 88 has been going strong for 10 years, seven of which have been in Las Vegas. She’s also entertainment and marketing director—and a resident DJ—at Insert Coin(s), which celebrates its second anniversary this Friday.

How is the Downtown Las Vegas scene treating you? It’s been one of the best experiences of my career, hands down. I’ve been able to book DJs and artists that may not be able to play the Strip, because it just doesn’t fall within that, you know, sort of one-dimensional lane that a lot of the larger nightclubs need to stay in to pay the bills and attract an audience of tourists. There are a lot of music lovers in Las Vegas who want to experience something different, and a lot of the DJs and artists we’ve had at IC, there’s no way they’d be able to play any of those rooms—they’re just too big.

How’d your recent video shoot go? It was nice to do something creative like that. It was an artsy film-noir black-and-white thing for one of the mixes I did. Very cool to create something visually that goes along with the mix. It complements it perfectly. It was time for me to get something shot that shows why my brand is different from other DJs and other female DJs.

What do you mean when you specify “other DJs and other female DJs”? Well, I’m a DJ ... I just so happen to be a female. I’m not soapboxing about some bra-burning sh*t right now, but people always tend to put [female DJs] in a completely different category. A lot of female DJs are just straight-up marketing, sort of just actresses. There are a handful of really great ones, but not many that are as versatile as I would like. But there are a lot of sh*tty guys out there, too. Just because the market has become so over-saturated and it’s so easy for anybody to call themselves a DJ and/or get booked to DJ depending on who they know.

Every day there are new subgenres, so to be a true open-format DJ, you have to be really strong in all categories. “DJ” is a word that’s been diluted quite a bit ... Vegas is probably responsible for a lot of that just because of the nightclub scene.

And why is that happening? The art has sort of been dumbed-down with easy access to technology, the Internet, and music being so easily accessible, and the allure that comes with being a DJ and how nightlife has sort of turned DJs into celebrities. Everybody wants to be one now. There are a lot of DJs that have come out of the incubator way too soon, without putting in the work.

So, an up-and-coming open-format DJ doesn’t want to end up a hack. How do they earn their stripes? It’s a matter of putting yourselves in the right company and studying and figuring out what you want your individual style to be. Being a true open-format DJ is a difficult task, and it takes years and years to get to the point where you feel like you can tackle any kind of room. I really believe that it’s going to slowly but surely start equaling the popularity EDM has in nightclubs.

There’s going to be a change coming soon. It’s not all house music anymore. Those people that are open format, or want to be, need to step it up right now, because it’s going to be go-time soon. It’s a science; you study it, you learn it and you love it.

Listen to DJ 88 at mixcrate.com/dj88sincity.

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