By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
After ejecting DJ Shadow from the booth for being "too future," Mansion hasn't been on the best terms with the underground. But the South Beach nightclub's newest import should bring a smile to the face of even the most discerning EDM aficionado.
Local heavy-hitter DJ Craze, a repeat New Times' Best of Miami offender and six-time DMC World DJ champion, will take over the decks with a new monthly residency kicking off this Friday. And though he's prepared to play by the rules, he's not turning the "future" down for nobody.
New Times: Congrats on the residency. How did it come about?
DJ Craze: One day my manager asked me: "Hey, would you like to spin at Mansion?" And I was just like, "Sure, why not?" And then the first time I spun, I think I did well. I did my thing, and I made sure to play my kind of set and cater to their crowd a little bit but still give them my flavor, y'know? I think they liked it 'cause I was doing something different, but I was still keepin' them locked. I was doing me, and I had the place going crazy. So the club hit up my manager and just offered the residency.
You were winning DMCs more than a decade ago. What's it like to be a master turntablist amid bottle-service VIP?
With Mansion, it's not a place for the trickery and all that craziness. That's more for, like, Grand Central, where the crowd is more into the DJ's DJ instead of just the atmosphere. When I go into Mansion, I'm thinking, How the hell do I get these club motherfuckers crunker? It's not like, How do I show off more? Of course, I'm showing off. I show off with my DJing. But I'm thinking more like, How do I get this shit poppin' poppin'? I think that at every club, but it's different at a bottle club.
So how do you do it?
Playing big tunes and fuckin' killing it with the vibes, with the energy level. You feel me? Making sure I'm not playing the wrong stuff. That's a challenge in itself. That's what people always complain about. "Oh, I hope you don't get kicked off." I would never get kicked off 'cause I know what to play and when to play it.
So what's your favorite part of Mansion as a venue?
It's Miami at its fuckin' finest. First of all, being home, not having to travel. That's the other thing why I picked the residency. I like being home on a Friday and not just on a plane. The venue treats me well; they show me mad love. And for me, it's a challenge to play one of those Top 40, bottle-service clubs. It really is. People don't get it — they're like, "What do you mean it's a challenge?" Yo, in my environment, I know what the fuck I'm doing and I know it's fucking easy for me. But put me in that situation and I have to work to keep these motherfuckers' attention on me. It's a challenge. I like it.
This is your first big residency in Miami. Think more people might recognize you in the club and attack?
Nah, I just think this is going to open up a new fan base for me. Throughout the years, I've changed my style a lot, and it's been hard for a lot of people to stay fans of mine because they always get pissed off that I'm not playing what they grew up listening to, watching me and shit. So this is opening another kind of crowd for me.
You'll get a whole bunch of new haters.
Exactly! A whole bunch of new haters.