Small in stature, big in bass, Miami dance music legend DJ Craze chats with New Times about new projects, the rise of dubstep, and how killing the dance floor is the truest form of safe sex. He plays White Room on Saturday, at Embrace's Arcade party.
DJ Craze. Saturday, January 9. White Room, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $10 in advance, at wanttickets.com/embrace. Ages 18 and up with ID. 305-995-5050; whiteroommiami.com
New Times: You've declared 2010 the year of Slow Roast. What exactly are you cooking for us over there, Craze?
Craze: Slow Roast is the record label that Jake (Kill the Noise) and I started. We've got big things planned this year. We'll be releasing the Kill the Noise album, and we're working with artists such as Señor Stereo, 12th Planet, Flinch, and Klever. And of course I'll be releasing my productions. I used to be mad shy about my music. But I'm getting comfortable in my production, and I'm going to bust my ass this year.
You take pleasure in partnering up with other artists to bring us dance floor killers. Are there any collaborative treats we can expect to hear soon?
Ash Rock and I are finishing a remix of ¡Mayday!'s new release, "They Told Me." I'm going to introduce it this Saturday at the White Room and see how it goes down.
You're well known for your background as a heavily decorated turntablist. Are there any plans for a comeback in the DMC World DJ Championships?
It takes a lot of time to come up with original ideas for a competition; I would need to lock myself in the studio for a couple of months. And I'm in a different part of my journey now. But sometimes I see somebody new, and I get that feeling in my stomach where I just want to battle. If the right situation presents itself, I'll do it. Heh, I sound like a boxer and shit.
Some people say that besides your wizardry on the decks, you've got that magic touch. What do you attribute your longevity to in an industry that is often so unstable?
I follow what I like; I never pay attention to what people expect from me. I get into something new every year, but it's not like I'm trying to reinvent myself. I've told my 10-year-old that you need to find something that you love. Wake up every day knowing you are going to have fun. Longevity is what you make of it. If you want to stay in something, then simply do it and make it work.
Speaking of your daughter Angie, I hear you are teaching her how to spin. Is she determined to follow in daddy's footsteps?
She thinks it's the coolest thing in the world. I'm not pushing it on her, but she shows a lot of interest. It doesn't matter how old you are. We live in the future, and Angie is so tech-savvy.
So there's a chance we'll see her as part of the Slow Roast crew one day?
(Laughs) That would be a dream. Shit, I'm going to start visualizing that.
You're often bouncing all over the world as a club DJ. How do you balance such a heavy touring schedule and a family?
It truly makes me grateful for what I have. I get to travel and miss them and appreciate them more when I come home to Miami.
What else do you miss about Miami while touring?
Every time I land in Miami, I crave fritanga. That's the first thing I want to do -- get some Nicaraguan food.
What's your spin on the evolution of music these days? Is there anything that's snuck up on you?
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Music in general is changing so much every year, especially electronic music. I see how dubstep is making a big move in Miami, and the attendance at the events is insane. It seems as if it's filling the void left by breaks and drum 'n' bass after those two scenes became "uncool." People suddenly looked around and thought, "We're not down with all this crazy-cool, hipster shit; we're not really into all this main-room, house shit." So, boom, dubstep. I never thought I would get into it like I am, but it has that new excitement to it.
I can't imagine what that experience must be like, when an entire room goes insane for a sick track.
When you play that right track, when you've just switched everybody's emotion, when the crowd is simultaneously loving life ... that vibe hits you dead on. I don't want to get all nasty and dirty, but it feels like you're nutting. It's such a happy adrenaline rush and nobody can fuck that up.
-- Nicole Cussell