The Nicaraguan-born, Miami-bred super DJ who runs Slow Roast Records with Kill the Noise, DJ Craze, lives right here in the 305. During the week, at least. On the weekends, he's traveling from Vegas to Manila, doing what it takes to keep massive crowds of party people dancing.
Recently, administrators at SAE Institute, a recording school in North Miami Beach, asked him to provide a demo before answering a few professional and personal questions asked by a room full of wannabe DJs and tech nerds. The students were better prepared than an audience in the White House Briefing Room. All guys, one girl, they knew how to get down to the dirt. Forget being disc jockeys, they need to be reporters.
"I always switch it up," DJ Craze said after playing one of his new disco-house tracks. Known for drum 'n' bass and dubstep, this is a foray into a new arena. Noting that he's "bassed out," Craze says he's "happy doing this happy shit," meaning disco-influenced, house music. And he admits to playing anything -- short of Gaga -- that'll keep the clubbers dancing. Then he stops, reconsiders, and thinks he might have even dropped some Gaga already. "I'm there to please the people."
He talked about Slow Roast, which is promoted and distributed through A-Trak's Fool's Gold. They have a Hogcast instead of a podcast. And he's been recording this week with New York DJ Codes, who he met through Danny Daze. Once Craze heard Codes' song "Dying" at WMC 2010, he couldn't get it out of his head.
Because he's mastered so many genres of electronic music, Craze finds that his crowd often is divided into different factions expecting different things from him. Some want drum 'n' bass and some want house. When talking about making different kinds of music under different monikers, Codes says, "When you're Craze, you can do whatever the fuck you want." But admits that if you -- you, not Craze -- want to play house and make dubstep, it's better for your career to have separate names.
Craze grew up DJing, practicing, by his estimate, eight or nine hours a day. He only had a TV and turntables in his room. He says he still downloads music everyday, and adds, "legally."
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He's releasing his new single "Dance Alone" on vinyl, probably a limited edition. Because of his work with Native Instruments and a new beat he created, he says they might make him a plug-in called a Crazeroni. Joking? Let's hope not. The students grilled him on using a synch button when DJing. He's still making his own music, but says it takes too long to mix live.
On what's up next for electronic music? Craze thinks it's going to be moombahton. When he plays it in the clubs, it's clear to him that the genre "appeals to the ladies."
You just might see Craze on Master of the Mix. Although he was about to appear as part of the reality show last season, he'd stopped drinking and the producers said forget it. Now that he's drinking again, it just might be a possibility. Either way, this Braddock grad is busy enough making Miami look good all around the world.