Technology has made it possible for pretty much anybody to be a DJ. But though Traktor, Serato, and the rest of the gizmos available to the budding spin superstar might make it easy to keep the beat, no software in the world will ensure the beat will be happening. For that, you need talent, and talent cannot be bought at Best Buy.
Beyond technology and talent, however, there's a little thing called drive. And with legions of DJs lurking in every nightclub corner, it's the ones who are most driven who will take their rightful place in the booth — and stay there.
Among Miami's few truly driven DJs is Troy Kurtz. In less than two years, the Vero Beach native has set himself apart from the rabid pack of wannabes. His place in the scene has him poised to completely take over the night — or at least those nights he hasn't taken over already.
Much of Kurtz's swift success can be attributed to the gang known as Overthrow. It was at Heathrow Lounge where he first hooked up with future Overthrow leaders Alexis Mincolla and Stian Roenning for a party called Autoerotic. And it was also at Heathrow where the world got its first listen to what would become his trademark adventures in sound.
From Heathrow, Kurtz swung into Bella Rose, where he got to go where few new DJs had gone before — wherever he wanted. In Kurtz's case, that's a bass-heavy, genre-hopping spin through a galaxy that's as lit up by the latest in Euro as it is brightened by the most traditional disco. In other words, it's the kind of frenzy that takes stock of the ages and then pushes things straight over the edge.
"Those Saturday nights at Bella Rose were wild," Kurtz says. "I got to throw everything I had at the dance floor, and the crowd caught it all." In fact, so wild were those Saturday nights that the burgeoning Overthrow gang soon tapped Kurtz to also spin the infamous Black Sundays party at the same venue. By then, that party was bedlam, and Kurtz delivered the perfect soundtrack to its weekly faux murders. From then on, there was no turning his back on anything.
As a charter member of the Overthrow Army, Kurtz is now called on to man the decks wherever and whenever the gang is taking another stand. That means the recurring Psychorama party at Bar, where he spins everything "from Slayer to Johnny Cash to old disco." And it means the monthlies with Poplife at Grand Central, where he's as likely to drop tracks by Duck Sauce or the latest from the label Made to Play as he is to slam M.I.A.'s just-out "Stepping Up" or Yolanda's "We No Speak Americano."
But those aren't the only high-profile deck gigs on Kurtz's calendar; he's also spin-man at La Fee Verte's new steampunk burlesque night, where Weimar Republic-style decadence meets tech-house. And just last week, he took his spin to Space, which is surely the sign he's become someone with whom to contend.
In addition to all of that club action, there's his blog, Gotta Dance Dirty, which Kurtz runs with a gang from L.A. and which enjoys a top spot on Hype Machine's "Most Followed" list. Then there's the remix/live DJ duo TKO (with Damaged Goods), an A&R spot with the soon-to-launch Overthrow Records. Then, if we're lucky, there's a making-of-a DJ series called Spun — starring Josh Lekach, AKA Pocket Change — whose pilot has already been shot.
Still, it is the spin that remains at the core of Kurtz's career, a career that would never have come about without a diabolical dose of drive. That's something all of you up-and-coming DJs might want to consider the next time you're shopping at Best Buy.
Troy Kurtz's personal top five songs:
1. "Tannhauser/Derive," Refused
2. "Suffragette City," David Bowie
3. "Waiting Room," Fugazi
4. "War Pigs," Black Sabbath
5. "Fire," Prizna feat. Demolition Man