DJ Dalton Talks Success and Creating Your Sound
There are two types of DJs in the world, good ones and bad ones.
- Ones who use technology and ones who still use vinyl or CD's.
- Ones playing other peoples music and ones producing a lot of their own music.
- Those superstars touring and making gazillions of dollars and those carving out a living in local clubs and bars wishing they were superstars.
- Those Electronic Dance Music types and those Mixed Format types.
Ok, Ok there are other genres Rock, Salsa, R&B, etc. And there are people who stay true to their particular school, playing tracks from their favorite genre. But the big touring Electronic Dance Music DJs are all the rage, commanding five, six, even seven figure fees for their services, their brand. The major casinos are hiring big name for residencies or special events, charge huge fees for tables and entry. The cachet of the big EDM DJ drives casino gaming floors and helps sell the brand to the next generation of customers.
The mixed format DJs borrowing and mashing up tracks from Hip Hop to House, Rock to Pop and pretty much anything that drives the dance floor are the reason patrons consistently buy tables at clubs, casinos and resorts. The good ones like the EDM guys have transcended the term DJ and are touring Rock stars in their own right. Although, their pay scale doesn’t meet the stratosphere of the EDM boys, five figures for a Saturday night is now commonplace.
DJ/Producer Dalton Loughlin is comfortable offering it all. He is a New York City entry, whose dad was once manager of the China Club in the late 80's early 90's as well as other places in NYC, Los Angeles and Aspen. He was born into the business and the progressive music that goes with it. He bought his first turntables at 15 and toyed with them until he met DJ/Producer/Artist and all around good guy, Mark Ronson. This meeting spurred him to sneak into clubs in order to catch DJ's like Mark, Stretch Armstrong, and Kid Capri. Here, Dalton got the bug and the hobby became a career.
Now at 25 he has been on the bill with Paul Oakenfold, Carl Cox, Sasha and Digweed, Just Blaze, Swizz Beats, Puff Daddy, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, DJ Premier, DJ AM, Mark Ronson, Funkmaster Flex, Qtip, DJ Stretch Armstrong, Pete Rock and the list goes on. His gigs span across the U.S. and internationally. Dalton, along with 4AM Artist Management teammate, Ani Quinn, are now producing and have released two singles "UZI" and "BIG UP".
Nightclub Confidential caught up with young Dalton Loughlin to ask him about the industry and his success.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): How did a nice guy like you start DJing ultimately taking your success International?
Loughlin: My father ran nightclubs. Mom was a model. The 9-5 life was not normal in my household. I got a fake ID really young and started clubbing, eventually promoting teen nights then big spots. I met DJs like Ronson, Stretch and Kid Capris through various friends and was just really into what they were doing. Then, I had one of those moments where I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Deciding you want to be a DJ is one thing, learning how to DJ is another. Then you have to go through years of grinding, developing your sound and a name. That’s the hardest part. You have to stick with it and believe that you're the truth.
NCC: Recently, I've heard the expression "bottle DJ". How do you adjust your sets to a bottle buying crowd and how is that set different to what you feel your sound is?
Dalton: Bottle crowds like high energy. They like to feel like they are part of a show; hence, the lights, dancers and sparklers with bottles. You just have to keep the room moving. It becomes what can I do that’s ‘cool’ and will keep the energy up. I never play records like Call Me Maybe that are these worldwide pop one hit wonders. I avoid those at all costs. That’s the difference between a good DJ and a fake DJ to me - DJs who play the same top ten records five times in a night because the crowd likes it. My sound is my sound whether I’m playing a pool party in Ibiza or a sexy fashion week event in NYC. That’s the most important thing, you have a sound and that that sound carries through every gig you spin.
NCC: How do you get your music?
Dalton: Hours of downloading and listening through music to come up with routines and cool transitions. Endless countless hours!
NCC: Tell me about your next step?
Dalton: Next step is taking over the world. Trying to be as big as the Stones one day at a time. Always being in the studio, always working on production, every free minute you have. It’s Nonstop.
NCC: Where is the music heading? Is EDM the 800 pound gorilla in the rooms, as it seems to be, or is mixed format the true religion?
Dalton: I like where music is now. Music to me sounds exactly how it would sound if you asked someone in 1960 how music would sound in 2012. Who knows about EDM. I just like dance music and whatever falls under that category. Hip Hop, House, Reggae, Rock, Disco, Salsa, whatever... I just like where music is altogether. I hate people who don’t appreciate how music changes. You have to evolve to stay relevant in this game.
NCC: Any advice for the new guy on the block? Can a geek with a computer become Tiesto or Dalton?
Dalton: Yes you can. I am a geek with a computer. It’s hard work and just believing in yourself.
NCC: How often do you work and when you aren't working what are you doing? Or is it all the same these day?
Dalton: I work really hard. Not going to lie. I never stop.