DJ Pauly D Talks "Beat Dat Beat (It's time To)", Touring with Britney Spears, Mixing Hip Hop and House Music, Vegas, "GoodFellas", and More
Wed, 10 Aug 2011 10:37:33
"Music is where my heart's at," smiles DJ Pauly D while en route to the next date of his opening stint on Britney Spears' Femme Fatale tour.
On MTV's Jersey Shore, it's clear music remains Pauly DelVecchio's deepest passion. He's always got his "wheels of steel"—turntables—with him, and his appreciation for the art comes across palpably whether he's actually spinning or even just discussing his next gig.
Something of a sonic mixologist, Pauly D seamlessly integrates a hip hop bounce into kinetic house beats, constructing a new paradigm for electronic music. He's not afraid to slide a classic rock cut in there either, and that makes him unpredictable, unique, and utterly undeniable. Pauly D is the ultimate modern DJ, embracing the past but ushering in the future.
His first original track "Beat Dat Beat (It's Time To)" even showcases his personality and sense of humor, making for an explosive introduction to this style. Asses shake and hands go up in the air as soon as he hits the stage, and it's always a good time.
DJ Pauly D sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about his style, touring with Britney Spears, GoodFellas quotes, and so much more.
How do you construct a DJ set? Is it premeditated or all live?
There's one thing I've never done since day one, and that's make a DJ set. I never will. I don't believe in it. What I do is I keep current on music. I constantly go through music and have different mixes. Then, I'll bring it all with me. I'm literally carrying tons of music, and I play to the crowd. Once I see the crowd, I'll know exactly what I'm going to play and what they're feeding off of. I'll play one banger, and I'll study the reaction to that. Whether they're feeding off of hip hop or house music, I'll lean more towards that angle. Once you own the crowd, you can throw in something else a little bit later.
How do you know the audience digs what you're spinning?
You can tell. If they don't look bored, they'll be dancing and their hands will be up. You own them because you're on the microphone saying, "Alright, I need everybody's hands in the air" and they're participating with you. You hear their reaction when you actually drop the song though. That's when you know you've got them. Once you get them to that point, you can literally play anything, and it works.
Which genres mix most seamlessly for you?
My favorite thing to do is to put a little bit of hip hop with house music because it caters to the biggest crowd. However, I don't have a problem adding a little rock in there too with a dance beat since that brings back memories for people. In case it's a younger crowd and they might not know the rock song, they'll still dance to it as it has that beat. It all caters to that wide variety.
Which rock songs will you drop in?
I've got this mix with Bon Jovi songs like "Shot Through The Heart". I'll mix that in there because it's such a classic, but you have to play that at the right moment or else you'll lose the crowd. You don't want to lose them with a song either. You want to get them singing it. You'll know by their feedback how they feel.
What are some other go-to tracks?
There are definitely the go-to songs. That includes some older stuff and dance mixes. Stuff like Usher's "Yeah" will always bring the audience back. Or even Fatman Scoop whenever he's doing any of his songs where he's hyping the track. That gets the mood up if you're losing them. Then there's Beyoncé's "Single Ladies". You can't ever go wrong with the pop artists [Laughs].
Do you feel like "Beat Dat Beat (It's Time To)" was a declaration of who you are as a DJ?
That's exactly what its purpose was, and the fact that you got it means a lot. I wanted that song to be a representation of me. People sometimes don't know what we do. They don't know the music, what it is, and what it's about. I think that song, in a nutshell, quickly sums it up. It gets the mood going with that catchy beat and the tones.
There's a sense of humor to it as well.
That's important! You've got to have personality. That's what captures the audience as well. If they see you up there, you're smiling, you're beating up that beat, you're singing the song, and it's funny, they're going to want to do it too because it's a good vibe. It's not a real serious focused thing. You want to be personable. Your personality comes out through your music.
Are you working on another solo track?
I'm working on another original. I want to put out some albums, but I want to do something like "Beat Dat Beat" too. I have no idea when it's going to come out. It's been crazy busy with filming, but I do want to do it soon.
Which DJ influenced you the most?
My mentor has always been DJ AM. I liked his style. It was open format like my style. The remixes he would make would blow my mind. I'd constantly watch his YouTube videos. I've seen him live a bunch of times. He'd own the crowd, and I always wanted to do that. That residency in Vegas has always been a dream of mine. He passed away during the filming of Season 1 of Jersey Shore, and I was devastated when I found out. It was a crazy moment because I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I dreamed of DJing in Las Vegas at Rain, and I'm kind of doing that now.
Where else do you gather inspiration outside of music?
I'm big into Entourage. I love that show! I like The Sopranos. I also like GoodFellas. I incorporate that stuff into my mixes too. I'll take little sound bites from the movies. I'll throw in a cue point. I've got a sampler, and I'll drop those in throughout the night. It's funny to mix those in and get the crowd going.
What's your favorite GoodFellas quote?
Henry Hill [Ray Liotta] goes like this, "Pauly might've moved slow, but it's only because Pauly didn't have to move for anybody" [Laughs]. I drop that and the crowd goes crazy. Because I'm Paul too, it's nuts! I use all of the quotes where the mention my name [Laughs]. The audience gets a kick out of it.
Has there been a favorite moment so far on Femme Fatale tour with Britney Spears?
It was my first time ever touring with an act like this. I went and did my thing in Boston. That was my first event. I did a 35-minute set, and the crowd went bananas. It was just insane. They got out of their seats and were screaming. I thought it was amazing. After the concert was done, I was with Nicki Minaj and she said never in her whole entire career had she heard an opening act get that kind of response from a crowd. She was in her dressing room, and she heard the response. She didn't know what it was, but she thought, "That has to be my boy Pauly D." She ended up watching my entire set, and she tweeted that I killed it. To me, that was amazing to hear that from her. This has been the most awesome moment for me so far.
Do you have a favorite pair of sneakers?
I do have one favorite pair of kicks! They're called my "Marge Simpsons" [Laughs]. They're yellow, green, and blue. I call them my "Marge Simpsons" because they match her color scheme, her hair, and her skin [Laughs]. They're Nike Dunks.
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