DJ Loczi thinks music is the answer to our problems. Most people would agree with him on that. Music is the language that binds all cultures, subcultures and people of all different shapes and sizes. In a world where music is the unifier, the DJ has all the power. People see shows and go dancing to let loose and let day-to-day troubles slip away, and the DJ controls that. All night long. Loczi takes that responsibility seriously. He plays music that he can connect to and knows others will feel the same. His style is all over the place, with his DJ sets ranging from electro to hip hop to pop to rock and back again. Based out of Orange County, he has recently landed a gig as a resident in Las Vegas. I recently spoke with him about his approach to DJing and producing, affecting people and almost getting arrested in Mexico.
SLUG: How would you describe your musical style?
DJ Loczi: I play music that moves me emotionally. If I don’t feel it, then I don’t play it. I’m open to any genre of music because I believe there is greatness in each corner of our musical landscape. At the same time, just because it exists doesn’t mean you should play it, there is an art to playing the right tracks at the right time.
SLUG: What are some of the biggest challenges about being a DJ?
DJ Loczi: Playing tracks that move the majority of the people, the majority of the time, without losing yourself as an artist.
SLUG: What makes your sets different from other DJ’s?
DJ Loczi: I’m not afraid to take chances and really take people on a journey through genres they wouldn’t normally have exposure to in their daily life. For me, music is a celebration and I never limit myself to one style or genre throughout an entire set. In addition, I haven’t missed a show in 14 years and I show up sober and prepared to deliver my best every time I’m booked, not a lot of DJs can say that.
SLUG: What do you want people to take away from your shows?
DJ Loczi: I want people to, in some way, be inspired. Whether it’s through a song that I play or simply the energy I bring to my performance. We all need a release from our hectic daily lives and music has way of reminding us all what is important and what our dreams really are.
SLUG: What inspired you to become a DJ and start making music?
DJ Loczi: In my experience and travels, music is the only entity that can transcend any barrier put in place by culture. It can break through any wall or separation that exists between people and truly unite masses of individuals into one collected, focused and celebratory unit.
SLUG: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you as a result of being a DJ?
DJ Loczi: After 38 consecutive shows in a row, I fell asleep in a club in Mexico and got carried out by Federales that thought I had passed out from drinking too much. Luckily the owner of the club saw me on the street and saved me from going to Mexican Jail. After my set, they gave me a ride home from the gig and a year later, when I came back to play again, the same guys were in front of the club listening to my CD.
SLUG: What equipment do you use?
DJ Loczi: Live I use two Technics Turntables, a Pioneer DJM800 mixer and Serato Scratch Live with a MacBook Pro laptop. In the studio, I use a custom built MacPro Tower, Logic 9, Ableton, Reason, Recycle, Native Instrument’s Machine, Axiom Controller, Virus, Korg Triton, Prophet, 4 Moog Synths, Apogee Sound Card, Yamaha HS 80’s with Sub, Event PS6’s and tons of plug-ins, soft synths, sound manipulators as well as Sonalksis as my Mastering Suite.
SLUG: Can you explain a little bit about your process, how you choose your songs, how you craft your mixes?
DJ Loczi: It’s a relentless and tireless job searching for new music, especially now, with the heavy influx of digital music and the sheer amount of music that is released daily. It is often times a great task to dig and find those choice cuts. Needless to say, I still feel obligated to find those newest freshest songs for my audiences to share time with my own originals or remixes. My process is simple, if I hear it and it moves something inside me, then I grab it. Then I sit on it for a couple days and play it again, and if it has the same feeling it originally did then I will add it to my library, and try it out when I feel the time is right. It’s all about feeling, there is no exact science, you have to love it and you have to be willing to lose yourself in the music to truly find the correct records to share with others.
SLUG: Do you ever spin off the cuff, or are your sets mostly pre-planned?
DJ Loczi: My sets are never pre-planned, I may have a list of new tracks that I might pull from, but in all actuality I know what music goes well together and what doesn’t. Understanding your music and knowing your library is the key to being a good DJ. With that knowledge you can upload and play the perfect song, at the perfect moment, for the perfect amount of time. If you pre-plan your set you are setting yourself up for failure, because DJing is a relationship between the DJ and the people in front of them. It is reciprocal and the relationship between the two guides the musical movement throughout a set.
SLUG: Do you prefer record stores or music blogs?
DJ Loczi: I prefer record stores, there is something amazing about holding a tangible piece of music in your hand and finding that perfect track after digging for hours. In addition, record stores were a place of camaraderie for the DJ industry and it was a place where friendships were created and connections were made. Although the record stores are almost entirely a thing of the past, I really enjoyed them when they were the main source for getting your music. Nowadays, blogs are a digital version of old record stores, minus the human face-to-face interaction. There is a lot of junk on blogs and you still have to dig, but there is a community of users. Every now and then you can still find that diamond in the rough.
SLUG: How has being a resident in Vegas changed your sound or style, if at all?
DJ Loczi: I think it has helped me to become a more well rounded DJ, simply because of the melting pot of people it provides on any given dance floor on any given night. In addition, it has challenged me to be more familiar with a wider range of music considering that I often times play sets that are longer than 5 or 6 hours and I prefer to never repeat a song in a set. A lot of DJs think they can play in Las Vegas, but it’s very easy to get swallowed up by a crowd there. You have to be on your toes and ready for anything.
SLUG: What artists and DJs are paving the way in the industry right now?
DJ Loczi: I’m a big fan of Radiohead, David Gray, Ray LaMontage, Afrojack, Nero, Adele, Massive Attack, D. Ramirez, Mark Knight, Groove Armada, Thievery Corporation, Kid Cudi, Living Legends, Tech-9, Rebelution, Madd Maxx, Kadeve, Seeforyourself, Mic Rob and the Icon Collective.
SLUG: Is there anyone who you think is about to blow up?
DJ Loczi: Madd Maxx, Kadeve, Seeforyourself, Mic Rob and Through The Roots.
SLUG: Who are your biggest influences, in terms of other DJs? Why?
DJ Loczi: DJ Shadow because he’s not afraid to push boundaries. Q-Bert because he widens boundaries and Doc Martin because he showed me how to really build up a crowd and take them on a journey.
SLUG: What’s your favorite song right now?
DJ Loczi: I really like Awooga by Calvin Harris and Electric Dream by DJ Loczi and David Alexander.
SLUG: Do you have any other projects you are working on?
DJ Loczi: I’m a guest lecturer at the #1 electronic music production college, “Icon Collective” (www.learn2produce.com), I’m an official instructor for the world’s premier online DJ University (www.turntableU.com) and I am the founder and CEO of earWAX music group that has a record label, a publishing house and an entertainment division. I’m working on a remix album, a solo, fully produced, album and a new mix-cd that will be released at MGM Grand with Electric Dream.
SLUG: What would you like to accomplish in your music career?
DJ Loczi: I want to make music that connects with people on an emotional level, and I want to help others unlock and connect with their own abilities to create, for both themselves and others, in an honest and powerful way.
SLUG: What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
DJ Loczi: My beautiful family, but within the industry it has been learning how to both follow my passion and work with positive individuals that are traveling the same path, communicating on the same plane, having dreams and passions that correlate with my own. The music industry can be treacherous, so I am proud of navigating the waters enough to be surrounded by some of the most intelligent, positive, genuinely good hearted, hard working, happy people in the industry. I am able to support my family through my passion and I wake up everyday grateful for the opportunity to do what I love, for and with the people I love. –Jessie Wood