Each Wednesday Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our Nightfly tour of duty, this past weekend we headed out Vintage Lounge, a surprising venue that turned out to be more impressive than we anticipated. One of the noteworthy highlights of the night, aside from getting into a somewhat heated discussion with this guy who looked exactly like a balding Matthew McConaughhey about how he totally looked exactly a balding Matthew McConaughey, was a rock-steady performance by resident DJ Keelan.
What intrigued us most about the show was that Keelan, who has been DJing for nearly a decade now, had somehow managed to coerce what seemed like 90 percent of the women at Vintage onto the dance floor. He was like the pied piper, except some of his mice were way hot. (Others were rather mousy.)
After about eight seconds of deliberation, we decided that a man of such specific talents needed to be inducted into the always growing Artist of the Week federation. We got with Keelan a little later on to ask about what cool things a loner might say to pick up a girl, how old is too old to DJ, and how exactly he's garnered such a women-heavy audience. Aces.
Rocks Off: So you've been DJing for something like eight years right? Or, at least since you were in high school. Why'd you start? Was it because you were terrible at sports?
Keelan: Ha. No, I love playing sports. Yeah, I've been DJing for about 9 years now -started when I was 17. I'd have to say the reason I started DJing was because I was at this packed-ass rave when I was 15 or 16back when Houston had a really cool rave scene - pre transit - and I was listening to DJ Junior Sanchez and he played this Michael Jackson house remix.
I swear I had goosebumps down my whole body and everybody was dancing and jumping -there must have been at least 1000 people there. That's when I was like, I really wanna be a DJ and have everybody dancing together in sync from the music I'm playing. Great feeling.
RO: Wow. That's a much better story than we had anticipated. Do DJs hang out with each other? Like, is there a big DJ collective, or are you all loners? And if so, do you ever use that to impress girls? i.e. "You don't want to get involved with me, lady. I'm a loner. I'm married to the open roads." I always wanted to say something like that to a girl.
K: No, I don't think we DJs really hang out together, but we all know each other or have seen each other. Occasionally you will have group of DJs that work together like the the Kracker Nuttz, who I think are really good. They have been in the Houston scene for a while. I'd have to say I've been a DJ loner over the years. Never said anything like that to a girl, but I might just have to use it some time after the night is over. Just kidding.
RO: Why is it that DJs don't use vinyl anymore? Personally, we think it looks way cooler.
K: I'd have to agree with you on that. I think vinyl looks way cooler, but it's really a personal preference on what the DJ likes to use. Most DJs do use CD, but I prefer vinyl. That what I grew up on.
RO: When we saw you at Vintage Lounge doing your DJ thing, your dance floor pretty much had a monopoly on all the women in attendance. How are you able to get them all out there like that? We mean, even the girls that had no business out there were out there.
K: I think that would be my secret not to tell, but I'll give u a few tips. Girls love to hear girl singers, [everybody from] Lady Gaga to Aretha Franklln to Cindy Lauper back to The Ting Tings, etc., no matter what year or genre. Girls also love gangsta booty-shakin' rap [and] hip hop remixed music, no matter how classy they are.
RO: An interesting dichotomy.
K: I usually don't start playing that till the drinks have kicked in and it's past 12:45-1:00. Also, I get a lot of crowd interaction and if you play the songs they wanna hear they will always come back for more. It's all about them, ya know.
RO: How long do you think you'll DJ? Is there a cut-off date when it's no longer cool to be a DJ? DJ Sun has to be getting close, right?
K: Yeah, DJ Sun has been in the DJ scene for a really long time, but he is really good too.
RO: One of the best, for sure.
K: I cut and color hair professionally at Solution Salon located in the Montrose area full time. I couldn't really see myself being past 35 - which is in like, ten years - in the DJ booth with no retirement plan or future. That's just me though. It's never not cool to DJ, unless you're not mixing.
RO: Seriously, as a DJ, how much music have you downloaded illegally?
K: Lets just say if I had to pay for every song I had I would be in huge debt.
RO: When, where and for how much can people see you perform live next?
K: I'm pretty much at Vintage every Friday night and sometimes Saturday too. No cover.
Friend Keelan on Myspace via http://www.myspace.com/djstylust to get a peek at his otherwise private profile.