In 1991, U.S. Marine Gastinel White was a budding DJ who purchased his first turntables overseas. Today, DJ N.I.N.O. brings both ear and eye candy to Planet Hollywood’s Heart Bar. But more than just music, N.I.N.O. serves up his beats with a side of video, mixed live and broadcast throughout the casino Wednesday through Sunday night on more than 100 video screens—plus one jumbo screen.
You moved to Vegas because you believed it to be the DJ Capital of the World. What have you found since then?
I told myself, I’ll give myself three to five years to be a major part of the Strip, and I was three days shy of going on five years before they put my face on [Planet Hollywood’s] jumbo screen. That was the most amazing moment to me this [past] year.
Your unique performance entails you doing double-duty as disc jockey and video jockey. And not just for Heart Bar but for the entire casino. Was it hard to get up and running on such a large scale?
It was very expensive to do, but I just stayed with it. I used to talk to my friends about it and they said no, it would never be big. I took it to other casinos, and they thought people would just stand around and watch.
But Planet Hollywood believed in your vision.
Yes, and I’m loving [Planet Hollywood]. My formula was to match my video sets with my audio. I was just DJing audio to the party, and I just made my video the same way so they will dance. So I kind of broke that barrier down, and now look at it. No other casino is doing it.
You play videos that date back to when MTV actually played music videos. What’s the inspiration?
I loved the idea of video because I do my video like a concert. Most of those old-school videos, you won’t ever see those videos again, so I can actually put it on the screen, and it’s like you’re actually there, like a concert. That’s why we’re so successful with it. I treat it like that, like it’s a concert.
What artists and videos get the crowd really hyped up?
I’ve noticed the Rolling Stones, Def Leppard videos [do]—a lot of the rock stuff. Michael Jackson is probably the biggest. I have a little tribute I do for his sets. They enjoy that set more than anything.
What has been the most memorable event you’ve played?
It would have to be Demi Moore’s daughter’s [Rumer] 21st birthday here, two years ago. That was in a suite, a celebrity suite party. Bruce Willis was there. That night they didn’t want to hear any Vegas music, all they wanted to hear was Motown. I was like, “Oh! Ok, cool—easy!”
And just out of curiosity, what does N.I.N.O. stand for?
“Never Imitate No Other.” Three friends in the Marine Corps gave me the name N.I.N.O., and I took it. It works because I’m different, I don’t want to be like another DJ, or like anyone else.