Here Comes the Boom

A star on the rise, DJ Stellar fills us in on his skyrocketing career

You can’t call yourself DJ Stellar and not live up to the promise of that name. But Los Angeles native Dave Garcia has gone above and beyond his star-quality title. Since moving to Las Vegas six years ago, the personable DJ has made a name for himself as a resident at the most distinguished house nights such as Godskitchen and Paul Oakenfold’s Perfecto. Noted for his contagious energy, charisma and all-around positivity, when Stellar’s not snatching up new fans around the world, he’s a staple on the Las Vegas club scene. Experience the “Boom!” as Stellar calls it, when he plays with Shannon Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars and Antoine Becks on Jan. 6 at Haze.

2011 was huge for you: scoring a killer residency at Haze’s In the House Fridays (recently named Best New House Night in Vegas Seven’s 2011 Nightlife Awards), releasing a handful of tracks on Beatport and launching your own label, Calamity of Noise, in August.

It’s been a lot of work, and it’s been great to be able to collaborate with so many artists and build relationships from all over. It’s something I’ve wanted to build—a family-oriented label where it’s dealing with artists in a nonbiased way, where people can be open, communicate, give feedback, create.

What’s behind the name?

I started using “calamity” from the song from Incubus. He says, “never-ending calamity.” I remember [that] the first time I heard it, I really liked the meaning. I’ve actually had “Calamity of Noise” tattooed across my chest for the past four years. It’s funny, my name comes from Incubus as well: “Stellar.” It’s one of my favorite songs. Incubus has a lot to do with my music.

It’s a big step going from DJ to operating a record label. What pushed you to go for it?

It’s been in the works for a long time—definitely didn’t happen overnight. Just watching mentors and other guys that own labels, seeing how it opens doors and gives opportunity to work with other artists. It’s such a gateway to exploring other music.

It’s amazing you’ve launched this since you began producing on your own just a year ago. How does all of this differentiate from being solely a DJ?

Well, on the production part you’re working on it for hours, and you work to find that sound. The best is when you hit it and you know. What you get out of production is when you have other people hear it; you hope they feel what you were going for. There’s a recent song called “Porn and Chicken,” and it received over 25,000 hits in two weeks. I remember going from loving the track and having it mastered, played then just waiting, then seeing people listen to it and loving it was like taking it to another level of awesomeness. It’s like a double reward.

With the rate at which you’re going, you must have big plans for 2012.

Some amazing things are in the works, especially overseas. I’m playing Ultra [Music Festival] again, Winter Music Conference, and I just have an amazing team behind me from production to marketing. I have set a lot of goals for myself, and I’ve never been happier and content and at the same time driven. The support I have from fans locally, it’s amazing. There’s nothing better than walking into a show and seeing someone rockin’ the merchandise.

Sounds like quite the high.

I played ice hockey before I did this, and I never thought I’d have a feeling equivalent to that, like that championship feeling. Having fans, that feeling of victory, that rush you get. It’s a rush that I’m addicted to now, and I don’t know how to stop. When you produce and you’re playing something that you made and you know how it felt when you were making it, it’s an emotional roller coaster to get that out there. Then, when you play it and you see people going crazy over your track, it’s like they’re feeling what you felt when you made it. I don’t wanna do anything else. I don’t wanna stop. If the world ends in 2012, it’ll be on a good note.

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