Block-Rockin’ Beast

Las Vegas-based producer Chad Vicious unleashes his aggression on the floor

These days, in Las Vegas, it can be hard to keep your DJs straight. It seems like there are more DJs around than there are people who know how to play a guitar. But the former heavy-metalist and guitar-strumming rock band kid, DJ Chad Vicious (a.k.a. Chad Soares), is a DJ/producer whose sound is one of a kind. The Alaskan native moved to Las Vegas five years ago to pursue his dance-floor dreams, and spun as a resident during the glory days of Seamless Afterhours before it closed down. With a moniker inspired by Sex Pistols leader Sid Vicious and heavy sounds comparable to those of MSTRKRFT, Bloody Beetroots and a handful of Dim Mak artists, a set by Soares is made to bring out the beast while getting down to the beat.

You have this hard-hitting dirty-electro sound that no other producer in Las Vegas is making right now. How do you describe it?

I came up with the term “heavy-metal-disco,” because it’s really hard to describe it to someone who has not heard of some of the Dim Mak artists or that sound. I call it heavy-metal-disco because it’s got the heavy-metal guitar sound, really distorted synthesizers and bass lines, and it’s got this disco floor beat so it’s accessible. I like to think it’s angry and aggressive, but still accessible to your ears.

What did you listen to when you were younger that got you into this style of music?

I listened to a lot of hard rock, typical Mötley Crüe and all that. Then I heard Nine Inch Nails and it made me realize that you could have electronic music with hard sounds and it could be aggressive. You had other bands at the time like Depeche Mode, who are a great band, but not really where I was at as a kid. Nine Inch Nails was probably the turning point, and the Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up.” All that came around and opened my ears up to the harder sound of electronic music. Then Justice came out, and they changed everything. Them and the Bloody Beetroots. They changed how electronic music went from this really kind of happy sound and they brought the distortion to the dance floor.

And now a number of rock guys are beginning to DJ: Tommy Lee, the Madden brothers, even Jonathan Davis of Korn. What do you think about it?

You know, you hear the term, “Everybody’s a DJ,” and I think it’s cool. You’re always going to have a celebrity DJ—from Pauly D to whomever—but at least someone cool is doing it. I’m sure they have their unique sound, and I’m not really familiar with their DJing sounds, I’m more familiar with their band side. But at least it’s someone from a rock band doing it.

Why do you think all of these rock ’n’ roll artists have moved into the electronic scene?

Well, I guess you have people like Skrillex, who was in a rock band and now he’s producing music, [and] Tommy Lee. I was in a rock band, and now I’m producing music. There’s something that I think [electronic] producers are doing now because they’re influenced by rock. They’re moving into the dance or electronic scene. Whereas I don’t think that guys that were producing electronic music before were into anything else besides electronic music. So I think it’s appealing to more of the mainstream and rock people because the producers have dabbled in rock ’n’ roll or hard rock, heavy metal, whatever you want to call it. It’s now taking over because it’s blending a bunch of genres, it’s more than just one sound.

Definitely. And blending of genres is what our generation does a lot with music. Who are your greatest influences?

The first one that comes to mind is Trent Reznor. Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne. I know that’s kind of old school but those artists really have their own sound, like Led Zeppelin or The Beatles. Black Sabbath kind of invented heavy metal and Marilyn Manson did shock-rock and Trent Reznor is just a genius. All those people, they have a unique style and sound and push the envelope a little bit. That’s why they’re my favorite, and they still really inspire me.

Those are very unique influences coming from a DJ. You don’t hear those a lot.

It might sound really bad to say, but I can’t say that I’ve heard a [DJ] set that changed my life. It’s more when I’ve seen a rock show or I saw a movie that then made me want to take that vibe and put it into my music and my creation.