The LA Riot

Daniel LeDisko on going solo, video games, DJ booth hijackers, and nudie pics

And then there was one. Emerging on the electronic dance music scene five years ago as one half of a duo, LA Riots founder Daniel LeDisko is rallying the dance floors alone these days. “I went solo back in August of last year,” says DJ/producer LeDisko. “It just needed to happen—I just wanted to take a different direction with everything.” Fans don’t appear to mind, and he seems to be doing just fine with stops scheduled at Wynn for his residency gigs, including next at XS on July 29.

You’re originally from New Zealand. Where’s the accent?

I’ve lived all over the States my entire life. My dad’s military, so I’m a New Zealand citizen—not giving that shit up!

Can a military dad cut loose at his son’s gigs?

Back in October, I flew my dad down to Cabo when I was playing at Nikki Beach. I arrived at this party where a bunch of people from San Diego and L.A. had flown down, too. I’m checking into the hotel and everybody comes up to me like, “Yo, I was just down at the pool with your dad, hanging out drinking!” I was like, “Oh, great.” It’s funny ‘cause Dirty South at the end of the trip is like, “I want your dad. I wish your dad was my dad.” My dad’s rad. Mom has not been because she would embarrass the shit out of me. My mom would be showing off pictures of me in the tub with my little penis out when I was 2, you know? She has no filter whatsoever.

What does she think about the world of DJing?

My mom’s Asian and has lived here for 30-plus years, but still is like fresh-off-the-boat. She doesn’t understand what I do. She thinks I’m a fucking drug dealer or something. She’ll call me, and if I’m in some weird country it’s the same conversation every time: “Hey, son. How are you?” “Good, Mom. What do you need? I’m in Singapore.” And she’ll be like, “Oh, what are you doing there?” “Uh, I’m DJing.” “They fly you all the way out there to DJ?” She doesn’t realize that I can get tattoos and do whatever I want and I’ll be good.

What did she think when you got her name tattooed on your neck?

I was telling her that I was gonna start doing my neck and she was totally opposed to it. So I was like, “I’m gonna start with her name, and she can’t be mad at it.” She was stoked.

On the music front, you recently teamed up with Manufactured Superstars for “Born to Rock.” How did that come about, and did you get to wear one of their signature astronaut suits?

That came about pretty organically. I had to live with those guys basically for a month last year on the Identity Festival tour and we’d always talked about doing stuff together. … I actually did wear an astronaut suit! I have one now!

Speaking of nerding out, are you also a gamer, being that you did a Mortal Kombat “Johnny Cage’s Theme” track?

I’m actually not, but I’ve done another video game as well, the opening theme for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. It was a song by Weezer called “Automatic.” They needed somebody to remix it.

You almost had to go all Mortal Kombat during a recent Las Vegas gig where your headphones were casualties in a scuffle?

I’m a pretty rational person—except for when douchebags are trying to DJ while I’m in the bathroom. I could hear the song stopping and starting again. Three fine young gentlemen were standing over the equipment, being douchebags. … I Instagrammed a picture of my broken headphones and had people commenting, “Oh! We can next-day-air you a pair!” I thought that was pretty rad. A friend of mine ended up going to Guitar Center, picking up a pair for me, and delivering them to me poolside!

Since Las Vegas leans heavily on big-room tunes because the tourists love familiarity, how do you maintain your sanity during a set?

I feel like dance music has gotten to the point where the stuff Tiësto or Axwell is playing is the same stuff that I’m playing. It’s a weird time to be making dance music because it’s all accepted across the board and the genres are blurred—I don’t play dubstep or moombahton—but outside of that, anything’s game. At the end of the day, I’m a DJ. And if the dance floor’s not moving I’ll flip it real quick and play something that they will get into. I’ll pepper my set with enough notable things to satisfy the crowd and to satisfy myself. It’s a balance.



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