‘No Requests’

Getting to know S.K.A.M. Artist Gusto

Driving around Las Vegas, you’ve possibly noticed the bold black billboards for LAX, advertising resident headliner Gusto. But we wanted to get to know a bit more about the 31-year-old San Francisco-born, L.A.-bred Gustavo Mejia, who now calls Las Vegas home. Thanks to his S.K.A.M. Artist management company, Gusto juggles a busy schedule of gigs that typically includes LAX on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Pure on Thursdays, plus Wet Republic and Venus during pool season. And Gusto still manages to churn out original productions for Robbie Rivera’s Juicy Music label and recently joined the iHeartRadio team.

What was it like to see your face on billboards for your residency?

That caught me by surprise. I was heading into work and I saw this billboard right there by the Luxor, and I was like, “Whoa! Whoa—how did this happen?” I told my mom about it, she drove over here, and—being a mom—she started crying and taking pictures of it and sending it to family members and all that, so that was cool.

Clubbers might not realize yet that you’re quite the producer. Your track “Crank,” for example, has a good floor-filler vibe to it. How often do you work your originals into your sets, and do you know of other DJs who have your tracks in rotation?

It’s hard for me to play my own stuff. I tend to stay away from it because I’ve heard it so much. I’m weird like that, I don’t know why. Laidback Luke—good friend of mine—he’s been playing a lot of my stuff for a while now, and then Robby Rivera, Tony Arzadon and DJ Vice—another good friend of mine.

How did the “No Requests” party concept at LAX come about?

At first I did it just as a joke. It bothered me when people would come up to the booth and just shove their phone in my face with their requests.

Or they try to sing it to you.

Oh, yeah, that. Or “Hey, can you play that one song?” “Which one?” “Oh, you know, the one that goes like this.” Or “Hey, can you play something we can dance to?” Everybody else is dancing, and it’s like, “Dude, are you serious?” I started making stickers, and a buddy of mine, Jansen from City [Legends Clothing], was like, “Dude, I want to put out a shirt, collab with you.” So that’s what we ended up doing, and my DJ friends were supporting it. They were wearing them out. And some of the servers and porters like them as well.

Poking around on your S.K.A.M. Artist profile, you’ve said that you’re addicted to eBay. What do you look for?

I like collecting vinyl figures.

Like Kidrobot kinda stuff?

Yeah, like Kidrobot, Koz, Be@rbrick stuff. It’s not like in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, but I have a bunch of Be@rbricks around my studio, all these vinyl figures.

That online profile is pretty revealing. So, did Gilbert Arenas ever pay you back that dollar that he borrowed from you in the 11th grade?

[Laughs.] No! He still owes me! It was for a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos.

The school day Lunch of Champions, right?

Man, I wonder how much interest is on that thing right now.