Sound It Out

The under-the-radar DJ who has Las Vegas seeing double—introducing Phoreyz


After nine years as the Get Back’s First Friday resident and, recently, two years of challenging himself with more mainstream weekly sets at Insert Coin(s), one of Downtown’s best-kept secrets is heading for the Strip: DJ Phoreyz is the newest addition to the DJ lineup at the Ling Ling Lounge in Hakkasan.

Unlike many of today’s young, connected and privileged DJs who have had residencies thrust upon them (ready or not), Phoreyz is one of a handful of seasoned vets whose versatility and persistence have granted them relevancy that far surpasses the latest sub-genre fad DJ. They are ninjas in the booth, and their ability to adapt to any situation and win over any type of audience make them invaluable to nightclub owners, no matter the fleeting music trends.

Phoreyz’s flexibility and a well-timed introduction to the Get Back’s founder John Doe prompted an invite for Phoreyz (real name Eric Ballesteros) to join the Get Back’s esteemed DJ ranks. Coming up on its 11-year anniversary October 4, the Get Back has become a Downtown staple for feel-good music fans thirsting for funk and soul in Las Vegas. And for this N.Y.-born, L.A.-raised DJ/producer, his participation in that scene is nothing short of organic considering his musical influences growing up.

Phoreyz’s father—a guitar player and “tech geek”—would let his son use his super-charged stereo system to record radio shows by renowned New York DJs such as Kool DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack and the Latin Rascals, a cassette collection he still boasts about having. “Music was always playing in my house growing up,” he says. “From the Beatles to surf rock to Earth Wind & Fire to the Soulsonic Force. I basically grew up in a roller rink on the weekends from a very young age—probably not the safest thing, but it did mold and shape my musical tastes and versatility as a DJ.”

Speaking from a DJ’s standpoint, when Phoreyz commands a room he is genuinely exciting to listen to, and what separates him is his dedication to the art of mixing live blends. A Phoreyz set is flooded with “Ohhhhhh!!!” moments, and consists of rare genre-blending remixes and edits, many of them his own and things most DJs wouldn’t dare to mix together.

“I’m very lucky to be able to play at a spot on the Strip that lets me do me, and they’re happy with it,” Phoreyz says. “I wouldn’t say it differs from Get Back or Insert Coin(s), but is more of a combination of both: I can play anything, from funk, reggae and soul to anything considered mainstream that I’m into. Like with any open-format room, the bottom line is reading the crowd and gaining their trust so that you can create great energy in the room.”

Constantly downplaying his unique good looks courtesy of Filipino and Italian parents, Phoreyz has a distinctly understated style both in and out of the DJ booth, and his sense of humor and approach to music is often satirical. A record collector since the age of 12, Phoreyz hadn’t intended to follow in the footsteps of his brother, acclaimed Los Angeles radio DJ, DJ Enrie. He started DJing in 2001 and stayed below the radar, grinding it out between Las Vegas and his home in L.A. until he finally moved here four years ago.

In his travels, Phoreyz has delivered sets in Japan, Mexico City, New York, L.A. and San Francisco, and has collaborated with and remixed records for Radiohead, Lenny Kravitz, Beyonce and Talib Kweli. Aside from his residencies, he is currently working on a production project, The Tone Collectors with Dez Einswell, “Leap Second” with friend and fellow DJ 8Bits, as well as a few remixes and mix tapes that he will drop at the end of the year.