Joey Mazzola Puts the Fun Back in House Music

Veteran Pure Terrace DJ moves on with record label Monkeybars

Photo by Bobby Jameidar

Photo by Bobby Jameidar

Joey is getting back to being Joey.

That is, DJ/producer Joey Mazzola is stepping out from the booth and returning to his roots in the studio: making music. With his new “fun” house label Monkeybars launching, and his time spinning on the terrace at Pure drawing to a close (along with the club itself, which is all but officially confirmed to close after May 25), we learn about the next chapter in Mazzola’s career.

What will the Monkeybars record label be all about?

What [partner Doug Ansell and I are] trying to do is make music fun again and remind people that it’s dance music. I’m talking to all the West Coast producers whom I came into the business with, all the people whom I was putting records out with in the ’90s and in the 2000s. When I say “fun” I just mean I don’t want a label where I corner myself into one sound. Our first release is going to be a Monkeybars music sampler. We’re going to have Ron Reeser, David Garcia, Scotty Boy and myself with Jay Walker.

What specifically comprises “fun” house music?

Not so serious, not like back in the day when you had to be nerdy and geeky to like techno and house music. It’s a whole different world right now, and that’s what I’m trying to get out there. I’ve made up my mind, and that’s how I’m going to evolve and that’s how I’m going to stay afloat and that’s how I’m going to reach the next level.

I am not going to be focusing on the Las Vegas DJ market; I’m going to be focusing on what this next brand of music is going to be and what these kids are going to be playing in these clubs, because for all you and I know it’s going to be so drastically different five years from now. I want to be ahead of that game. I think the only place for dance music to go is just back to being fun again. … I want to be the West Coast Subliminal, if you will. I want to do what Eric Morillo did with his whole Subliminal crew.

What type of house music though? Tech, deep, progressive, festival?

When I say “house music,” I don’t believe in subgenre-ing. I don’t even use those terms, because they automatically turn people off, sadly. Or the term “EDM”? That’s pop music. Everybody knows when they use the word “EDM” they’re defining pop music. That automatically turns off the house heads.

How would you sum up your time playing house for the past five years on Pure’s terrace?

Being at Pure for so many years, they helped me in tremendous ways to make a life for my son, and I was grateful to have run Pure’s terrace for five years—that’s a big deal to me. What people don’t realize is we get so many people from all over the world who love house, they only understand house and I’ve been giving it to them for five years, three days a week. That’s a lot, and I’ll be grateful for that the rest of my life.

Are you gonna have a celebration for your last night?

I can tell you my last big locals Tuesday night at Pure is May 20, the final Tuesday night for locals to catch me on the terrace. We figured it out: I’ve played at Pure more than 800 times! It’s gonna be pretty emotional. I’m the longest-running DJ that Pure ever had. Now I feel like it’s time to release Joey Mazzola again, and do what my longtime friends and fans expect of me.

For those not familiar with your background—which includes playing legendary Las Vegas spots such as
Empire Ballroom, Ice, Drai’s and more—when can they hear what’s always been in your heart?

If anyone wants to check out Joey being Joey, Memorial Day Weekend I’ll be doing a five-hour set at the Artisan on May 24, which will be big, and I’ll be demoing our new music. Free for locals! Everyone’s welcome.



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