He calls L.A. home, but holds residencies in Miami, Chicago and Atlantic City. He schmoozes with the likes of Kanye West, Christina Aguilera and Alexander Wang at the private A-list parties he DJs around the world. At the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard, his image flashes across giant screens outside the MGM Grand. Yes, DJ Ruckus lives that glitzy, glamorous life that most only dream of. And Greg Andrews lives up to his adopted stage name when he tears up the rooms at Hakkasan Nightclub. Then, in very “Las Vegas” fashion, he also tears up the after-parties. Witness the rumpus firsthand when Ruckus takes his pre-show jog outside MGM Grand then returns to his Strip residency on Halloween and November 13.
You’ve presided over amazing celebrity-studded parties all over the world. What were three of the most memorable?
At Hakkasan, it was the birthday of [Hakkasan Group chairman] Khadem Al Qubaisi. We had Swizz Beatz come in, and I did a DJ set with him. Kate Upton was standing on the DJ booth, dancing around. He and all his friends were bringing up the largest bottles of Champagne I’ve ever seen in my life. I also did a private event for Naomi Campbell in India with Jamie Jones and Diana Ross. And Diddy’s birthday in Morocco—I was 17 years old.
Who are the most interesting celebrities you’ve met?
But what was it like in the beginning, before all that?
I got started really early. I got an opportunity to play this club in Miami called Crobar when I was 15 years old, because my brother happened to promote there. It was horrendous. I kinda knew how to mix records, but I just didn’t know enough songs. Back then you had to play on vinyl, and it was pretty expensive to get a whole set to play in a nightclub. But people believed in me and kept me going.
I’ve read that you use SD cards in your sets, like the ones you put into digital cameras. What are they for?
I have a thing where I pick up a CDJ and I play it like a guitar. You can put [the SD card] in a CDJ-2000 and read all of your information like a flash drive. It’s reliable, and it doesn’t fall out; a USB might get clipped on something.
What are your go-to tracks for getting the crowd pumped up?
“Don’t Tell ’Em”—that’s YG and Jeremih, a DJ Mustard record. It wins every time. There are some secret weapons I use, such as “Scrubs” from TLC. Another one is “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” Forever. I don’t care where you go on the planet, it works.
Who are your favorite artists right now for including in your sets?
I like AlunaGeorge. Yung Thug. T.I. is continuously awesome. This guy Makonnen, he’s got “Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday.” That record’s one of my favorites.
Is that also what you listen to in your free time?
When I’m not on the clock, I’m listening to soul classics. You know, old-school stuff like Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. I like them, or albums like A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders or Jay-Z’s Blueprint.
Do you have a ritual to prepare for your sets?
I like to get a good workout in. We always do dinner at Hakkasan with a group of friends, whoever’s in town.
Favorite item on the menu?
Duck salad, man! My friends will even drive up from L.A. just so they can get that duck salad!
And what kind of exercise do you do?
Pauly D and those guys live [in Vegas] so we’ll go work out. We use the stairways and walkways outside the MGM Grand to measure how far we wanna run. We use that as our little workout.
What do you get up to after your set is done?
Afterward, we hang out for one of the other DJs, listen to what’s going on. And probably set up an after-party and destroy a hotel room!
So … I take it you’re a party animal?
Hakkasan is one of my favorite residencies, but also the most expensive. I end up hanging out and partying so much after!