Silla the Thrilla Has Her Eye On the Prize

Breaking into Las Vegas’ DJ scene is every bit the high-stakes gamble you’d expect

Silla the Thrilla | Photo by Sam Zelaya

Silla the Thrilla | Photo by Sam Zelaya

Priscilla Torres is new to the Las Vegas music scene. The DJ, a.k.a. Silla the Thrilla, recently landed a spot spinning Fridays at 3535 center bar in the Linq. And it’s been a grind to get there, with multiple career changes and moves from her home state of Colorado to Arizona to Las Vegas to Nashville and finally back to Las Vegas. Before hitting the decks, Torres worked as a sports broadcaster, a Latin country singer, a lounge singer and was a member of Arizona girl group Phoenix Rayne. Along with vocalist (and boyfriend) Michael Nannini, her group, Team 22, released its debut track, “Teach Me How to DJ,” on November 28 on iTunes. Twenty-two percent of the song’s proceeds go to Nevada Child Seekers’ Be Brave campaign against bullying. Now that things are starting to turn a corner, Torres explains what it’s been like trying to make it as a local DJ in a city that worships headliners.

What’s it been like, DJing in Las Vegas as opposed to Colorado or elsewhere?

Vegas is a city full of personalities, and you can be you. I got my eye patch—it’s about having that type of flair and personality. DJs are entertainers here, so it’s cool to be a little colorful and flamboyant when appropriate, and you can do that here. I couldn’t in Colorado or anywhere else.

You’ve tried multiple careers. How did you settle on DJing?

DJing came more natural to me. It didn’t seem like I had to beg for the opportunity. That’s why I stuck to it, and since it satisfied my craving for music—it was no doubt a passion.

How did your audition for 3535 go?

I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep. They were like, “You’ve got to look super sexy and hot, like you’re going to a pool party,” and you feel like a goon. Only in Vegas do you wear a swimsuit in the office. You know, I actually used a mix that I used at X Bar in Denver … and [that mix] got me the job in Vegas.

How have you gone about getting your name out there? The scene is so saturated.

I am taking a different approach. Nightclubs are huge, and I know everybody’s trying now to be a producer and get in the big nightclubs. We have to get the kids’ votes, even to hit Billboard charts. So I’m focusing more on the community and, honestly, on being a positive influence on the schools: anti-bullying campaigns, being part of pep rallies—I think that’s really big. And then the nightclubs will come.

Photo by Sam Zelaya

Photo by Sam Zelaya

Describe your sound on “Teach Me How to DJ.”

When I first sent this to a radio station in California they said, “It sounds like it’s dance mixed with old-school hip-hop mixed with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch,” and I was like, “Yes! Exactly!” It’s a new sound, but when you break it down, and you hear the instrumentals, it’s disco influenced.

What is your biggest criticism of the Las Vegas DJ scene? 

“What do you use? Are you digital or do you use vinyl?” I don’t use vinyl, I use digital—it doesn’t matter. If you know your music and you know how to read crowds, know where to go, know how to switch it up, that is the most important thing beyond mixing.

OK—explain the bedazzled eye patch, please.

I’ve always worn an eye patch for fun since I could remember. It used to be a cheap Halloween pirate patch that I’d carry around in case of an emergency, an awkward moment. It would definitely make light of the moment. Until one day I saw a necklace and said, “That’s one ugly necklace.” Then I put it around my forehead and it fell directly over one eye, and I said, “Bingo! That’s it.” And I love it.

You’re admittedly starting at the bottom, eking out a place behind the decks in a city that helped make DJs into superstars. What’s your goal?

I want to spread joy and love through our music, make a difference in our community, and play all over the world. It sounds childish, but that’s really it. I don’t care about being gold or platinum on iTunes, I want to make a difference. There are enough egotistical DJs out there who fist-pump their way into nightclubs. That’s there if I want it, but I don’t.

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