From wild star-studded parties to club fashion, Vice has seen it all. The Los Angeles-native-turned resident DJ and business owner first hit Tao’s decks in 2005 when the club opened. He’s grown alongside Las Vegas’ sprawling nightlife scene, and seen changes in everything from programming and production to revolving musical genres. We caught up with the DJ to chat about his very special anniversary.
What was it like to play Tao’s opening night as its first resident DJ?
That was amazing! What it brought to the Strip was new and game-changing—not only because you can head there to party, but because you can have an amazing dinner and move the party upstairs to the nightclub. You were in there for a whole late-night experience, and you even pre-gamed at the same place!
The big thing I’m proud of is that I grew with the company, and not just in Las Vegas. I got to see it branch out to New York and Sydney, and I’m so proud of that. For [Tao Group] to start in New York and make its way to Las Vegas and then open up doors around the world … it’s crazy. It’s good to come back and be excited 10 years later.
How has the club physically changed over the years?
The DJ booth has moved a bunch, and I moved along with it. I was able to find the place where there was the most energy: from when I was tucked away at the top of the stairs to being against the windows with the Strip behind me, to now, right there on the dance floor, an arm’s reach from the crowd. That’s where I like it the most. Because I feel like I’m right there dancing along with the crowd.
There have been production changes, too. I like the LED walls behind me and on the ceiling. The good thing about Tao Group is they change with the times and with the game, but they always remain true to the original look and feel. It’s like heading to somebody’s house, where you feel comfortable, and partying. People come to see me play two, eight, even 10 years later, and it’s still the same room, still a destination on the Strip. People coming to Vegas for the first time know to hit it up. It’s a staple.
You own CRSVR clothing boutiques in California and Las Vegas. Do you see a parallel between your two businesses?
It all started in Santa Barbara, an hour north of L.A. Then I went to Vegas with people from Tao Group to check out Marquee, because they wanted me to be a resident DJ, and it just kinda happened. Now I’m a resident DJ and a business owner at the Cosmopolitan.
Fashion and nightlife go side by side. Artists are trendsetters, and so are DJs; people always want to see what they’re wearing. It all ties back to walking in [to the club] looking fresh. Being a world traveler, I take inspiration from different places such as Japan and Hong Kong and bring it back to the store.
[In terms of fashion], clubs are more lenient [now]. It’s not just the dress shoes and collared shirt look anymore. Now you can have a higher-end look and not be stuffy with it. I love the fact that now you can be comfortable while partying. You can wear a regular white T-shirt and a pair of jeans, but if you’ve got the right shoes, it brings it all together. The whole dress shoes thing is done.
What is the most memorable moment you’ve experienced while spinning at Tao?
One time, Jamie Foxx came in, got on the mic and just rocked with me! We pretty much did a live show together, and it wasn’t him performing his songs—he interacted with the crowd. I’d play a song by somebody else and he’d sing along, and he just had a blast with everyone. And he won an Oscar! To have an award-winning actor pouring drinks into girls’ mouths … that was something else. It’s rare to feel that strong of a connection with the crowd and the artist. And that wasn’t just a one-time thing; there were many Jamie Foxx nights.
Another night, out of nowhere, we had Jay Z, Puffy, Usher, Nelly, 50 Cent, Jeezy and Floyd Mayweather in the building. I was DJing, and I had to go back and forth with the music. It felt like a hip-hop awards show, and I was the conductor of it. I had to keep everybody happy. I just kept thinking to myself, “I wonder what a concert bill like this would cost!” I actually recorded the set I played that night. Maybe I’ll put it online soon.