Hanging 10 With Tevin Eleven

The fresh-faced DJ on his home turf advantage and an upcoming Momentus occasion

tevin_eleven_courtesy_WEBChances are, You’ve seen Tevin Eleven’s name on fliers for dance events throughout the city. The 21-year-old, born Tevin Witt, has shared the stage with house heavyweights Wax Motif, Valentino Khan and Pilo, and for good reason: Witt’s known for his smartly curated, eclectic sets that bridge the gaps between the subgenres that fall under the “house” umbrella. Witt is in Artist Mafia: A local collective that’s got an online art gallery and record label. He recently got a taste of the big time when he spun alongside locals Philly Zane, Laissez Faire and MIICS at XS for XS Academy. Now, he’s slated to spin February 4 at Brooklyn Bowl for Momentus Entertainment’s inaugural event, US.

I have to ask: How’d you come up with your name?

People have been calling me Tevin Eleven since middle school. So much so that it eventually stuck. So I took on the name. It’s a play on 7-Eleven, like the convenience store.

What’s your favorite item at 7-Eleven?

Oh, it’s definitely a Slurpee! No question.

Talk about your beginnings.

I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I went to Las Vegas High, and it was fun! I was in band for a year, but I wasn’t feelin’ it, so I left. I was still really into music, though.

Do you see any similarities between the times when you were in band to DJing and producing?

There are a few. People are always watching you and wondering what you’re gonna play next. There’s always anticipation for the next song, and it’s all a little nerve-racking.

How did you get into dance music?

It happened so fast. One year, my friends and I just said, “Let’s go to EDC!” So we did. We went to EDC Las Vegas in 2013, and I think Hardwell was a headliner. From there, we just started hitting as many festivals as we could: Coachella, HARD Summer, … I’ve been getting into the camping ones lately, like the Dirtybird Campout—those are sick. But HARD Summer is the one I’ll always return to. I love that festival. Maybe I’ll get to play it one day.

Then I got into the whole DJ thing. I figured I might as well do what [the DJs] were doing up there, so I began learning. [Eventually] I got offers to play gigs and got noticed through SoundCloud. The rest is history.

Who have been your main influences, then and now?

I used to be really into Dillon Francis; I idolized him in the beginning. Now I’m just really into Dirtybird [Records], specifically Justin Martin; he’s my favorite. I’m into Will Clarke, too. … Basically, I’m just into everybody who creates that deep, groovy sound that you can’t stop moving your body to.

Do you prefer DJing or producing?

As of now, I would say I prefer to DJ. I’m totally into producing, but I’m still learning. My friends are teaching me slowly but surely. But yeah, I like DJing now.

You recently spun for XS Academy. How was that? Do you prefer playing bigger or smaller venues?

They’re both really different in terms of perspective. I like playing all places, but I prefer smaller venues; they’re just more intimate and I can get a better feel for the room.

Playing at XS was surreal, though. I’ve been there so many times, and plenty of people I look up to have played that stage. Seeing people react to the music is dope. I never play the same set twice; I like to keep people on their toes. I want them to stop dancing and be like, “What is this track?!”

What are some of your favorite tracks to play right now?

I always play “Jack” by Breach and “Lemonade” by Sophie. People love to get down to those. Well, at least most of my friends do.

You’ve got a pretty hilarious Twitter account. How do you use social media to fuel your music career?

I use Twitter to show people who I really am and to connect with people. It helps with my music career because it lets people know what I’m all about.

Where do you see Las Vegas’ indie dance scene going in 2016?

It’ll keep growing. The city’s been in love with trap and dubstep for a while now, but people are starting to realize there are other genres out there. I don’t see the return of progressive house any time soon. More people are getting into house and its [subgenres], and that’s really cool. Vegas’ three focal points are going to be trap, dubstep and house.

What is the Artist Mafia and who is in it?

It’s a record company started by my friend Anthony Wynkoop and a few people from XS. They’re basically grabbing a bunch of dudes from the city and starting something cool—whether that be putting out music, mixes or throwing little events every now and then. They’ve done block parties and a few events at Inspire Theatre, and there are plenty more in the works. The goal is simple: to get people to listen to good music.

What can we expect from Tevin Eleven in 2016?

I’m working on some new music, some new content that’s never been seen or heard before. I’m also opening for Mija, Chocolate Puma and Coyote Kisses at US, Momentus Entertainment’s first event. I’m gonna set the mood, so everybody better be ready to dance.