Brody Jenner has spent most of his life trying to abandon the reputation of wealth and arrogance that precedes him. It turns out that it only takes his instrument to find the real him, in a zone where he also finds himself.
Lucky for us, that instrument is all over Las Vegas.
On a Saturday night, Jenner stands bent over buttons and knobs, concentrating on DJ D-Miles’ every turntable move while he plays Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” throughout Hyde Bellagio. Jenner is up next—headlining tonight’s party.
In a white T-shirt, dark jeans and Adidas sneakers, he chats with friends in the booth while sipping on a koozie-covered Coors Light. If it weren’t for the stage, screaming girls or bright lights, you’d think he’s just a normal guy. And that’s what he wants.
“People wanna see what they wanna see, which is, ‘Oh, Brody, he’s the brother of the Kardashians,’” Jenner says. “The only thing people know me for is being the brother of a Kardashian.”
Underneath that narrow view, though, there is a 33-year-old man who has devoted his entire existence to music and its creation. Being a part of his famous family’s empire has made his life easy in many ways, he admits, but he says those familial ties make it “beyond” difficult for the public to take his music career seriously.
Jenner says he’s been drumming since he was 12—and long before rising to fame on MTV reality show The Hills, Jenner played in a band called Face Humper. “I know that sounds ridiculous,” he says. It does, but it meant he got to drum with his buddies at venues such as The Viper Room, where his band held down a residency.
Eventually, that “loosely scripted” MTV series about affluent teens transitioning into adulthood in Southern California took over Jenner’s life. When you’re creating music and you get the chance to do TV, you take it, he says. And he did that at just 20 years old, while remaining in the ten-car garage band until he was 21.
“You want people in the audience to feel like they’re on drugs if they’re not on drugs, and if they are on drugs, you want them to rip their face off and throw it onstage.” – Adam O’Rourke, Jenner’s DJ partner
“What you watched on the show was really not who I was,” he says. But the show paved the way to celebrity, which meant new opportunities—like spinning at the hottest clubs in the world, many located on the Las Vegas Strip.
His DJ partner, drum instructor and lifelong friend, Adam O’Rourke, has joined him this time, and they plan to bring the party. Jenner also plans to go back to his hotel room afterward to have a deep conversation about that night’s tunes. “You want people in the audience to feel like they’re on drugs if they’re not on drugs, and if they are on drugs, you want them to rip their face off and throw it onstage,” O’Rourke says.
With one hand on the mic and the other on the table, Jenner does just that by playing to the crowd, calling on them to drink and let loose. “DJing isn’t DJing,” he says. “It’s about putting massive, massive amounts of work in and being passionate about music.” On this occasion, that meant making time for a David Guetta set while in town. “I learn from it, and I grow from it.”