“The first time we did this, we actually did call in sick the next day,” says Eric Delatorre, known to most as DJ Eric D-Lux. It’s 10:30 p.m. inside Herringbone restaurant in Aria, the go-to pre-gig spot for D-Lux and DJ Five (born Jerid Choensookasem) two fixtures of Las Vegas nightlife who co-pilot the turntables as FAED (pronounced “FADE”). Tonight is their monthly “Calling In Sick” residency party at Jewel.
The “day job,” or rather, one of several, for these nocturnal entrepreneurs is managing Headliner Music Club, their digital record pool for professional DJs which features exclusive edits, playlists and remixes from FAED and their swath of industry friends. The loquacious Five, who lives in Las Vegas, maintains an award-winning social media presence and has invested in local businesses such as Downtown’s darling Vesta Coffee Roasters. The Los Angeles-based D-Lux is a quieter-than-you’d-expect former radio host responsible for writing and producing the multi-platinum club banger “Shots,” by LMFAO featuring Lil Jon.
“So, did you ever have ‘regular’ jobs?” I ask over a platter of crab legs. Five turns to D-Lux: “KB Toys?” D-Lux confirms and shares that he used to schlep scooters at Vespa and served short stints at Ross and IKEA. Five bussed tables at the old Leatherby’s ice cream shop on East Sahara as a teenager and later added Burlington Coat Factory and Victoria’s Secret to his resume. Eventually, both guys started working at (separate) record stores, and parlayed that opportunity into their first unpaid party gigs. Back then, DJing was just a passion and a money pit.
In the decade plus that they’ve been DJing professionally, Five and D-Lux have lived together, toured together and held individual residencies at nearly every nightclub on the Strip. The two met and became friends while working their way up to headliner status and formalized as FAED (a combination of “Five” and “D-Lux”) in 2016. “We also considered the name PZA PZA,” (pronounced the way you think it is) says Five, and “There They Are!,” which they both say while pointing (and laughing.) And for the FAED trading card: According to JackColton.com, both Five and D-Lux’s “craziest Las Vegas stories” involve falling asleep at a strip club.
Being in sync, after all, is essential when you’re co-DJing. It’s nearly impossible to converse inside the booth given the proximity to speakers, whirring of confetti cannons and constant shuffling of about 25 bodies in close quarters. We were a group of six, maximum, at dinner, but once we reach the nightclub, behind FAED is where everyone wants to be. The Snapchat posts will prove it.
At 12:27 a.m. a dial tone rings out on the sound system. “I’m not feeling too good,” says a female voice, …“the truth is I was partying with FAED.” Five and D-Lux are in position at their tandem controllers, dancers flank either side of the booth’s raised platform and a suited man with a oversized foam skull, the FAED mascot, if you will, motions for hands in the air. This is the official “Calling in Sick” intro, complete with pyrotechnic bursts and a pre-recorded name drop from Lil Jon.
As they should, Five and D-Lux stack their open-format set with some Headliner Music Club exclusive FAED edits. Sometimes they scratch in and swap controls on every other song, sometimes one hops on the mic, records a video on their phone, sips their drink, checks on their guests or, in Five’s case, pours tequila shots straight into the mouths of clubgoers. “When I did it at the first party, my aim was so bad. I was getting tequila in their eyes,” he says. But by now, of course, Five and D-Lux are professionals at calling in sick and everything that it entails.
FAED performs at Jewel Nightclub August 7. jewelnightclub.com/events