DJ Escape has been a big name in the DJ circuit for nearly 20 years. He is constantly metamorphosizing his sound and image to stay current. In the last few years he has worked with some of the biggest names in the recording industry, started his own party, “Served”, and has recently been signed as the spokesperson for the new app PlayR. Therefore, I thought this was the perfect time to catch up with Escape for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
When did you realize you wanted to be a DJ?
I started DJing when I was 13, dabbling in in hip-hop and reggae with DJ Scribble. In ’96, I started doing house music; I met Junior Vasquez at Palladium and he shaped my career. My first big opportunity was at Liquid in Miami in 1998 and I was a resident there until it closed in 2000. I was also a resident at Pump and Salvation in Miami.
As you said, your big break was a residency at Liquid in Miami. Does Miami still hold a special place to you?
Yes, because it was the first big city that embraced me, and I will never forget that.
Tell me about your new party “Served”.
When you come to that party, you are getting the experience of being served. You are not hearing radio or pop music. It’s energy, it’s fun, it’s music that makes you smile. It’s everything across the board that’s fun and happy. There is nothing wrong with making old new again as long as it’s fun! At the Served events, it will always be me, another DJ and one artist.
Who are some of the artists that travel with you for your events?
Robin S, Inaya Day, Kristine W., Veronica, Sandy B, Barbara Tucker, Vernessa Mitchell, Lisa Pure, and Alan T.
You have spent the last decade touring. What are some of your favorite cities and venues?
New York is my hometown, so I always love spinning there. Boston is another one of my favorites and I spin there next at Rise on April 11. I am also at House of Blues every three months. San Francisco is another fun place and I am launching there at the Beat Box.
What has been your favorite gig?
There have been so many good ones. I couldn’t pinpoint one.
What separates you from other DJs?
A lot of things. I have the ability to remix on the fly as I can handle four decks at once. Also, there’s my skill, and of course the older I get the more knowledge I have and the wiser I get, which translates into a better party.
You have done many remixes. What are some of your favorites?
Cathy Brown, “Turn Me Out”; Kristine W., “Wonder of it All”; Suzanne Palmer, “Fascinated”; Beyonce, “Love on Top” and “End of Time”; Donna Summer, “Stamp Your Feet”; Idina Menzel, “Let It Go”; Kimberly, “With You”; Deborah Cox, “Higher”; and many more.
You have worked among superstars like Beyonce and Gwen Stefani; what was that like?
I don’t look at those opportunities as working with a superstar, but rather I look at it as working on a song with an artist, and I put my all into everything I do.
You are also the new spokesperson for PlayR (owned by Playgirl.com), a gay hook-up app that will soon be launching by Apple. Tell me more about this?
It separates itself a little bit as I will have personal music on the app from “Served” and it will be very interactive. There will be other exclusive stuff that you can only get by joining up on the app.
Other than DJing, what do you like to do for fun?
I feel like I am always working, but when I do have some free time, I just like to watch some TV and relax.
What does the future hold for Escape?
I am now not only a DJ, but an event organizer and marketing specialist. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a dinosaur that always spins the same parties. I frequently turn down events, so I can concentrate on “Served” and future projects.
I have a new record with Robin S called “Shout It Out Loud.” The preview is on Soundcloud.com/DJEscapeee. I also have a new record with Inaya Day called “Workout” which was an original Frankie Knuckles song that she got his blessing to record with me before Frankie passed. This follows Inaya’s hit last year called “Make Some Noise”. I have collaborated with Razor and Guido for Miami resident Alan T’s new track called “Shade.”
Are you a one-man operation or do you have help?
Oh my god, no. I am not a one-man operation. My studio partner is Tony Coluccio; he is my right hand guy who helps me create all my magic.
My rotating residents are involved in remixing all my projects; those are Tom Stephan, Razor and Guido, Stephan Grodin, Hex Hector, Hector Romero, That Kid Chris, Manny Lehman, and Chad Jack. In addition to embracing all my old peers, I am embracing the next generation of DJ’s, such as Billy Lace, Brian Serving Overness and Cindel.
For more information on DJ Escape go to Djescape.com.