We recently caught up with Cincinnati native DJ Ross One, famed spin master of the old Favela Chic parties at Mokai and now consummate hit maker at LIV, to talk about teaming up with Hennessy Black, Brazilian beats and more.
How would you define your role in the DJ culture of Miami?
Because I work in more commercial venues I’ve really tried to bring my own edge to the typical bottle service playlist. With Favela Chic and Dirty Hairy Wednesdays at LIV, we’ve really opened new doors to what music you can expect to hear in these types of clubs. People come to Miami expecting to party, they expect a great DJ in an amazing club, and when it all comes together they respond like nowhere else. I think that creates a consistent energy you just don’t get in other cities.
How did you end up getting involved with Dirty Hairy Wednesdays at LIV?
Dirty Hairy is a unique party because they are pushing an indie vibe in a huge commercial club. It’s a delicate balance holding the attention of both the hipper downtown kids and the bottle spenders who are used to more mainstream music. I think they approached me because I have experience in both of these worlds and can appeal to the cool kids while keeping the night in business.
Why do you think the Favela Chic party at Mokai garnered such a diehard following?
Because it’s always been a fresh party and the energy in that room can be like no other. The core of Favela Chic is a group of friends who really wanted to create something different from the normal South Beach club experience. We really work hard to keep the party unique and something that is “ours”. That isn’t something you can buy by hiring promoters or just naming a night. I think that the people who come to the Favela Chic party feed off of that energy and it keeps them coming back.
For those who are not into Brazilian beats, why do you love to spin them in places like Miami and regularly in Brazil?
It was a bit of a battle when we started Favela Chic because people just didn’t know the music and they couldn’t understand the lyrics. It took a bit of tweaking and figuring out how to work the baile funk songs into the mix, but that genre of music stems directly from Miami Bass and 80’s electro so it’s a great fit. These days I hear a short Brazilian baile funk set at every nightclub in South Beach… That wasn’t the case before Favela Chic. When I play in Brazil, I actually play more hip-hop and American dance music. I leave the baile funk to the experts in that country… I’ll throw in a little bit, but that’s their turf.
How do your other regular Miami nights compare to what Favela Chic once was?
Well, I have great nights in Miami right now. Fridays at Wall and Wednesdays at LIV are without question two of the best nights on the Beach. Favela Chic has always had a unique feeling that people responded to. It’s an important night for me personally as a DJ, in that it was really a party that I could put my name on. The music is an integral part of Favela Chic and we worked very hard to create an identity for the party that distinguishes it from anything else. I think it was the last true industry night on the beach, and I get asked daily when it’s going to return. All I can say is “SOON!” Plan on changing your existing Tuesday plans in the upcoming weeks!
Where are people most likely to see you around town when you’re not spinning?
People are usually surprised to see me out on nights off. If I go out, it’s usually just to meet with friends or maybe hear a DJ that I wanna check.
Who are your DJ inspirations?
Red Alert, DJ Spinna, DJ Riz, Stretch Armstrong. All the guys who were killing it in the NYC clubs when I was learning how to work in this business. Also my homies always inspire me: Roctakon, Graham Funke, Stonerokk, Crooked, Five – the list goes on.
Tell us more about your role in the Hennessy Black Mix Master program. What does it mean to you to be a part of things there?
I’m excited to team up with Hennessy Black in 2010. They are a company that is really interested in opening doors and finding unique ways to introduce themselves to a new audience. I think this is a great match with the parties and events that I DJ here in Miami and elsewhere.
What else will we see in the future from you and S.K.A.M.?
I’m spending a lot of time on airplanes… really trying to get out there and DJ as many places as I can. Keep an eye out for new mixes and original production in 2010.