Behind the decks and behind the scenes, Blaze Carreras is all about style. It’s no wonder Corona asked to feature him in the booth for their latest ad campaign. From open format to progressive and electro house, the man knows how to read a crowd and give them what they want. His talent has landed him residencies in some of South Florida's hottest night-spots such as Wall, FDR, Wet, and Living Room, as well as tours across South America. The Venezuelan producer caught up with Amanda Mesa, our Miami contributor, before a show at Vibe Lounge in Fort Lauderdale to talk about his inspiration, beginnings, and love of music. She decided to do this one Q&A style, so enjoy!
How did all of this start for you?
Blaze: I first got into music through my mother, who made me play all kinds of instruments when I was a young kid. My whole family was into music. It wasn't until I was about 13 years old that I knew I wanted to be a DJ. I begged my mother to buy me turntables for my 14th birthday and I never looked back.
What did you listen to growing up?
Blaze: The first tape I ever bought was Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill. The first vinyl I ever bought was Wu Tang’s 36 Chambers. The first CD I ever bought was Nirvana’s Nevermind. I know a lot of people say this, but I really do like all kinds of
First venue you ever played at?music, Hip Hop, Rock, R&B, Soul, Electronic Dance Music, Latin Music, Indie, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Rap, Trap, etc. I listen to everything. Music I've never heard is what I want to hear.
Blaze: The Pawn Shop in Downtown Miami. I think it was 2002.
What's the secret to a good set, in your opinion?
Blaze: I think the key is engaging the crowd through mixing correctly and picking dope tracks. Going out and seeing as many DJs as you can will also give you the 'keys' to a good set. You need to hear everyone else’s bangers and make your own soup.
When DJing open-format, how do you keep a flow while simultaneously crossing from one genre to another?
Blaze: There are songs that go together and others that don't. This has to do with tones of music and sounds that match and don't match. There are also wonderful things called DJ edits and transition records that also are very helpful to a DJ when transitioning from genres like that...every DJ uses them...don't front.
Are turntables a dying art?
Blaze: Kind of, but not really. I still see it as a relevant art, I play on them. Just because most electronic DJs use CDJs (and that’s the music in the forefront), doesn't mean that it will be the death of turntables. I still know a lot of big DJs that spin on decks and will probably never switch. I don't mind spinning on either, sometimes I prefer CDJs for an electronic set, or if I just feel like using them. You can cut pretty well on the new CDJs 2000s.
How did the partnership with Corona come about?
Blaze: Corona needed a DJ and an emcee for a commercial they were doing in Miami. They wanted to have the feel of a huge music festival at the Klipsch Audio Center in Downtown Miami (a local outdoor venue in Downtown Miami where big EDM festivals have already taken place). Tatanka Guerrero, the face of OFM Talent and well-known South Beach nightlife enthusiast, showed up and killed it with me. We put on a live show for 300 extras and the camera crew, which was awesome! Definitely a cool moment in my career.
How is the scene in South America? What are they listening to?
Favorite 3 underground artists? Mainstream?
Blaze: Underground: Right now these...Solidisco, Jessie Ware, Penguin Prison.
Mainstream: A$AP ROCKY, Florence and the Machine, Tommy Trash.
Can you compare/contrast the vibe in the venues you DJ at?
Blaze: I play at venues that want to hear popular music whether it be electronic, hip hop, or indie rock. Some venues are more high energy than others. These don't only require good music, they also require a presence. Big name venues require your A-game and nothing less.
Favorite spots around Miami?
Blaze: WALL, LIV, Bardot, Grand Central, SL and the Rec Room.
What would you be doing if you weren't DJing?
Blaze: Working in the music industry at some level, or teaching music.
All photos provided by Adam Lalani