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In The Studio With Diego Camejo
Mokai's resident DJ sits down for a chat

Can you tell us about some of the parties/venues that shaped you as an artist and a performer?

Diego Camejo: The first venue I started DJing at consistently was Mokai. Being the resident here has taught me so much. Because it is a small boutique club, it is naturally a very intimate setting. It is a venue where people are not necessarily going to focus on the DJs performance; they’re their to have a good time, which makes it more difficult as a DJ to craft a set that gets people’s attention.

What’s the number 1 rule for DJ 101?            

Diego: The most important skill a DJ needs to learn is how to read a crowd properly. This is something that takes time and practice. Every time I play a show I learn something new, especially at every new venue. Something can work very well in one show and not so well in another. It is all about the trust you create with the crowd; once that is established you have more freedom.

Favorite pre/post-show snack spot?

Diego: La Baguette. It's a sandwich place that is open 24/7. It’s always a great spot to go with my friends after a long night of partying.

Favorite venue to party at?

Diego: Mokai; it has become my home after playing there for so long. I’ve gotten to know everybody there so it's always a good time.

Favorite venue to play at? 

Diego: Mansion! The vibe here is always great. They have really good production, especially on their “Cirque Du Mansion” nights—they have dancers and crazy aerobics. The sound and light systems are top notch. It is a very good blend of a bottle service club and a DJ-focused club.

How has your sound developed since you first started producing?

Diego: When I first started, I was listening to a lot of very house-y beats, tech house, and some tribal stuff as well. I started making tracks influenced by those genres. At first, I would usually decide what type of song I was going to make in order to learn how to create different genres, but I soon found that to be a very narrow-minded way of thinking.

What’s the most important aspect of a track, in your opinion?

Diego: For me, the melody is always the most important part of a track. Now, once I come up with a melody, I let the track take me wherever it wants to go. There are so many new sounds now that it is sometimes hard to tell exactly what subgenre you are listening to. I think this a great thing, and I listen to almost any, and every genre, you can imagine. Listening to such a variety of music is very important because I take certain elements from all these and combine them to make something that is new. I would consider my sound to be melodic progressive house, with splashes of electro, and occasionally dub/chill step.

What’s in the mix for you right now?

Diego: I am currently working on a lot of new original tracks, and I have been experimenting with everything from dub step, to rock, to reggae.

Pro's and cons of living and producing in the Magic City?  

Diego: The amazing thing about Miami is that there is beautiful weather, beautiful nature, and amazing nightlife. Everyone in Miami is so happy to be here, it really shows in the vibe of the nightlife. I also really enjoy being among nature and using it as a source of inspiration.

I’m sure the nightlife here has played a major role in your musical education.

Diego: The nightlife scene here is an amazing tool for upcoming DJs. Not only do we have the opportunity to perform at all these venues, but the fact that every DJ that I look up to performs in Miami regularly is a major thing. It's one thing to listen to a DJ set at home and analyze it technically, but its quite another thing to experience a live performance and feel that connection with everyone in the room and the DJ through the music.  

As for cons, I suppose the only con is that sometimes there are too many good parties to choose from, so you get some FOMO (fear of missing out)!

Thoughts on this year’s WMC? What were your favorite parties?

Diego: Unfortunately I was only able to make it to Ultra this year, but I think Ultra did an especially good job compared to last year. The production was much better. I’m glad the Main Stage finally moved away from the generic LED walls, to a more creative and fresh design. I think the scheduling of talent was much more thought out, and there was a much better line up.

Being so involved in the scene, how do you prep for such a monumental week like Miami Music Week?

Diego: I like to stop following what artists are doing before WMC comes around so when I see them I have no idea what they are going to perform, it’s more fun that way. I like listening to new songs for the first time at a concert. Some artists like Nervo, Sander van Doorn, Madeon, and Porter Robinson really impressed me. I was disappointed with some that played the same or very similar sets over the past couple years.

Everybody has one night that they don't entirely remember. What was your best one?

I don’t remember it!

Craziest thing you ever did on stage?

Diego: This one time I was craving gummy bears before going on. When I got on stage people noticed I was eating gummy bears and naturally they motioned that they wanted some, so I began to throw gummy bears into the crowd, and successfully someone caught one in their mouth! Not that crazy, but really funny!

Any artists we should keep an ear out for? (Aside from yourself, of course!)

Diego: Wow, there are so many new talented artists out there that I have been following. This is one of the things that I love about the commercialization of the scene. There are so many guys trying to make it, so everyone is really trying their best. The more competition there is, the better the producers will get.

These are just a few: Audien, Michael Brun, Aylen, Special Features, Moiez, Joe Gil, Vicetone, Synchronize, Paris & Simo, Pierce Fulton.

Speaking of commercialization, the sudden EDM boom has drawn some very mixed reviews from fans and artists alike. What are your thoughts on the commercialization of the scene?

Diego: I guess it’s bittersweet for me in some ways. While it is true that everyone is making and trying to make the same exact progressive and electro sounds, if you compare the production quality of the music now, and even 5 years ago, it is night and day. Some of the most innovative songs are being made right now. Honestly, I don’t understand why some artists are so bitter about it. You can’t change what other artists are doing, but you can change what you are doing yourself. Everything has its pros and its cons and there is no need for the negativity. While artists that go commercial tend to become huge, a lot of the artists that have not gone commercial are actually bigger now than they ever were; it is a big opportunity for a lot of cool things to happen. The fact that companies like MGM and Cirque de Soleil are getting involved and opening up a club is amazing. Electronic producers now have a bigger platform then they ever had to distribute their music to millions of people in the world. Isn’t that really the ultimate goal, to connect people with music?