August 9, 2005 11:57 AM
by David Orth
There are many talented young DJs in Miami, but when you talk to almost anyone in the industry one name seems to stand out above the rest… Diaga.
Since winning the Cooljunkie DJ competition in 2003, Diaga’s career has taken off. He currently hold two weekly residencies (Crobar on Thursdays and Cafeteria on Fridays) and appears regularly at Nikki Beach, Space, Twist and now Nocturnal.
In addition to perfecting his turntable prowess, Diaga has created his own promotion company/record label. There seems to be no stopping this young man from Nicaragua and given the fact that he’s one of the most talented young locals, would you want to?
CJ:When did you realize that DJing could be your calling?
D: I think DJing is one of those things you don’t really realize, it just happens. When I first started DJing back in Nicaragua, I was only 9 years old, back then a DJ was nothing more than a guy playing cassettes in a back room of a bar or club, but for some reason I was hooked on it.
I remember back then we didn’t have a mixer, we would let the song finish, put in a new tape and continue. It wasn’t until I was introduced to a local radio station that it changed my life forever.
Years later, I continued playing with the same passion I had before, for both mixing music and seeing people dance and having fun, never imagining that one day I’ll be a DJ contest winner, playing in front of hundreds of people, coming out on newspapers and having appearances on TV & radio shows.
CJ:What was the first record you ever bought? The most recent record you bought?
D:Unlike many DJs that started out with house music or some sort of electronic dance music, I started out playing Latin music. My first piece of vinyl was Juan Luis Guerra & 440 “La Bilirrubina”. The latest record to my collection is Bruno’s “The Fresh Project”.
CJ:Over the past year two years, you’ve had the opportunity to spin at some of Miami’s top clubs (Space, Crobar, Nikki Beach and now Nocturnal) what gig or night stands out the most?
D: After playing some many great gigs with so many talented DJs in the past 2 years, it’s hard to choose one night that stands out the most. One that I’ll never forget, is playing the main room at Space during Labor Day weekend 2004, right after Hurricane Frances had just crossed the Florida peninsula.
The club was packed wall to wall, the energy that night was simply amazing and everyone had a good reason to celebrate.
CJ:Craziest thing you’ve ever seen while playing?
D: I’ve seen people fighting, girls being drunk coming to the booth trying to DJ, people getting naked or having sex in the restrooms, a guy proposing to his girlfriend in the middle of a club, the list goes on and on, too many crazy episodes to mention just one.
CJ:Three records in your bag right now that you know if you drop them the crowd will go nuts?
D:That depends where IM playing. 3 Tracks that will work very well in most places are:
· Cruising – Nalin & Kane VS. Denis the menace (Steve Murano Mix
· Bad Boy Rocking – Hooligan (HCCR mix)
· What a feeling (flash dance) – Global DJs
CJ:Other than EDM, what artists/bands have influenced you?
D: I’ve been influenced a lot by Latin artists and just like I mentioned earlier I started out playing Latin Music. Some of my influences are Juan Luis Guerra & 440 and latin remixer Jesus Citronelle “TO MIXEAO” just to name a few.
CJ:Your party at Cafeteria is going strong. It’s an open format party, you pretty much play it all. What’s the difference between playing all genres in a night vs. just playing house?
D: Diego Martinelli has done an amazing job with Cafeteria. We went from having a couple of people a few weeks ago, to now having people waiting outside trying to get in.
I think the difference is the whole concept of both parties and their music. The Cafeteria party is more like a huge house party where you can expect the unexpected every Friday night.
In the other hand playing house music is a little more complex, required more concentration and care when choosing the tracks, since house is more about programming. At the end I just try to make sure people leave satisfied with the musical experience they had, weather its open format or just house music.
CJ:You currently have weekly gigs at Cafeteria and Crobar, plus frequent gigs at Nikki’s, Space, Twist and now Nocturnal... How is each gig different for you?
D: Every gig is completely different, you get both different music and different kind of crowds but they are all fun. For instance Cafeteria is the fun party of the week.
I get to do almost anything I want. Twist is more challenging the crowd is very educated musically and knows exactly what they want.
Crobar, Space and now Nocturnal are the big venues in town, you get more people to see you and they expect the best from you every time, I always need to be 150% ready for them.
Open places like Nikki Beach & Opium are very cool venues to play as well, but it can also be tricky, you play the wrong track and you’re done.
CJ:Your favorite record/track of the moment?
D: Lee Combs “Shiver” (Murk Miami Heat Mix)
CJ: Favorite all-time track?
D: House Heroes “Magic Orgasm” (Twisted America)
CJ: You’ve played alongside and seen some great DJs (Oscar G, Danny Tenaglia, Steve Lawler and Miami favs Roland and Cedric Gervais) what have you learned from some of them?
D:It has been an honor to have the chance to share the decks with all these great DJs. I’ve learned a little of bit of everything from all of them.
I’ve learned a lot of technical stuff, better understanding on programming, how to work a room, etc.
I always pay attention at the things they do, how they do it, why they do it and the effects it has on the dance floor. I have to thank Oscar G. for all the help & advice I receive from him off the decks, I really appreciate that.
CJ:How have you changed/grown as a DJ since winning the CJ competition in ‘03?
D: When I won the CJ spin off back in 2003, I didn’t know anybody in the scene. I only had a vision of what I thought would work for me and five friends on the dance floor during the finals.
Now, I know a lot more people and I’ve made lots of new friends. I am more confident behind the decks, but my vision of what a great night should sound like still remains the same. I still try to push the envelope of creativity while DJing but now to a larger scale of people.
CJ:Do you see yourself producing in the near future?
D: Putting all the ideas, tricks, effects, and the rest of elements that make a Diaga show into tracks is definitely one of my next steps. I just want to make sure I'm ready for it. I just don’t want to produce anything just because it might be the cool thing to do, after you become a DJ or after you reach a certain status.
CJ:Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
D:Five years ago I couldn’t even imagine about all the things that are happening to me right now, I just knew I wanted to be DJing. In the future hopefully things would just get better. I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of goals to accomplish. For instance, I’m working on the 22 concept, which basically is an entertainment company / label that will be the home of my productions and more.
CJ:Where do you see the EDM scene in Miami in 5 years?
D: That’s hard to say, Miami’s scene is always evolving. Unfortunately there’s a lot of bullshit still going on this business. 5 years from now, hopefully things will continue getting better for all us. I hope to see more local talent being discovered.
CJ:Describe your DJ persona/style in 3 words?
D: DIAGA ANYTHING GOES