DJ Worthy on Paris Hilton Behind the Decks: "It Wasn't Really Like DJing, She's Just Pressing the Play Button"
Worthy is known for the famed party Dirtybird (also an outside getty) that he hosts in his hometown, and his record label Anabatic. He's toured the world and held down the turntables at the Electric Pickle and at Villa 221 during WMC, amping crowds with his signature blend of low-end bass and house. This Sunday marks the DJ's first gig in Fort Lauderdale. Bass junkies can get funky all afternoon and into the night. Just remember to bring your sunscreen and raver goggles.
New Times chatted with Worthy about Carl Cox, booty dropping, and Paris Hilton as a DJ.
New Times: Tell us, how was spinning at the Dirtybird Barbecue at the last Winter Music Conference?
DJ Worthy: It went really well, the barbecue was insane.
What's your take on South Florida's dance culture?
In Miami, over the past couple years I've definitely seen more of an underground culture developing at places like Electric Pickle and at Treehouse.
What's the dance scene like in San Francisco?
It's a super good vibe, that's why I moved out here. There has always been a ton of clubs --- New York was really good for awhile then it seemed to fall off like a minute, 10 years ago. I feel the scene in San Fran is in its prime right now.
So Carl Cox described your style as "the new wave in house music." How would describe your music to the non-dance fan?
I always find this question hard to answer. To me, it's a good mix of house and techno, but also, a lot of broken beats, almost old school like electro bass from the '80s.
What music styles have influenced your music the most?
I have concentrated on making low-end bass sounds that shakes speakers and really moves the club. I come from a jungle and drum and bass background. That's how I started out. I think that really comes through in the music that I play today. I've always loved that low-end bass that shakes speakers. It is a sound you don't really find in tech house or traditional house music. Low-end bass really makes people drop and get down. People really respond well to low-end frequencies.
How did your career start behind the decks?
I started djing in '97, when I was a freshman in college. I came from a musical background where I played in bands in high school, and then, in college I started going out to these drum and bass parties and seeing DJs putting music on. I thought to myself, "I totally want to do this too." So from then on, it was a natural step to find records, play music and get into it.
Dubstep is huge in South Florida, what are your feelings about the genre?
I like more chilled-out dubstep rather than that grimy bass sound that tends to get old after three songs, for me personally.
Did you hear Paris Hilton has taken on DJing? She recently did a gig in Brazil.
Yeah, I heard about that. [Laughs] I didn't listen to it, but I heard that her whole set was planned out before. It wasn't really like DJing. She's just pressing the play button. You're not doing anything. I saw some of the video, a giant looking head looking down at her on a screen. It looked kind of ridiculous.
There are a lot of people who think DJs just push a button on their MacBook. What's the actual definition of a DJ to you?
I think a DJ is somebody who goes out and they react to the audience by the way they play their music. And then there's other guys, I guess like Deadmau5, people say he just pushes a play button and he doesn't really interact with the crowd like a normal DJ would. For me, a DJ is somebody who doesn't play the same thing every time. When I first started DJing I would try to plan out my sets but I found it never really worked.
What's the biggest gig you've played?
5,000 people at Burning Man.
What's next on the horizon for you?
I'm working on an album, so hopefully we'll get that out in winter. I'm playing Burning Man again this summer and have more Dirtybird parties planned in San Francisco. I'll have some singles out before the album as well.
Listen to DJ Worthy's music here and catch him at Techno Beach this Sunday at McSorley's in Fort Lauderdale. Cover costs $6. Party kicks off at 2 p.m. and goes down until 11 p.m. Call 954-565-4446, or visit facebook.com/technobeach.