The most famous DJ in the world, NYC-based Junior Vasquez, has become a legend in his own time. When the Paradise Garage and The Saint both closed in the late 80s, Junior emerged as the singularly most admired and followed DJ in NYC and later, the world. He co-founded the underground Bassline club and the legendary Sound Factory, and later transported his massive following to legendary club world venues such as the Tunnel, Arena @ Palladium, Twilo, and most recently, Earth (at Exit). No other DJ in the world has held the attention of such a demanding, musically savvy dance floor for over a decade.
From his newly self-designed $8 million dollar private DJ booth at Exit, each week, Junior weaves new music (fresh out of the studio where he spends his weekdays) with classics from his 300,000+ record collection. Due to his demanding fans, it is not unusual for Junior to get inspired and keep these magical sets pumping for well over 12 hours. Over the past two decades, Junior has not only invented many new techniques for manipulating music, but he has perfected several old ones.
In addition, to this, he has written, produced and remixed songs for countless recording artists that include Madonna, Whitney Houston, Cher, Prince, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Michael & Janet Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, John Mellencamp, k.d. Lang, Pet Shop Boys, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Luther Vandross and the Beatles. Believe it or not, the new millennium has proven to be the busiest time of his career with 99 remixes in 2000, which included "Your Child" by Mary J. Blige, "Stronger" by Kristine W, "I Learned From The Best" by Whitney Houston, and "He Wasn't Man Enough" by Toni Braxton. Even the many difficult hurdles that were placed before him (and the world) in 2001, they haven't been able to discourage or stop his momentum.
This year he has managed to find the time to produce a numerous chart topping remixes, produce a series of unforgettable parties with record topping attendance's, make numerous (and rare) worldwide appearances, and create his newest venture, Junior Vasquez Sound (JVS). JVS is a one-of-kind sound system, that after seeing the need to take his sound system to the next level, he created for himself. In the world of nightclubs, a Junior/JVS experience is not to be missed.
I was lucky enough to get an e-mail asking me to interview this DJ legend in anticipation of his appearance at Circuit Nightclub this Saturday.
With so many achievements to his name where should I start?
So I decided to start at the beginning.TMc:
Junior, when did you first realize this is what you wanted to do?JV:
I first realized I wanted to do this the day I saw two turntables and a mixer in a store window in Midtown. So, I started to save my money to buy them and see what I could do.TMc:
What were some of the obstacles when you first started spinning?JV:
Not getting the DJ gigs available at the time. I thought I could do better than some of the DJs that were already working, so I just made tapes in my apartment. I also worked in a record store (for free) to get music and build my music library and where I was also able to make friends with those DJs that had gigs I wanted. After befriending them I was able to get the contacts for the clubs that hired them and got myself in through the back door.TMc:
Who are some of your influences?JV:
Larry Levan and Shep Pettibone were and are my only influences!TMc:
Who was the first big name you remixed?JV:
What achievement are you most proud?JV:
It's a tie between my being one of the owners of the original Sound Factory and opening and maintaining my record label (JVM). These are equally my biggest achievements.TMc:
There is a lot of hype about your first appearance spinning on Halsted Street at Circuit Night Club.
What are your thoughts on this gig?JV:
I've played in Chicago a couple of times before and both times the events were disasters. So I'm hoping that the third time is a charm! (As opposed to 3 strikes and I'm out). So I guess we'll see.TMc:
What is the difference between a NYC crowd versus Chicago?JV:
The crowds to me are the same where ever I go. It's the energy that's different and the lack of familiar faces.TMc:
Tell us about your triumph over Crystal Meth.JV:
It's no longer a part of my life and has been the focus of almost every interview I've done in the last year and a half. I wouldn't want to bore your readers with a story that's been told a hundred times over. But I can tell you that I've been completely sober for the last two years and I'm loving life so much more!TMc:
There is a buzz of a Grammy Nomination for Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man." What's this all about?JV:
I want to make something very clear to everyone, Christina Aguilera's "ANIM" Grammy Nomination is not a fact, but a possibility. However, I am keeping my fingers crossed. We won't know for another few weeks.TMc:
What else do you want our readers to know?JV:
I would like ChicagoPride.com readers to know that I will be in Chicago this weekend rarin' to RIP THE ROOF OFF that sucker, so get ready and DON'T LET ME DOWN!
Junior Vasquez (NYC) will be in Chicago on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at Circuit Nightclub, presented in part by ChicagoPride.com.
DJ Plez revisits his conversation with Junior Vasquez (02/06)
(Read the Interview