Behind the Turntables: DJ Deemo

We sat down with Washington D.C. based house-DJ, DJ Deemo, to get an idea of who the man in the booth really is. Find out where his inspiration comes from, what it takes to get invited into the DJ booth, and his favorite late-night grub spot in DC below.


July 2014 Mix by Dj Deemo on Mixcloud


How did you get started in your DJ career?

I started getting into electronic music in the late nineties and one of my good friends during that time was roommates with a local DJ in Washington DC (j:cee). We would routinely exchange music, it was mostly Trance at that time, and speak about other DJ’s we liked/disliked. Pretty soon after that j:cee was teaching me the basics of how to properly DJ. From beat matching, to track selection, to tempo control, to mixing, and everything in between. At that point, I was heavily immersed in the club circuit and knew tons of club owners, promoters, and GM’s of nightclubs. I would hand out mix CD’s to whoever would take them.The sister of an ex heard one of my mixes and happened to be dating a GM of a nightclub. He called and booked me for a Thursday night party that had been doing poorly. I invited everyone I knew, including everyone I knew from the industry. J:cee was kind enough to open for me that night and we sold the place out. It was pretty much a domino effect after that night as bookings started to trickle in little by little. I owe a lot to both j:cee and Mood (the first person who booked me).



Who are your musical inspirations?

This is truly a difficult question for me to answer because so many artists have inspired me over the years. Let me break it down by a few of my favorite genres …

– House: Mark Knight. His productions are just amazing. Groovy and soulful, with great bass lines and vocals.

– Rock: Rage Against the Machine. Their raw power and message is unsurpassed. And, Tom Morello on the guitar … game over.

– Hip Hop: Talib Kweli. I remember when I first heard Reflection Eternal. Just a beautifully composed album.

– Reggae: Bob Marley. There is no better album than Legend. Every singe track is amazing.



Favorite venue to play a show?

Over the years, there have been SO many, but if you’re asking me my favorite venue right now – it would have to be Flash. They have the best sound system in Washington DC, people come there to dance, and the room was built with the DJ in mind.


Favorite place for late night food after you spin?

Ha! It would have to be George’s King of Falafel & Cheesesteak.


Favorite spot to go on a night off?

I like to lay low when I’m not spinning, but ESL always has a good vibe.


What’s one thing you always take with you when you travel?

My Sennheiser headphones.


Favorite song right now?

Wild Culture – The TIDE 




Favorite local DJ?

There are SO many great DJ’s in DC. You would be hard pressed to go out and not hear one of my colleagues laying down a great set.


How does a girl get behind the DJ booth?

There’s no rhyme or reason to selecting who comes in the booth. For me, it’s hard to interact with anyone when I’m playing, so if you want to dance and are not looking for conversation, you’re in.


Craziest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?

I’ve seen people buy a bottle of Cristal for every table in the club (there are over 30), then give me a tip, and genuinely thank me on the way out. I’ve had money thrown at me, but nothing like this. It was substantial.


What’s your next project?

I would love to get back into the studio (I have only released one original track over the years). It’s hard for me to put any original music out to the public because I always am finding another area of the track to tweak. That being said, I have some opportunities to play at venues overseas and hope to tackle that next.


What do you see for the future of nightlife?

Nightlife is consolidating. When bottle service blew up, it seemed like everyone I knew was opening a nightclub or wanted to DJ. That caused the market to be saturated with sub-par venues and performers. But, as with everything in life, the free market has begun to correct that. Nightclubs and promotion companies are being acquired or closing their doors. More and more out of town “named” DJ’s are doing shows locally causing the talent to either up their game or get out of the way. Nightlife is also going digital. Less and less people want to call/text promoters to get on a guestlist or book a table. Like everything else, they want to be able to do this from their fingertips both quickly and easily.   

Check out DJ Deemo on his social channels, and stay tuned for his upcoming events.






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