Last Tuesday, DJ Deception bested seven other local musicians at the Red Bull Thre3style Saint Louis competition at the Old Rock House, with a set that spanned hip hop, rock and electro music.
Deception, who's a resident DJ at the Social House, Home Nightclub and Fusion Nightclub, is now scheduled to compete at the national finals this November in Las Vegas.
Though he's been based in St. Louis since 2005, DJ Deception got his start as a DJ in California. "My first interest was in 1995, and back in those days, everyone in California was a DJ or a part of a DJ crew," Deception says. When his neighbor threw garage parties on the weekends, he recalls, "I remember not trying to get drunk or talk to girls -- I would just pull up a chair and watch the DJ the whole night. I was really amazed by what they were doing."
While the place he performs has changed, DJ Deception's passion has remained constant, which was evident at his win last Tuesday at the Old Rock House. The competition included seven other local DJ participants, who were all required to perform a fifteen-minute set containing at least three different musical genres.
DJ Deception incorporated hip hop, rock and electro songs, playing older songs by Outkast, Jay-Z and Petey Pablo, as well selections by Rage Against the Machine, Beastie Boys, Swedish House Mafia and Major Laser. "I chose music that would work in St. Louis, and I catered my set to the St. Louis people," Deception says. "Every song that I played, I put the Deception twist on it."
And while his set that night skipped some of today's top-40 hits, it didn't lack crowd response. "It's all about triggering some kind of memory about what you remember about the song back in the day," Deception tells A to Z. "You have to trust the DJ. We're more than just jukeboxes -- we play more than just the top 40."
DJ Deception is not new to competition, but that did not spare him from pre-show anxiety: "It was like I was getting ready for a fight. I was really nervous, and almost lost my train of thought." The Red Bull Thre3style Saint Louis event, he notes, was a much different environment from the clubs he typically plays. "It's totally different from a club setting where the DJ is not the main focus," Deception says. "Everyone is looking at you."
As winner of the Red Bull Thre3style Saint Louis competition, DJ Deception will travel to Las Vegas this November. If he wins again, he'll proceed to the "International Final" in Vancouver in December.
Deception tells A to Z that his competitors guide his preparation. "Once I know who I'm going up against, I study them. I look at what they're doing and what they're not doing, and I capitalize on that. Preparation is key for these competitions."
But Deception stresses that he's a DJ all of the time, not just when he plays clubs or other events.
"We don't stop DJing after the lights come up -- we come home and look at new songs and ideas," he says. "We work hard before the club and after the club."