The Nation's DJ Mecca - Miami

by Humberto Guida
01.16.2012


“It’s very simple," says Miami's homegrown world-renown DJ Irie. "Miami is the nightlife capital of the world. Hands down. The big DJs understand that to really be recognized, they have to have a presence in Miami.

Like many of today’s top imports who grace our city’s turntables, Miami’s most notable DJ, Irie (a.k.a. Ian Grocher), is increasingly rotating his rhythms among a new generation of Miami mega-clubs. As always, the cavalcade is centered on South Beach, its heavyweight hotspots, and various pop-ups too numerous to list here.

"Miami is always on the tip of people’s tongue," says Irie. "The city itself is a brand. The mixture of cultures lends itself to a mix of musical influences. That’s important to a DJ. It’s liberating.”

But the borders of clubland are far reaching these days. Now, platinum names like Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, and members of the chart-topping Swedish House Mafia (Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso), are venturing throughout the city’s clubscape to stake a claim in Miami’s evolving DJ legacy.

But what club are they drawn to most? Head a few minutes up Collins Avenue from South Beach to the Fontainebleau Hotel. There you'll find their giant, state-of-the-art venue - the world renowned, and according to many, best club on the planet, LIV nightclub. Their DJ booth constantly hosts the biggest names on the planet.

Erick Morillo, the premiere artist on his own Subliminal Records, has successfully turned his brand out on a global scale by spinning and hosting his infamous Subliminal Sessions - first at Ibiza, then New York City followed Las Vegas, and most recently in Miami at LIV. So where does Morillo feel his best sessions go down between those markets?

“Miami is defining a lot of my work right now," Morillo explains. "The city is an inspiration to anyone into electronic music. The lights, the sounds of the city, the people that never sleep. But more than anything, the clubs."

The clubs in Miami are what nightlife industry entrepreneurs from all over the country come to study before opening a venue that aims to be the s*&#. And though nightlife in Miami has had its ups and downs over the last decade, the association to big name DJ talent has never waned. As large rooms and big parties come back with the economy, it’s paying off. Miami, even more than ever, is the ultimate music destination, not only for the clubgoer, but for the talent in the booth as well.

“To be a major nightlife destination these days you need to bring in big name DJ’s," says LIV's co-head and Miami Marketing Group's David Grutman. "People want the full nightlife experience and that’s a big part of it. One of the things clubs in Miami do that make the experience for patrons impeccable, and the DJs seem out of this world, is equip our venues with high quality, state-of-the-art sound systems, and layouts that compliment the dance floor. You get consistent quality in those areas in Miami you don’t see elsewhere. So, Miami has one of the most quality nightlife experiences in the world, and that enables to commit to big name DJ talent.”

One of those quality DJs club owners like Grutman are committed to is Rony Seikaly. Yes, the ex-NBA center was the Miami Heat's first-ever draft pick. His post-NBA career involved owning and operating nightclubs, most notably Mynt. Having a knack for music, it wasn’t long before he re-assumed the nickname he earned as a post-up wiz during his playing days - The Spin Doctor.

Seikaly picked up DJing and turned the hobbie into a profession. Now he spreads his “Rony Style” all over Europe as a touring DJ, releasing original tracks including the club hit “Come With Me,” on Subliminal Records.  He credits his involvement in Miami nightlife with giving him an edge as a DJ, and an understanding of what started the infatuation between superstar DJs and Miami.

“Back in the '90s Miami was the new capital of nightlife," says Seikaly. "Everything was huge. At the start of the 2000’s people were getting away from bigger clubs - going to lounges, smaller bars, and outside hotel patios. Now people are coming back to big clubs, like back in the '90s. Big parties need big DJs. Aside from the décor and the atmosphere, and the beautiful people,  LIV is getting the big DJs.”


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