Marc Jay
ABOUT MARC JAY
Marc Jay is the man in the middle of the action - the guy with the best table, the most access - living the life that others only dream of. Here you will follow Marc behind the velvet ropes as he mingles and mixes with the most elite in Las Vegas. From nightlife to fashion, from music to events, this is where you'll meet the VIPs who shape Sin City.

Exclusive Interview with Sean Vanin

posted on 03.19.2010

Everybody knows that when you come to Las Vegas, you need to book a good hotel. If you’re fortunate enough to have the right budget, you could book a nice suite. If you’re really fortunate, then I’ve found the most incredible place for you. It’s called 2810 and it’s a private resort, which has just been opened by a friend of mine. The 60,000-square-foot space has nine bedrooms, and it is now up for rent on weekends or for private parties. Today I’m lucky enough to be here with Sean, the owner of the house.

Marc Jay: So I’ve just arrived at this incredible house, tucked away in the heart of Las Vegas. Sean, the owner of it is here with me to talk about the place which has just been launched today. It’s a house where you can do almost anything. Tell us about your project and this beautiful house.

Sean Vanin: Well basically, I acquired the property because I was so drawn to the trees. The space has 300 mature palm trees and so I thought that it would be beautiful to have pools running through all of these trees. One of the most difficult things is trying to get trees next to the water, but the last owner had built retaining walls right up to the trees so one thing led to another. I started building this property with just an amazing yard, like a casino, and because the economy wasn’t really good, there were casino-type companies available to do that work. From that point on our friends and different people would come and would just start saying, “You have to make it like a resort.” It just turned into a resort and every time we did something we tried to just think outside the box and just make it really amazing, whether it was the master bedroom or a champagne hot tub. Everything had to be something that you really wanted, and I thought to myself, well some people might want a champagne tub, and I thought that was cool, so we did it. So now we have a champagne tub designed to run off champagne and mineral water or carbonated water. The sand on our beaches is from Malibu. We brought in the beach and went through the whole thing where I had to go down there and had to deal with the city because I wanted their sand and they didn’t want to give me my sand. It was one big adventure of just dealing with designers and just creating, but because I wasn’t doing it for anyone else, it was really to have a good time. It was all about being creative.

Marc Jay: As most people know, when you go to a nice hotel, you’re lucky enough if you get 300-square-feet, maybe if you want to upgrade you may get a 2,000-square-feet, but the most you can get is about 4,000 here in Vegas, and it gives you a half-decent room. The place we’re standing in now is a 60,000-square-foot spot with nine bedrooms. This is truly a new way of coming to Vegas and experience Vegas almost like, I consider it the rat-pack days when people would come and it’s an experience unlike anywhere else. How did you come up with this concept and tell us about the house itself and what’s inside.

Sean Vanin: The concept kind of developed by people coming in here and assuming that’s what is was – a resort – so that’s how the concept happened. What’s in here is just the ability to really have a party. Even though everything is really expensive, things are durable. We were careful about how things were done. I wanted to have really cool features that I had seen before or even if I hadn’t seen them, I wanted them, if that makes sense. For example, the master should have had a strip pole but I like the idea that it was a power pole, one that you could just pull a switch and a strip pole will come down from the ceiling. That made so much sense to me, just like the rotating bed or a huge hot tub. I had companies bring in two other hot tubs, but every time they brought one in, it looked embarrassing compared to $140,000 pool, so eventually we had to just keep making it bigger until it finally made sense. We had to restructure the whole room to accommodate this huge—I don’t even know how many gallons that hot tub is. All I know is that it runs on two pumps and we had to custom make it.

Marc Jay: I think that’s the first bathtub that could fit 15 people. It’s going to be a lot of fun. So as we’re standing in the master bedroom, we’ve got the rotating bed and I’ve also notice there is a mirror above it. This is obviously your total VIP experience.

Sean Vanin: Yes. I wanted this room to make someone feel like they really are in a master bedroom. It had to be as good, if not better, than any top hotel and you had to feel like it was nothing like your house, just very exotic. I wanted to have lots of electronics, lots of TVs, lots of modern lounges and just stones, glass, just all the right finishes, so that was really important. I always pictured the ultra-chic.

Marc Jay: The amount of stone and marble in this place is tremendous. Where did you acquire all of this from?

Sean Vanin: Well, some things we had to ship out because you just can’t get them, and the options just don’t match. Other things had to be custom made, for example this curved vanity section. You can’t have stone curved like that because it’s designed to curve outwards, so every one of those pieces had to be chiseled in the back to be able to curve. Everyone thought I was crazy, the people that were going to install it, because they said we’re going to have to grind the back of each one of these rocks, but that’s the only way I could see it working, and it works. So certain things we had to create, certain things we just got from other countries, and certain things had to be from a certain place, like our black stones. They all came from Maui. Luckily there were distributors, and then the beach, so for things like that we just had to be patient.

Marc Jay: It’s amazing to be me though, looking at the pool, no? It feels like I’m actually at a hotel, because there’s like four or five different pools. There’s a bridge, there’s a wishing well, there’s a Jacuzzi, there’s a stage, there’s a gazebo… it really feel like you’re in a real hotel but the whole house is for yourself. You mentioned the sand; you actually bought the sand in from Malibu yourself?

Sean Vanin: Yes. Basically I went on a road trip to Malibu and realized that it’s just so difficult because of the regulations there, so I ended up just staying. I stayed for three days, but one way or another we managed to make a deal and we just got a big load which we then had to wash. I didn’t know what it was going to cost to do all of this and I probably wouldn’t have done it if I had known. All I knew was that it made sense to have a beach there, and I didn’t understand why people don’t put in real sand beaches. So, I started having it made and then when it was time to actually make it, I got the reality check from these pool companies. Really, technically, they told me that we had to built a massive aquarium to have the sand beach, so that was a $250,000 system. I didn’t know that’s what was involved but it was too late at that point and I didn’t want to have a sand box right next to my pool. Anyway, one way or another, we just did it and I just love it because the beach is adjustable. I can change my rake on it, the angle, I can change how much wet beach, how much dry beach and I can change my curve, so I can have like an “S” beach, so that was really special. At the end of the day, it was all just being creative.

Marc Jay: When you come here, you have your own butler on call, you have your own chef, and you’ve got a security guard… you get more services here than at any other hotel, it’s like almost your own hotel for the weekend.

Sean Vanin: That’s exactly what it is. You see, I wanted it to be a situation where somebody can do everything a la carte, basically they would say, “I want to have my Lamborghini outside, a stretch limo out there and you’re going to have Wolfgang puck and you’re going to have a couple of other chefs, all on call.” You want full-time, part-time, you want 10 waitresses – whatever it is that you want, we’ve got it. You want bartenders, you want to have a Playboy model come and teach you how to play poker, you want another one play video games with you, you have this house to set it all up and your assistant just basically goes and works everything out. Everyone just gets scheduled in and then when you show up, your limo picks you up, you have your own resort experience and your privacy. You have your own keys, and that’s how I wanted it – a way for someone to really have their own rules, they can decide what they want to do. They are the owner of that casino for that weekend.

Marc Jay: It’s amazing. I think all that’s missing is gaming in here, and then it’d literally be your own casino. And how far are we from the airport? Literally five minutes, is it?

Sean Vanin: Two-and-a-half miles from the airport and four-and-a-half-miles from The Strip.

Marc Jay: Literally, you can be with everyone within 10 minutes, so it’s really in the heart of Las Vegas. I know people can also rent this out for special events, like weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, and private affairs – is that something you’re going to be doing?

Sean Vanin: As long as it’s really private, and as long as it’s exclusive. It’s not going to be for everybody, but for the people who want to do that, yeah for sure.

Marc Jay: If they have the right event, how do they find you and where do they look up this property online?

Sean Vanin: Well, the website is at the2810.com, and has all the details and contact information, and we’re always upgrading the pictures on different things we’re doing. I think I’m going to be working on this property for another two years because there are so many things that I still want to do. I want to have a recording studio here and things like that, just so that if they decide they want to record something, it’s available.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter!


 

Interview with Sean Dunn of Astor and Black

posted on 03.12.2010

Marc Jay: So I’m sitting here in Sean’s gallery-cum-shop. I would call him the fashion guru of Las Vegas, he’s probably not going to claim to be that person, but he truly is a legend here and he dresses some of the best people in Vegas, even myself from time to time. Tell us about your history and what you do here in Las Vegas, Sean.

Sean Dunn: We try to make the best look even better, so our whole thing is trying to find the guys who have the finger on the pulse of their own style and their own fashion and we try to collaborate with them to take it to another level.

Marc Jay: When I look at the list of like “The Hot 100 of Las Vegas” and think you probably dressed like 85% of them, it makes me wonder – how do you get your clients? How do people find you?

Sean Dunn: Word of mouth, 100% word of mouth in this town. In fact, I can trace back the majority of my business to one guy in this town, Jon Gray who is the VP of brand development over at The Palms, to about a year ago. He just started plucking me in with the right guys and, as you know in this town, once you know one guy, you know them all.

Marc Jay: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into – now what do you actually call it?

Sean Dunn: Astor and Black is a custom clothier. My role is essentially brand development of Las Vegas, as well as other cities, depending on where our clients end up. Since we deal with a lot of athletes, there’s a lot of travelling involved, chasing the athletes, as well as some of the execs. They’re not limited to one particular area.

Marc Jay: So if I’m like a 25-year-old guy living in Las Vegas and wearing overalls, half the time in jeans and t-shirts, I come and see you and how can you help me? You can obviously make me look better, but how do you go about changing someone’s appearance?

Sean Dunn: There are a couple things that come right off the bat. First I try to understand what their style is, or for a better term, what their lifestyle is. What do they really need to wear and what kind of message are they trying to convey? Then, number two is “What do they already have?” We want to start to build a wardrobe that they don’t have to throw away in a year-and-a-half. Because Vegas is so fashion-oriented, we try to do things that are more timeless – classic and stylish versus fashionable. Then three, we try to figure out what their budget is and then work within the constraints of all three of those things to start building a wardrobe that fits their lifestyle needs and their budgets. If they do have that creative sense, we collaborate with them and it allows them to express what they want to tell people about how they look and how they dress.

Marc Jay: Now people who shop at the average clothing stores probably think that having custom clothing is very, very expensive and only a unique amount of people can afford it, but it’s actually quite reasonable. Tell us about the procedure, what do they do, come in and get measured? How does that procedure actually work?

Sean Dunn: The gentleman who started it is only 25 years old and his family came from a lineage of discount retail. So what he was able to do was layer the high-end custom clothing model on top of a discount pricing model. By marrying those two, we can actually bring high-end custom clothing to the masses, which is really cool because we make it affordable for everyone. The process for getting started with us is essentially a quick phone interview, just to understand what we’re trying to do, what we’re trying to accomplish, then usually anywhere from a half hour to an hour initial consultation either at our show room or at the client’s home or office, depending on what they do. Then from there we kind of sit down and go over those three things that we talked about, but then most importantly, we get in their closet. So once we get in their closet we try to really figure out where the glaring holes are, and that’s what we try to fill first.

Marc Jay: Do you actually travel and go to their homes and see what kind of mistakes they’re making at the moment?

Sean Dunn: Yeah, we kind of look for the good, bad and the ugly. It’s so difficult for a client, especially one who’s not very savvy with clothes or fashion, to sit there and explain to me what they have in their closet. I mean, we could be on the phone for hours when I could literally spend five minutes walking through their closet. By doing it this way I can take a mental inventory as well as a physical inventory of what they have, what they really like to wear, what they’d like to wear, if it fit correctly or if it wasn’t worn and then stuff that they would never touch again. We kind of separate it so that they can get a better understanding of what their style path is going to be because a lot of guys are just confused. When they have so much crap in their closets, it’s just overwhelming, so we kind of help tear down their closet. I always have the guys separate their closets into those three sections – what they love to wear, what they’d wear if it either fit or wasn’t worn, or stuff they would never wear again – and that helps them, before I even step in the door, to see what they want to do.

Marc Jay: For me, personally, I must have probably about 30 pairs of jeans in my closet. I probably wear jeans every single day, every minute of the day. Then I seem to somehow have black shirts – I have like 11 black shirts – so my wardrobe probably looks the same. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I probably buy the same kind of brands and the same style all the time. You may see me a couple times in the same week thinking I’m wearing the same clothes, but I’m not. Do most guys do it that way, or is everyone completely different?

Sean Dunn: Depending on what they do, a lot of guys, you will find, have the same sort of stuff in their closet. Like you said, you have a ton of jeans and a ton of black shirts. A lot of guys will come in and will do suits that are almost the same colors, shirts that are almost the same color, and then that’s where we have to get creative with tones and textures and stuff like that. For a lot of guys, that’s their comfort zone. If dark jeans and a nice well-fitted black shirt are in your wardrobe, then why really go out? It’s versatile and, especially in Vegas, you can really get use out of those things. I mean, that’s what you wear. Guys that don’t need to be in suits don’t need to be in suits, so why fake something? If you’re a jeans-and-a-great-button-down guy, then that’s what you’re going to go with.

Marc Jay: So you dress everybody, all “The Hot 100 in Las Vegas.” Could you give us a little insight as to who you take care of?

Sean Dunn: I’ll tell you who my favorite client is. He doesn’t mind because he flashes everyone the inside of his jacket because we put their names on the jacket and then he shows everyone his ass because he loves how his ass fits in our stuff. Jon Gray over at The Palms is probably my favorite client to work with because he’s so creative and heavily involved in everything. Like when we sit down, he’s not just like, “I need a blue blazer.” It’s like we sit down and we really, really find a cool blue that no one else has and then we do some cool understated details and then we put it together with these rad red pants or just different stuff. He pushes me and I push him so it’s a great collaboration piece. I’m so used to working with a lot of guys who are just like, “You take care of it.” That’s great because I want a part of our services to be the convenience of “Let us own you, let us own your closet, we’ll take care of it, don’t worry about it,” but from a creative design side it’s really cool to get those clients who are like, “This is what I want to do.” They pull the pictures out, they kind of have their own inspirations and to actually make that come to fruition, they’re like “Wow, I can’t believe that turned out so cool.” That to me is really, really rewarding.

Marc Jay: How long have you been in Las Vegas?

Sean Dunn: This summer will be my fifth year.

Marc Jay: And what were you doing before you actually came here?

Sean Dunn: I grew up on the East Coast in Pennsylvania. In 2000 I joined the military. I got relocated out to the West Coast in 2000 in the marines. Once my wife and I got out of the military we were in San Diego for about two years and just kind of working, going through school and then for some reason we had that pull to Vegas. My wife and I relocated up here in 2005 and finished up at UNLV. While I was going to school I got into retail and I worked for Donna Karan and that’s where I really kind of fell in love with the whole men’s and women’s fashion. Women were my biggest clients but I really enjoyed working with men’s clothing because it was such an underserviced market – and it still is to this day. I mean, even though there’s a lot of menswear, there aren’t a lot of menswear designers out there who really help men.

Marc Jay: So if anyone wants to get in contact with you, is there a website where they can track you down? How can they find you?

Sean Dunn: The main company website is astorandblack.com or you can also go to astorandblackvegas.com, which is a little more local. So we have our national website and then I have my local website that kind of showcases some of the stuff we’ve done locally along with some clients in LA and stuff like that.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter!

 

Dinner with the Top DJs in Las Vegas

posted on 03.05.2010

This week, I’ve discovered a kind of undercover meeting place for the guys who are considered some of the biggest DJs in Las Vegas. It seems like they go out every Tuesday, on the DL, and tonight, I’m going to be joining them at the place they go out for a nice steak dinner. Out of all the hotels they could pick to go and eat, and you know there are some beautiful hotels in Las Vegas, they’ve chosen make their undercover meeting place at the Las Vegas Hilton. The Las Vegas Hilton goes back to Elvis Presley’s days; in fact, there’s a statue of him outside. I think this hotel is about 60 or 70 years old, so not the sort of place where you’d think these guys would hang out. They just come here to relax and talk about clubs, music, drinking, and women, so it’s a really unique experience to be a part of.

Marc Jay: So I get to TJ’s Steakhouse and the first DJ I bump into is the famous, and French, Mr. Chris Garcia. Tell us how you’re doing tonight.

Chris Garcia: Very good, actually. I’m really happy to meet all these guys for an amazing dinner.

Marc Jay: I was telling the listeners earlier that this is like a secret club you guys have that no one knows about at a kind of old school hotel, but tell us, what’s going on with your life? Where are you playing now?

Chris Garcia: I usually play Drai’s in town, but I play a lot out of town now.

Marc Jay: Where have you been in, say, the last six months?

Chris Garcia: Everywhere. I played in San Francisco last week, I play in San Diego this weekend coming up, I will play in Brazil in April and I’ll be in Miami, of course, for the WMC. I played in Europe, like at the end of the last year in December and I will go back to Europe in May. A lot of stuff is going on. Between my agency in Europe, Darkness, and my agency in the USA, SKAM Artist, a lot of stuff is going on.

Marc Jay: So tell us, how do people find you? Do you have a website or a Myspace? I know SKAM has a website…

Chris Garcia: Yeah, I’m on the SKAM website, of course, but I have my personal website too – it’s DJchrisgarcia.com – and I got Myspace, I got Twitter, Facebook, everything.

Marc Jay: Now I love Chris Garcia for one reason: he made Tao Beach at the beginning; he was like the superstar of Tao Beach. Every Sunday he’d put these songs on and people would just go crazy. Do you think we will see you at any pool parties this summer?

Chris Garcia: Yeah, we will work on that. SKAM actually will work on that, but probably yes.

Marc Jay: I hope so – they’ve just got to pay the right bucks.

***

Marc Jay: So, one of the legends in Las Vegas is joining me at the table now, after eating his Lobster Bisque, DJ Eddie McDonald. Hello, Eddie.

Eddie McDonald: Hello, Marc.

Marc Jay: So, I know you’re all over the place and playing in many clubs, but what are you up to at present?

Eddie McDonald: Still trucking along with The Light Group, going on my 12th-13th year with Andrew and currently at JET and The Bank.

Marc Jay: I would say you must be their longest employee by far, in Vegas for sure.

Eddie McDonald: I might have Michael Ray beat, but me and Neva, Neva’s had about a month more on the company than me.

Marc Jay: You seem to have your finger on the dance music pulse in Las Vegas, and really all types of music. How do you see Vegas nightlife? What is it up to at the moment?

Eddie McDonald: I see with a lot of the music in the clubs that the tempo is changing. It’s getting much more danceable and steering away from the slow hip hop. The mashup vibe is going more towards the house music direction again, you know, which is good.

Marc Jay: Now you’re one of the guys responsible for opening up Haze and kind of, you know, giving them your inside information. Anyone who hasn’t seen Haze, it’s amazing. It’s in the CityCenter, honestly it cost like $60 million or $80 million to build, is that right?

Eddie McDonald: I think that’s about right.

Marc Jay: Tell me about the club. I know you opened up with Tiesto, David Guetta, I mean you’re booking the biggest acts there. Who else is coming, can you tell us?

Eddie McDonald: You know what, I don’t know if I can actually [laughs]… I just don’t know. I do the special events – when Tiesto would be there, and on their house music nights I’ll be their opening DJ – but other than that, I’m not too heavily involved with that property.

Marc Jay: You’ve been spinning for so long, so you probably know all of the best parties. Tell us about your favorite nights in Vegas? What nights stand out from the rest of them?

Eddie McDonald: Tiesto nights, for sure, have been legendary. Other than that, um…

Marc Jay: What about your own gigs, which ones stick out in your mind?

Eddie McDonald: I would say my New York gigs. My first residency at JET Lounge was huge for me, and then one-offs I’ve done at places like Sound Factory, The Tunnel and Limelight. They’re all legendary places that are no longer around, so I’m glad I got to be involved with those places, even for a night or two.

Marc Jay: So, you moved from New York to Las Vegas – when did you move and what made you come here?

Eddie McDonald: I moved here in February of 2002, and I moved out here to open up Light Nightclub at the Bellagio for Andrew and I’ve been with it ever since. It worked out really well and, you know, I miss Jersey and the East Coast, but I love my life out here and I’m glad I’ve been able to maintain a career in DJing with a good company.

Marc Jay: Back in the college days, did you always know you wanted to be a DJ, or did you have a passion for something else?

Eddie McDonald: I always had a passion for music. I wanted to get involved with radio when I started going to college, but the DJing thing really took off. I started doing it, saved every bit of money to buy my own equipment, and I started when I was about 13 or 14 and luckily I made some good moves and met the right people, and it worked out well for me.

Marc Jay: What equipment do you work on these days?

Eddie McDonald: I’m still on the Serato, hung up the turntables for the most part, using CDJs, and you know, I prefer a mixer or something with knobs, which people laugh at me about, but I deal with the 800. I like the Pioneer 800.

Marc Jay: I remember years ago when I used to book DJs at RA, I’d turn up at the airport to meet Skribble and he’d turn up with probably about 15 suitcases of records. Things obviously have changed now, but do you miss the old days and the feeling of vinyl and playing on records?

Eddie McDonald: Absolutely. I totally miss hunting for records and finding that record you’ve been looking for. There’s not that excitement anymore; hunting down an MP3 is much easier than hunting down a piece of vinyl that might be limited or a promo copy. I feel bad for a lot of the guys who never got to experience that. Just as much as we talk shop now, getting a new laptop or getting the new Serato update, we used to discuss, “Where did you get that luggage cart to carry all those records?” I totally miss that even though Serato and the digital age of DJing has made it much easier than carrying 500 records with you at every gig. It has its pros and cons, but I miss the good old days.

Marc Jay: It’s funny because I grew up opposite a place called Black Market Records in London, and these record shops were almost like coffee shops for DJs, where people would just go and talk about music. That must be a thing of the past now.

Eddie McDonald: Yeah, it’s a shame. You used to spend days at record stores and the one I ran in New York was like that. We would have couches in the back and we’d hand out Redbulls and stuff like that. People would bring in a six-pack and just hang out and you’d make a day out of it. Now you can have that to a certain extent; you can have your friends over your house to swap files and stuff like that, but still, it’s not the same.

Marc Jay: So if people want to find you and listen to your music, how can they do that?

Eddie McDonald: I’m at JET Saturday nights, I’m at The Bank Thursday nights, I’ll be starting Gold Lounge at CityCenter starting next Friday, and that’s it. I’m in the process of finishing up my first two tracks in the studio and those will be posted on my Myspace account (myspace.com/eddiemcdonald), so there will be a music update soon.

***

Marc Jay: So at the dinner table is the incredible Mr. DJ Faarsheed. So tell us, Mr. Faarsheed, you’re obviously another Vegas legend and have played at hundreds of clubs here and everyone adores you – and me too. What’s going on in your life? Where are you playing right now?

DJ Faarsheed: First of all, I adore you, Mr. Marc Jay. I am travelling a little bit and working a lot in the studio, I’ve got an album deal with Pacha Recordings and I have done the first four tracks – two originals and two remixes.

Marc Jay: Now let me tell everyone out there, honestly, this guy changed my life when it came to dance music in Vegas. When we were working together you created nights – I don’t take drugs, and never have done them – but basically on those nights I was like on a roller coaster. Do you remember those nights? How did you make them so special?

DJ Faarsheed: We all made them special. I think just the group we had at Ice was amazing and it was an amazing club and it was here at the right time, you know. The timing was perfect for Vegas to have something like that. Vegas was finally ready and we just had the right setup – we had the right sound, amazing DJs and an amazing cast of workers, so that made it a lot of fun. I miss those nights just like you do.

Marc Jay: I remember the times at night when we would just switch on the fog machine and literally you couldn’t see anything, it was like you were covered in a cloud and those times I’d just run to the dance floor and just hug somebody. It was always good fun.

DJ Faarsheed: There were times I would run out from the DJ booth while I was playing, to get on the floor, that’s how fun it was.

Marc Jay: I also remembered a time when we’d be closing that club like at 10, sometimes 11 in the morning, and I’d be walking around with a cup of tea and I’d literally come back in the club and see you in there, jumping up and down, spinning, and your girlfriend dancing around. It was almost like a camp for kids, but we’re all adults at nightclubs. It was like a gang of us who would all go there, like the Cheers of the nightclub world.

DJ Faarsheed: It was our Chuck E. Cheese [laughs].

Marc Jay: It was just so much fun. So I know you just signed this deal, you have a couple of tracks coming out. Where can people track you down now?

DJ Faarsheed: Right now, a lot of these tracks are already out on iTunes and Beatport and then also I have a monthly show, a podcast on iTunes, which is free, and every month I do a podcast – either a new mix from myself, whether it’s live or a new mix that I made in the studio, or friends. Last month I had Paul Harris of Dirty Vegas on the show, so there’s a lot of friends and other DJs and producers that I’ve had on the show. So you can find me there or check the schedule and see where I’m playing every month.

Marc Jay: What’s your website? How can people follow you?

DJ Faarsheed: Faarsheed.com or facebook.com/faarsheed, either one of those.

Marc Jay: Wonderful. Now let’s talk a bit about your background. When you were growing up and going to college, did you always want to be a DJ, or was there another profession you wanted to do?

DJ Faarsheed: I mean, I always loved electronic music. I always loved music in general growing up and I started messing with it in later years of high school and early years of college, and throughout college I just burned a lot of CDs for friends, just like how everyone else starts. I don’t know if you remember Stevie B, he did a lot of freestyle music back in the ‘90s, and he got me started. He was a family friend and gave me a radio show, an internet radio show, which was, at the time, something new. It was an internet radio show which basically played electronic music for the world and I didn’t even have a clue how to mix. He just put me on there and said, “Play the music that you burn for everybody.” And that’s how it all started.

Marc Jay: You’re from California, right? So how did you end up in Las Vegas?

DJ Faarsheed: I grew up there and then for college I came out here to go to UNLV and study computer science. When I graduated from UNLV I decided that I just want to do what I love to do and start DJing, and then I did that and had all the residencies in Vegas and started producing a few years ago.

Marc Jay: How would you describe your style of music? For people who haven’t heard you before, tell us about the kind of journey you take people on when you DJ.

DJ Faarsheed: I mean, it’s electronic, I can say that, but besides that I really can’t pinpoint it or label it just cause it’s so many different styles, as you’ve heard at Ice when we had those long nights. It starts out really chill and sometimes gets banging or tribal-y, just so many different styles that I like. If you check out the podcast, you’ll see that I love producing ambient music and chill-out music as well.

Marc Jay: Now I remember paying some of these other DJs, these superstar DJs, you know, tens of thousands of dollars to play for two hours and you’d come along and play for eight hours. How do you have the stamina to play there for eight hours? What keeps you up there?

DJ Faarsheed: The love of the music.

Marc Jay: Very good answer. Well is there anything else I should be asking? Anything else that’s going on in your life?

DJ Faarsheed: I’m getting married in May.

Marc Jay: Wow, very good things going on in your life.

DJ Faarsheed: And I have to say, you’re pretty good at this, Marc. We’ve worked together for many years and I know you’re a jack of many trades and good at many things, but I didn’t know you were so good at this as well.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter!


 

T-shirts for a Good Cause: Interview with Shea Mullen of Give and Take

posted on 02.26.2010

Marc Jay: I’ve come down to Project Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay to see my dear friends, Shea and JJ, who have quite recently started a new line called “Give and Take,” which is a wonderful charity t-shirt company. I’m going to have Shea explain a little bit more, since it’s kindof new to me, so Shea tell us what you’re doing here at Project today.

Shea Mullen: We’re showing our line “Give and Take,” which we are very proud of. We’ve had it on the market for about two years and it’s something very close to my heart. It started out about my story. I had been designing t-shirts for about 15 years and was looking to do something more authentic and positive. I have multiple sclerosis, I have a nephew with epilepsy, and my mom died of cancer, but my parents always taught me to turn my challenges into something positive, so I thought, what can I do with that? I was thinking and then one day I saw a college-aged kid wearing a t-shirt that said “1979 Dance-a-thon for Leukemia” and I went up to him and said, “Where did you get your shirt? It fits great, it’s a perfect wash, great graphic…” and he said, “Oh, I got it at Goodwill.” So it was a real shirt, it had been a real event and I thought these charities, these domestic American charities, are being sort of forgotten about – like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy or the American Heart Association – so why don’t I contact these organizations and see if I can recreate events they did or make up some fictitious ones that would have been events to raise money and create t-shirts around it and donate money back. I’d bring them to the stores that I’ve sold to, great department stores and boutiques that will raise awareness and get a whole new demographic talking about autism and talking about these challenges. So I just started calling them and working with them and now what started out with my story has become about other people’s stories, which is my favorite part of the whole business. I get emails from people every day saying, “I bought your shirt because…” Some just say “It’s a cool shirt, I love how it fits,” but most people say they bought it because of their relationship to one of the causes or their boyfriend’s niece has epilepsy or their mom had cancer, and I love that. I love that it’s become other people’s stories. Then, we started reaching out more globally. We started out with domestic charities and now we’re working with Charlize Theron’s organization. Her team is unbelievable to work with. They are very sincere and want to help build soccer fields or bring water wells to South Africa and it’s just been a privilege and honor to work with them. The exciting thing is doing the benefits – Live Aid, USA for Africa, Freddy Mercury, and Conspiracy of Hope – all these concerts that in the ‘80s, when I was growing up, those were my experiences with giving back. We’re kind of reminding a new generation about it and it’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun.

Marc Jay: So, with the name “Give and Take” you are truly giving with every t-shirt you sell. What is the percentage and how does it work? Does it go to a specific charity and how does somebody know which charity the money from the t-shirt is going to?

Shea Mullen: Whatever the graphic is, the money from the shirt goes specifically to that charity. We do put a tag on every shirt that tells what charity the money is going to and their website. We do this because we hope to start a conversation and a dialogue with people. Even though they might just be buying a cool shirt, we hope that maybe they’ll look up that organization and get involved.

Marc Jay: I know many people out there will want to go and buy these t-shirts, where can they pick one up?

Shea Mullen: You can buy them from our website, which is www.giveandtaketees.com, or we sell to Bloomingdale’s, Scoop, Fred Segal, Kitson, and a lot of great small boutiques across America, independent stores that are supporting us, which is wonderful.

Marc Jay: Now, you produce and manufacture the t-shirts, but who comes up with the designs?

Shea Mullen: I do all the designing. Some of the organizations have great archives, like the Boys and Girls Club, which is a very old organization, so we’re able to pull from their archives. Live Aid or USA for Africa also have a lot of original artwork. I design most of the others and make them look like they’re old and then we manufacture them in LA.

Marc Jay: Are you actually based out of LA?

Shea Mullen: I’m from Pittsburgh and I still live there. My design office is in Pittsburgh, but my business partner, JJ, is in New York, so I spend a lot of time in New York and we spend time in LA, so we kind of have three offices.

Marc Jay: How important is it coming to Project in Las Vegas and what other shows do you go to?

Shea Mullen: We go to Coterie in New York, which is more of a women-driven show. Project and Coterie are our two most important shows of the year.

Marc Jay: You mentioned that the company is two years old. What were you doing before and how did you fall into the t-shirt line?

Shea Mullen: I was designing t-shirts privately for stores and then this has been our own brand. JJ’s been on board for a year, so it’s still pretty fresh and we keep adding to it. Just this season we started doing Glad Rags which feature hobo symbols from the depression era, which have this great, interesting history behind them and sayings from the depression era which are, unfortunately, very timely right now like, “Waste Not Want Not” or “Wanted: A Decent Job,” and those go back to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. During the holidays I was very proud of what we were doing, helping the MS Society and epilepsy and the Boys and Girls Club, but I kept thinking about parents who couldn’t afford to buy their children presents for Christmas because they were out of work or they were losing their homes. I kept thinking that there are people who are cold right now, there are people who are actually on the street cold and I’m in my warm home – what can I do for that? So, that’s one of our newest collections, "Glad Rags” and then also the National Parks Foundation, which there’s a lot of talk about because Ken Burns did a documentary and the National Parks is considered America’s best idea. It was really a great concept and we have these beautiful parks that we need to save. I think we’ve started out with something and we just keep branching out and trying to help as much as we can. The bottom line in our office every day is “is it good for the charity?” We know, in turn, if it’s good for the charity, it’s good for us. We want to raise money for them, but we also want to raise awareness. We hope we’re introducing some of these things to new generations and different demographics.

Marc Jay: How many different designs do you currently have in your collection?

Shea Mullen: Oh, wow… [laughs]

Marc Jay: Basically there’s something for everyone?

Shea Mullen: Absolutely. You have a great point there, it’s something for everybody. The person who’s really interested in vintage athletics will love our tees, someone who loves rock ‘n roll will love our Freddy Mercury and our Live Aid t-shirts and then we have some more whimsical, colorful or girly ones. I think there’s something for everyone and there’s a cause for everyone, too.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter!

 

24/7 House: Exclusive Interview with Edgar Arana of XRadio

posted on 02.19.2010

Las Vegas is known for its wild nightlife, so it comes as no surprise that the house music scene here is flourishing as well. This week I had the chance to catch up with Edgar Arana from XRadio.biz House, an internet radio station that is literally house music, all day every day. I got to check out the studio, based right here in Las Vegas, and heard all about the station’s DJs, upcoming plans and success in the house music world. Here’s what Edgar Arana had to say…

Marc Jay: I’m here with Edgar at XRadio.biz one of the newest radio stations in Vegas and we’re here for your primetime show, would that be right?

Edgar Arana: Yeah, the show is 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, on XRadio.biz/house.

Marc Jay: This is an interesting radio station because 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, you are playing nothing but house music.

Edgar Arana: That’s correct. We started with XRadio.biz as a variety radio station and based on the feedback from all of our listeners, we grew open to launching XRadio.biz/house, which is going to be dedicated to house music 24/7, seven days a week, with local DJs here from Las Vegas as well as renowned DJs from around the world.

Marc Jay: Obviously, most of the people that read this on Clubplanet don’t necessarily live in Las Vegas, but this is an internet radio station accessible to anyone throughout the world, correct?

Edgar Arana: Right, this is an internet radio station… basically we are a radio station broadcasting on the internet and creating a network for the mainstream of independent music. So we function as a full-blown radio station but we decided just to broadcast via the internet.

Marc Jay: Now, years ago it went from AM and then to FM and now everyone listens to Satellite radio. Do you think the next generation will only be listening to radio on the internet, and if so, when do you think that would that happen? Will people be able to get internet radio in their cars?

Edgar Arana: Based on some marketing and studies that we have done, internet is a basic utility for people, like power or water; it’s a daily necessity. Also in studies on radio, FM is going to be fading away and we’re going to move towards internet broadcasting to reach audiences worldwide instead of just focusing on the local market.

Marc Jay: So your show is on from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., but tell us about the other DJs and the other shows you have.

Edgar Arana: Currently, on the house station during the week, we have Jeremy Womack, who does a variety show, a talk show promoting all of the house DJs. He goes from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Then we have Rick Rosen doing a sports show for MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. The reason they’re on the house station is because MMA uses house music as the background for all their fights. Then they follow from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. with “Global House Life” and then we have a DJ from the UK, Damien Jay, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. playing “On the Street of Grooves.” During the weekends we have DJs going from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. mixing live in our studios.

Marc Jay: Now I know you’ve mentioned that special guests come in. Who are some of the guests you’ve had come through the studio in recent months?

Edgar Arana: We’ve recently had Rob De Boer and Bad Boy Bill and we’ve had Darude. We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls; actually, Gabriel & Dresden just called last week, so we also do phone interviews and chat interviews. We also have DJ Chris Garcia on our roster, as well as Luca aka “Digital Boy” as part of our roster and Darude has signed up with us as well. So we’re going to be talking to other DJs, I can’t name that right now, but we’re in negotiations with world-renowned DJs that are favored here in Vegas. We’re going to be having a network show, basically broadcasted from wherever the DJs are in the world. When they’re local here in Las Vegas they can come to the studio and play live, but if they’re touring – Mexico, London, France, or wherever – they’re going to be broadcasting from wherever they are.

Marc Jay: So my understanding is that these DJs can be in their homes, on the other side of the world, and be doing an hour show for you, live from their country and you’ll be transmitting it from here.

Edgar Arana: That’s correct.

Marc Jay: Wonderful. So, what were you doing before you started doing house music radio? I know you’ve always been a house music junkie – I used to see you in the clubs jumping up and down with your glow sticks – how did you get into dance music?

Edgar Arana: I got into dance music back in 1990 by watching DJ Taylor back in L.A. He used to play at a club called Fantasia inside The Westin Bonaventure Hotel. I used to carry his records inside and outside of the club and I fell in love with what he was doing back then with the old house music, like C+C Music Factory, Frankie Bones, Tony B, Richard Vission and all of those guys. He actually trained me to open for him and since then I’ve been involved with the house music genre, either directly as a DJ or as a marketing person to promote house music.

Marc Jay: I understand that XRadio has some events coming up and you also do your own events and promote. What events have you done in the past and what do you have coming up?

Edgar Arana: Currently we have “We Love House” at Blush every Wednesday, where we have local DJs as well as international DJs come in to play. This particular Wednesday we have Tommy Lee and DJ Aero playing and we had Steve Aoki play a couple weeks ago. We also have a party at Sapphire, a “Listeners Appreciation Party,” and we’re also in negotiations with about five other clubs right now to do a house night for them.

Marc Jay: It’s funny, as we stand here inside XRadio, we look out of your windows and can see the Vegas skyline and the hotels. You’ve also got a lights and a disco ball in here… do you turn this into some sorty of a mini-club at night?

Edgar Arana: Actually, as soon as it gets a little dark, the lights go on, the disco ball fires up and it’s basically a mini-club here in the studio. We have glow-in-the-dark wallpaper [laughs] that has our logo on it, so it becomes like a party for DJs. We want the DJs to feel like they’re mixing at a club when they’re mixing here live. We give them that environment so that when they go back to the club they’re comfortable and ready to play for a club venue.

Marc Jay: It sounds like you’re enjoying yourself just as much as the people who are listening from their homes.

Edgar Arana: I have fun every day. We have a very interactive tool, we have a chat room. If you go to XRadio.biz/house and click on social network, you can check it out. I interact with my listeners via chat; that’s the new way of interacting with them. People don’t want to talk on the phone anymore, they don’t want to be calling in, so by interacting with them in the chat room it gives us feedback of what type of music they want to listen to, how we are doing with the shows, etc. We like to know what they want, music-wise, and we run our shows based on our customers’ feedback.

Marc Jay: I’m looking at it now and there must be 200 names up there, so you actually run this in a way where they do the programming? Can they select the songs they’d like to hear?

Edgar Arana: Yes. We do a lot of our mixes live, but we try to accommodate if somebody has a request and we try to mix it live for them. There are other shows that are pre-recorded and play during the wee hours of the night, like from midnight to 6 a.m., but we are going to be changing that. Right now we are in the process of hiring a 24/7 crew to be here with DJs. On the weekend they do one hour shows, live, every hour. During the week, during prime time, the shows can range from two hours to four hours each.

Marc Jay: So just to recap so people know, how can we find your show – the best show, I’m not being biased at all [laughs]. It’s on from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. but where can people go to find it?

Edgar Arana: It’s really easy just go to Xradio.biz/house, then click on “listen live” to hear the broadcast, and if you want to chat with me live then go to “social network” and go directly into the chat where you can interact with me.

Marc Jay: And my final question, for the people who listen to this outside of Vegas, do you give them advice or tips on where to go out?

Edgar Arana: We do that during my show as well as Damien’s show, but we have a show dedicated to that with Jeremy Womack, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. He’s the guru of the nightlife here who instructs and gives ideas to all the people listening around the world, what’s hot and what’s happening at the clubs and hotels here in Las Vegas. So he spends four hours daily discussing what hotels to go to, food, restaurants, nightclubs, parties, etc.

Click here to follow Marc Jay on Twitter!


 

First  Previous  1  2  3  4  5  ...  Next  Last  
Register
InstaGood: The Best of Diplo's Instagram
We search through your favorite DJ's Instagrams and dig up the good stuff. This time we perused...
Clubplanet Radio Episode 028 with guest TOM TYGER
Clubplanet Radio is back for episode 28 today. Our special guest joining host Mike...
WATCH: Skream On The Demise Of Dubstep and How He Is Taking A Stand
Oliver 'Skream' Jones opens up to THUMP in their recent mini-documentary Come With...
REVIEW: Good Vibes And Good Times, 30 Things I Learned At Electric Forest
Having changed the way music is experienced, music festivals have become a huge part of American...
Clubplanet Radio Episode 027 with guest LA RIOTS
Clubplanet Radio kicks off your weekend with episode 27 today. Our special guest joining...
Gorgeous Girls Go Ga-Ga for Gucci… and I Go Ga-Ga for Gorgeous Girls
Most charity parties are usually balanced equally between males and females. This is probably...
Jay-Z Throws Beyonce a Bangin’ Birthday Bash
In an orchid-filled room, hip-hop king Jay-Z threw his R&B queen Beyonce a huge birthday bash...
Top Fashion’s Night Out Parties
Fashion week is upon us, and aside from the fashion shows and godly celebrity sightings, we always...
From Hobbit to Hot Beats: Introducing DJ Elijah Wood
Take a moment to think about all the Hollywood actors that have ventured to the dark side of actor...
Danielle Staub Celebrates her Brithday at Scores
Everyone saw that epic screamfest at the end of season 1 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. It...
www.clubplanet.com on Facebook