BeBe Sweetbriar’s FAME :: DJ Derek Monteiro -- Beats, birthdays and Pornstar
It doesn’t hurt to be charming, witty, great looking and have a great ear for dance music the crowd loves when you want to spin music. DJ Derek Monteiro possesses these qualities that he has put to practice over the past decade at some of the best nightclubs and venues in the country.
Originally from East Coast (Boston), Monteiro moved to California 9 years ago on his 20th birthday to plant his roots and start his music/dance career in Los Angeles. In West Hollywood he’s been a resident DJ at both the Abbey and Mickey’s, and played as well at Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party. Recently Derek spun music at the annual Halloween bash at the famed Playboy Mansion.
It is also no wonder that a man with such rhythm and sexy good looks has been a back-up dancer for pop-dance queens such as Britney Spears and Billboard’s #1 Dance Chart goddess Erika Jayne. I caught Derek at home between gigs and before his trip up to San Francisco to spin at Andre Shannon’s Pornstar party on January 22nd. Here’s what the 29-year old Monteiro, on the verge of international stardom, had to say.
BB: Now, you are based out of Los Angeles but you are an East coast boy, correct?
Derek: Yes, I grew up in Boston and got here on my 20th birthday. In a couple of weeks is my birthday, January 14th, and it will be 9 years I’ve lived in L.A.
BB: Wow. Quite a cultural difference, right?
Derek: Oh my God! I was born in Boston but I actually grew up outside of the city about 45 miles in a little town with about 15,000-20,000 people or somewhere around there. And you know the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Well, that’s my family. (Laughing) There’s not one fucking difference between that movie and my family except for the fact that they are Greek and I’m Portuguese. That would be growing up, so coming here to L.A. I was just like I just wanted to be me... be gay, be happy and do whatever the fuck I wanted to do. It was completely different, but I absolutely loved it.
Searching for boobies
BB: But you don’t miss the snow do you?
Derek: Nooooo! I don’t mind a nice visit every now and again, but every time I leave to come back, I’m so happy. I almost feel bad because I’m so happy to get back.
BB: I would have hated to have grown up back there and have had to shovel that stuff (snow). No way! So, did you start your DJ career when you moved to L.A.? And what got you started being a DJ?
Derek: I actually started back on the East Coast. I wasn’t like working at all, even when I first moved out here, I had never booked a job DJing yet. It was just something that back home I got into after hanging out with my brother’s friends. They all used to go to raves all over the East Coast every weekend. I would go to different parties and see like major DJs, and I just fell in love with House music because of my older friends.
We would go every weekend and drive to D.C. -- that’s as far south as we went -- and as far up to Maine and every state in between and heard some amazing DJs and fell in love with it. My friends were DJs so I would spend time with them playing, watch turntables, and started going record shopping with them and literally plopped myself in my bedroom. Then I moved out here (California) with all my stuff and pursued DJing. Rage (West Hollywood nightclub) ended up hiring me in the backroom and it has kind of flourished since.
BB: What would you say are some of the exciting places being a professional DJ you’ve been?
Derek: One the exciting places was the Playboy Mansion. I played the Halloween party there last year. And I don’t even like boobies, but for some reason when I walked into the Playboy Mansion, I liked boobies all of a sudden. That whole aura...t hat’s kind of a joke... the vibe, I mean, it’s the Playboy Mansion. That was probably one of the coolest things.
BB: Did you see Hugh Hefner?
Derek: I didn’t see him. I was working half the time, and then I was running around...
BB: Searching for boobies, no doubt).
Derek: (Laughing) I didn’t see him, just a bunch of random people. I think they have a couple of Halloween parties, so I don’t know if that was the major, major one. But so many people were in costume you really couldn’t tell who was who.
His taste in music?
BB: Well, how would you describe the music that you spin?
Derek: Definitely House music with vocals, but I like all kinds of music. I like it deep, hard and funky...
BB: We are talking about the music, right?
Derek: Yes, but I also like vocals. I like tribal. It just has to make you feel something.
BB: It has to get into your soul, huh?
Derek: Yes, get into my soul. It’s almost like my first analogy... fun and funky, sometimes hard and sometimes in your face, or sometimes beautiful. (Laughing) My friend said that to me the other day, and I started laughing so hard. I said I am going to say that the next time in an interview and they are going to laugh so hard...
BB: And I did.
Derek: He said I play like my personality. You know kind of hard... It depends on the vibe and what’s going on because I play a lot events. I’m not just a circuit DJ. I love hip-hop, so I have nights where I will go to North Hollywood where it is so ghetto and I will play like straight hip-hop all night. But my main thing is definitely House music.
BB: I don’t know why, but I’m digging Diddy-Dirty Money right now. There’s not a moment I am not thinking of one of those songs on the CD. I think it’s one of his best in a really long time.
Derek: Yeah, it’s really good. It’s really nice.
BB: You also remix, don’t you?
Derek: That’s very, very new. I just did my first. I’ve done a couple mash-ups and stuff which isn’t really considered original projects because you are just mashing up the songs and putting vocals over it. But me and a buddy just did a remix of Erika Jayne’s One Hot Pleasure, and that was like one of my first or second original remix. So that’s very new and something I am going to be spending more time on.
BB: I really love her (Erika Jayne). I’ve actually had an opportunity to interview her and hang out with her for awhile. So, that (One Hot Pleasure) is your current hot project right now?
Derek: Yes. I’m definitely trying to do more. I mean I am continuing to do and get gigs, and travel. My name is doing well out there, definitely a long way for me to go, but I am happy where I am right now. But the other night I was DJing at the Abbey, and I was like, God, I want to play this song, but there’s not a good mix to it out there that suits my style.
I said, fuck, I need to remix it.
BB: What artists would you like to work with in doing a remix?
Derek: Hands down, as of right now, Robyn! She’s freaking me out! I’ve always liked her but for some reason the past month or two she’s grabbed the insides of me...
BB: Again, we’re talking music, right?
Derek: Yes. And tore me to pieces. I mean I am obsessed with her lately. It’s kind of funny. It freaks me out.
BB: See I remember Robyn back in the day.
Derek: So funny. I was looking up old video of her on YouTube from back in the mid 90s. She had these ghetto dancers backing her. Oh my God, I remembered the song. I just didn’t put it together that it was her.
BB: She’s really turned her career around. I think Billboard named her Body Talk album the top dance album of 2010.
Derek: That’s actually amazing.
BB: You’re coming to Pornstar in a few weeks in San Francisco at Club 8. Have you ever played Club 8 before?
Derek: I’ve never played there. I went there after my gig at Fresh Ruby Skye (December 2010).
BB: I think the crowd will definitely enjoy the type of music you play, because they definitely will feel it. It’s not so big where the beats get lost.
Derek: Yes. I am excited to play there. I went there and it was fun, everyone was just dancing and a good vibe. It was definitely, from a DJ’s stand point, a place where everyone was there to dance and have fun. I said this is great for the DJ... what I like to see.
BB: Now, what have you heard about Andre’s Pornstar party? Keep it clean... (laughing).
Derek: Yeah, I was like ’I have to go now’ (laughs). Oh my God, what have I heard? I heard it’s dark and dirty, which for me is amazing, musically. And I heard something about blowjobs in the corners and no girls. And I was laughing hysterically with a big smile on my face.
BB: I’ve been a supporter of Pornstar since Andre started it a couple of years ago (for obvious reasons). His being from the East Coast as well, it has taken some time for the West crowds to grab on to that hard, dark music, but it has come into it’s own lately. I am expecting a fabulous crowd. And with porn stars Ricky Sinz and Race Cooper there I can’t imagine anything less than fabulous.
Derek: Well, I love a good old dirty time. I’m absolutely excited. Any amount of dirtiness I can add to the night, makes me nothing more than excited (laughs).
BB: You shouldn’t have even gone there! All I’m going to see is you push ’play’ and leave. I’m gonna say ’where’s Derek?’ (laughing).
Derek: Bring a flashlight to the corner, you’ll find him.
BB: There’s nothing like finding out what people like to feel on the dance floor than experiencing it for yourself, so to speak. If you are half as good in the corner as you are at the turntables, Derek, you may have another career ahead of you befitting the name of Andre Shannon’s party.
DJ Derek Monteiro will be the featured DJ at PORNSTAR on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at Club 8 in San Francisco. www.aspornstar.com. Prior to that, Derek wll be celebrating his birthday at the Abbey in West Hollywood on January 14, 2011, 9pm - 2am. He will also be playing at Mickey’s in West Hollywood on January 28, 2011, 9pm - 4am. For more information about Derek, visithis website.