March 6th, 2009 | by NILINA MASON-CAMPBELL Music | Posted In: Columns, Columns, Columns

Hang the DJ: Remy the Restless

     
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remy Fresh from casino capital Las Vegas, new PDX residents Remy the Restless and MDY sell tattoo machines by day and set the decks alight by night. I first heard of the duo in a recommendation from Holocene co-owner Scott McLean and met the pair myself at the Atole and E*Rock edition of Portland Makes Music. Today we're talking to one-half of the duo, Remy the Restless. Remy (short for real name Remington) submits to the usual and then some as we delve into the differences between the Las Vegas club scene where party photographers are a dime a dozen and what's a brewing in the Rose City. Luckily, he also manages to find the time to give supercalifragilisticexpialidocious a run for its money in the endless syllables department when it comes to describing his signature genre.

How did you decide on your DJ name?
Remy the Restless was a name I was half given, half made up in high school. When I started DJing I was mostly fooling around, playing gigs before I really knew anything, and just carried it over. I never wanted a "DJ ________" name because I didn't think of myself as "a DJ"; it was less something I was and more something I did... If that makes any sense...

As the Rapture say, "People don't dance no more, they just stand there like this." How often do you encounter this?
The first hour or two of any event might be a little touch and go, but after that I don't really encounter that much anymore. I don't see many crowds that didn't come out to cut loose. That being said, I won't really dance if I'm not into the music and [I] don't expect others to either.

Ideal crowd?
The ideal crowd is all of my friends, and most of their friends, and some of their friends, and then about that many total strangers who really wanna get a solid drunk on and dance to some classic and obscure dance music.

How do you feel about requests?
It really depends on the context. If its an intimate crowd of people I know, and who know their music, a request is totally cool. But if I'm in the middle of a set in front of a crowd of people who're obviously enjoying what I'm playing, its ridiculous to come up and ask for me to put on something totally different, something that obviously doesn't fit.

Do you have a story about a particular request or requester?
This is kind of long, so bear with me: I was DJing one of our monthly parties in Las Vegas and it was one of those freak nights in Vegas when it actually rained. The place was about half-full and there was this amazingly drunk middle-aged guy who kept feeding me oddball requests all night long. He'd stumble over every five or ten minutes after downing another drink and thinking really really hard about music he listened to before he'd turned his brain to mush and [then] blurt out some barely intelligible song title or band name. I think I even played one of the songs he requested, but he wasn't even paying attention. At some point, I told him I'd play him a request, but I've got one for him: a Jameson and coke. After he asked me "Huh?" a dozen or so times, he shuffled over to the bar. One of the bartenders shooed him away and told him he was cut off, but he kept trying to explain that the drink was for me. Eventually the bartender looked my way, I gave her a nod and she walked over with the drink and didn't end up taking the money. A few minutes later, he starts throwing wadded up singles at me, and growling at me, "You embarrassed me," "You go pay for it, here," "I like you, why do you hate me so much... I hate you" and getting worse and weirder from there. Meanwhile, I'm trying to mix with the bills falling all over the turntables and his spit hitting me in the face when all the sudden he hits me in the stomach. [It] totally caught me off-guard and half knocked the wind out of me. I cant remember if I grabbed the barback or someone else nearby but I just said "Go grab Karl." Karl's the sweet, lovable, big-ass black ex-cop who does the door, and I did little more than point to the guy before he was dragged out by his collar. I wasn't about to go chase the guy down in the street after that, so I uncrumpled the bills and had a drink in his honor.

Do you DJ full time? What do you do outside of DJing?
I don't DJ full time; I work at a small, handmade tattoo machine workshop where I sell the machines that get built. It's one of the main reasons I moved here in January...

Where can we find you venue wise?
Well, seeing as I just moved here with my DJ partner from Vegas—MDY—we haven't played out much here just yet, but Holocene has been more than kind to us. That's where you'll catch us tonight, opening for Adam Sparkles at Linger & Quiet's Nightclubbing party, and hopefully a lot more in the future.

How many times have you played Portland since moving here?
This will be our second [Portland] gig on Friday, actually, haha...

What are the biggest differences you're noticing between the club scene of Portland and Vegas?
Aside from a few select DJs in Vegas and only a few crowds there too, most that I came across didn't really even seem to like music. The DJs and the crowds were kind of just there to be seen and be cool. Here, I keep going to different venues, hearing different people spin and am always interested to hear what will be played next and pleased to see the crowds get into it.

Any word on a monthly?
Funny you should ask... MDY and I have been talking to a few people around town about some sort of ambitious plans for a monthly or two. We're taking our sweet time though, seeing what's already out there and making sure that we get the right group of people involved. I'm excited. Stay tuned.

How long have you been spinning?
Three years? I'm not even really sure. Things were kinda nuts in Vegas when I got started, I know that much.

What drew you to DJing originally?
I'd always been really into music and had sang for a bunch of bands growing up in Cleveland, OH. It's hard keeping a band together these days though. Since I wasn't a musician and couldn't pay [for] more than the tambourine, I couldn't really express many musical ideas aside from making mixtapes and playing records for friends. Eventually enough friends encouraged me to DJ that I just went for it. I think I agreed to co-DJ a monthly party with this guy Jared before I had even done a single gig. Like I said, it was kinda nuts at the time.

What are your thoughts on vinyl versus CDs versus laptops?
I don't care what people use so long as their song selection is solid, the sound is decent, people are into it and there's at least a little bit of performance to it. There's nothing pure about DJing to begin with.

What songs will we find ourselves dancing to with you?
Damn, that's a tough one... I don't wanna give away anything before tonight! Here's a handful of artists I'll be spinning - the songs themselves you'll just have to guess and hear: Skyy, T&T, The Hundred In The Hands, Aleem, Bottin, Grace Jones, Total Unity and maybe an Animal Collective edit that I wanna try out.

How would you describe yourself in five words or less—complete sentence or not:
Stoked to be in Portland.

How do you describe the genre(s) you play?
Cosmicitalospacewavediscoelectrosoulkrautfunkpostpunkboogie probably about covers it, genre-wise.

Who are your other favorite Portland DJs?
I haven't had much time to check out too many DJs, but aside from my fellow Vegas ex-pats like Standing 8 and DJ BJ/Manny, I've really dug Beyonda's two sets that I've heard and I'm looking forward to Linger & Quiet's selections this evening.

As you may have gathered, Remy the Restless will be spinning tonight alongside DJ partner MDY, Friday the 6th of March at Holocene as a part of Nightclubbing.

Links:
Remy the RestlessSpace
Monorail blog
The MonorailSpace

Photo care of Remy via MySpace
 
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