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MagicRockLA: Mixing Beats and Art

MagicRockLA discusses honing a craft, why celebrity DJs suck, and
the all-important passion-for-your-profession factor.

In LA, where the lure of fame is enough to pull almost anyone off track, DJ’s Magic Wong and Rock 1 are devoted, surprisingly, not to the glitz that comes along with their job, but to the craft itself. Operating together under the name MagicRockLA, the duo is the real vinyl-spinning deal. Everett Wong and Gerardo Machado (as they’re known outside of the booth) came to DJ-ing at a time when its cumbersome equipment and complicated mixing techniques eliminated all but the most eager to spin.

They explain, “The sheer number of DJ’s in the past few years has surged with the creation of programs such as Serato Scratch Live and Torque (digital DJ’ing programs).  Nowadays we find ourselves competing with celebrities who picked up these DJ computer programs from Guitar Center and loaded up all their MP3s.

We’ve lost plenty of gigs to guys like Ryan Gosling and Danny Masterson, guys who may or may not have become DJ’s if it weren’t for computer programs like Serato.”And if they’re unimpressed by celebrity DJs, they’re also unaffected by the hoopla surrounding the celebrity-filled events they often spin for (they provided the beats for the Twilight cast party, Tom Ford’s Christmas bash, and the CAA Golden Globes party). “We hope to share our interpretation of music with as many people as possible,” they say. “We never set out to play Hollywood events, these just happen to be the events that we get booked for being based in Los Angeles. We would rather spin for a crowd of 500 commoners than 200 of the most recognizable celebrities.”

We love what we do, so whenever we get excited about putting together an event or a mix, it is very hard to steer us off track.

Meeting at their job in the motion picture and television departments of International Creative Management, a top Hollywood talent agency, the two discovered their common interest in spinning and ran with it. After just one gig together, they landed a weekly residency at The Hideout, a Santa Monica bar, and soon they helped turn the location into a place to be. After a residency the top venue Republic, they were well on their way to a fully booked schedule. But if they didn’t cozy up to the Hollywood elite or cultivate an air of fame and unapproachability, how did Magic Wong and Rock 1 pull in some of the best gigs and biggest crowds in LA?First off, they understand the importance of collaboration, and they do it well.

They say, “We are always calling each other to bounce around different ideas …i.e. what new music we’ve heard in the past couple of days, or different mixing schemes which might be interesting. It definitely helps to have another person whom you trust listening to the new sounds you are experimenting with.  We respect each others’ opinions and give each other a lot of constructive criticism. That translates to our shows:  Our different styles of DJ-ing complement each other nicely and create enormous energy no matter the venue or event.”

And, then there’s the all-important passion-for-your-profession factor. They explain, “We love what we do, so whenever we get excited about putting together an event or a mix, it is very hard to steer us off track, which is true for pretty much all people who love what they do.”

But the thing that matters most? Their website says it best: “Magic Wong and Rock 1 attribute their ability to stylize and incorporate all genres of music as the main quality which separates them from most other DJs out there. “ Mixing Chester French with Ron Browz, as they have done, is not only unexpected, it’s key. And if unpredictable parings like that make them famous, so be it, but also, so what?

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