Recap: BPM Supreme CONNECT San Francisco
With J. Espinosa, Miles Medina, Panic City, Romeo Reyes, and Claksaarb
BPM Supreme’s newest event series, CONNECT, gives DJs and producers from all backgrounds and skill levels a place to network and learn from one another. Boasting the biggest turnout yet, the recent San Francisco event featured a candid Q&A session with some of the Bay Area’s best DJs: J. Espinosa, Miles Medina, Romeo Reyes, Panic City, and Claksaarb. Keep reading for more.
2X USA Red Bull 3Style Champ and Oakland Raiders Official in-game DJ, J. Espinosa, has been DJing for more than 19 years. He spoke about some of the struggles he’s faced throughout the years and offered great advice on what to do if you’re feeling stuck in a rut with your career:
“Everyone is on their own path, and everyone has been at a point where they feel like it’s a dead end. I felt like my path was stuck for a long time. I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something different with the Red Bull Music competition, and that changed everything for me,” Espinosa said.
DJ, producer, and 2017 Goldie Awards first place DJ Battle winner, Miles Medina is known for his exceptional turntable skills and for being an all-around humble dude. He added to Espinosa’s response with a bit of his own experience:
“One of the biggest struggles for me was simply putting limitations on myself. You have to get past your fears and the lies that you tell yourself and just have confidence. Once I was able to do that, things just started to take off,” Medina said.
Later in the conversation, Medina also touched on the importance of staying true to who you are and making art/music you care about:
“It needs to be authentic. Don’t just try to keep up with what other people are doing or what’s hot at the moment. I didn’t truly start being myself until probably a year ago,” Medina said. “As soon as I started being true to myself, the marketing took care of itself.”
Romeo Reyes is a DJ for the San Francisco 49ers, a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated radio show, Radio Bassment, and also has his own DJ networking and branding company. He was excited to share his opinion on the best ways DJs can take advantage of marketing:
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. At the end of the day, we all play music, so you have to find your specific mark,” Reyes said. “I’ve probably rebranded my DJ career four times. I had to do that to continue moving towards my goals.”
DJ and producer, Panic City, has released his original music on record labels like Mad Decent, Dim Mak, and Night Bass. He’s also been signed to leading talent booking agencies and provided some great insight on how to stand out as a DJ in a crowded industry:
“Find something that sets you apart; something for people to remember that will make them want to book you again. Maybe it’s your mic game, your production, or maybe you can perform a killer routine. Find that and cultivate it,” Panic City said.
The conversation then shifted to when it’s appropriate to turn down a DJ gig. Espinosa mentioned that it’s important to look at the other DJs that are playing the proposed venue and make sure it aligns with your goals and your overall brand strategy. Panic City said it’s important to be mindful of your schedule and not stretch yourself too thin while touring:
“Take care of your mental health. No one wants to talk about that topic because it’s a party scene, you know? But it’s important to take care of yourself first and say no when something just doesn’t make sense for you, physically or mentally,” Panic City said.
Chris Nguyen, a.k.a. Claksaarb is the Managing Partner of Bruno’s Nightclub in San Francisco, a popular venue in the city as well as the venue host for this CONNECT event. Claksaarb has been working in the industry as both a DJ and talent booker for more than 15 years. When we asked him to give his best advice for getting booked, his response didn’t disappoint:
“There are no shortcuts. You need to be a true DJ first. Know how to open, know how to close, and bring the energy. You can play whatever you want, but it has to be lit. If you build it, they will come,” Claksaarb said.
“Also, it’s important to go out and show face. You don’t have to kiss a** but show respect. You could be the best DJ in the world but if no one knows you, that doesn’t matter,” Claksaarb added.
Reyes added a valuable conclusion to this saying, “Hang out at the places you want to play – plain and simple.”
As the Q&A came to a close, we asked the guys who they consider to be their favorite DJ of all time. While it was difficult for most of them to narrow it down, selects included Kid Capri, Craze, Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak, and DJ AM.
Check out a recap video of CONNECT San Francisco above and stay tuned for more events coming soon. Is there a city you’d like us to travel to next? Leave a comment below.