What’s up party people? If you’re reading this then you are trying to get a grasp on who (or what) I am and how I came to be the man before you. It’s a long story that would probably make a sick movie, but I’ll spare you all of the details and give you some quick insights on who, what and the places that have manifested the developing soul that is DJ Ocean.
I am 35-years young and I am just coming into my prime as a person, journalist, artist and musician. I pride myself in being a Renaissance man that does his best to live an amazingly beautiful, productive and inspiring life and I attempt to lead a virtuous Zen life that is based on the concept of being the best you can be and giving freely of yourself.
I currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada a.k.a Sin City, a.k.a the Wild Wild West, a.k.a Hooker’s Paradise, a.k.a. a one-time stop-over for GIs on the way to California that has grown into a place where as one poker writer so aptly put it, “Vegas is a place where “bags of money” land on the hour, every hour.” Before you ask, I know you that are wondering why a guy called DJ Ocean lives in a land-locked state that happens to be in the desert. Let me explain.
The quick answer is that I moved to Sin City several years ago to work as a journalist in the poker industry, but soon found myself more at home in the desert than I had ever felt anywhere else (and I’ve lived a lot of places). Luckily I was able to convince my then-future wife to make the move West and I haven’t looked back since. Vegas wrecks some people. For me it has been a place of rebirth and development. This is one of the few places in my life where I have ever felt like it was home. For all its faults, Vegas is a place like no other and I’m proud to call it home.
Although I reside in the West, I grew up in the East and spent most of my life in places such as Pennsylvania (Bethlehem and Philadelphia), New Jersey (), Maryland (Baltimore), Ohio (Akron) and Florida (Tampa). I grew up listening to hip hop, rap, and rock music and quickly found myself addicted to music and the various lifestyles that came with each subculture.
Life wasn’t easy as I spent 17 years fighting health issues that have made things a challenge, but I never let it get me down. In fact, it inspired me to do things that I might not have done if life had gone in a different direction. I am blessed to lead an amazing life these days, so I count myself lucky and try to give back to the universe at every turn.
I went to college for television and film but ended up as a journalist in the poker industry for the last five years. I had a blessed career, having earned awards and numerous covers for almost every major magazine in the industry as well as a column that ran for two years featuring interviews with celebrities and athletes. Looking back, I can honestly say that I somehow luckily managed to walk away from the industry having never stabbed anyone in the back or sold out my friends to make a quick buck while creating a career out of nothing simply because someone close to me told me I was spending too much time playing poker and not enough time doing constructive things.
Fortunately, the job brought me to Vegas and my career afforded me the opportunity to see not only what I wanted in life, but who I truly wanted to be while letting me explore my other passions such as philanthropy, DJing, writing music and the two books (one on philosophy/spirituality and one on underground hip hop) I am currently in the process of writing. That’s how I came to be me up to this point, so now it is time to get you up to speed on how I became DJ Ocean, the musician/DJ.
I have always been into music and I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t listening to some sort of amazing tunes. After moving to Tampa in 1997, I got caught up in the DJ scene and ended-up running a night club night (albeit briefly) and throwing a charity rave that ended up in me (and my girlfriend at the time) losing $20,000 while I was tripping on acid.
Luckily I recovered from that disaster and my love of dance music flourished as I got to hang out with the world’s best DJs and witness dance culture in its full glory, Florida style. Content to be behind the scenes running events and promoting DJs, I was blessed to observe the wildlife at legendary clubs such as Firestone in Orlando and tear-up the dance floor at the club district in Ybor City.
As would happen throughout my life, I was fortunate enough to come in contact with some of the most talented musicians and DJs on the planet like Rabbit in the Moon, Cosmic Baby, and numerous others that were equally talented on a daily basis. Never one to admire people for egotistical reasons, I found myself enjoying the company of brilliant minds who loved rocking the house and spreading the love. It was good times until I packed my bags and moved to Ohio to be with a girl.
To put it bluntly, Ohio sucked. I was involved in the scene there and threw several events there, none of which drew people because they weren’t fueled by the crystal meth that was plaguing the scene in the mid-West. While stuck doing time in Ohio, I came in contact with a guy who agreed to make my dream of running a dance music online magazine a reality. Unfortunately, the guy turned out to be a psycho who organized a revolt against me because he wanted to make money while I wanted to help people and spread love.
While working on the magazine, the girl and I split and I packed my bags and returned to Bethlehem, PA to go back to college. During this period, I became involved with the East coast dance community (specifically Philly), hitting-up places like New York City’s Twilo and Baltimore’s Fever almost every weekend.
I once again was fortunate to come in contact with some sick artists like Scott Hardkiss and Dub Tribe and I was lucky enough to see the world’s best DJs in small clubs like my favorite spot, Fluid. I will never forget the night I saw DJ Jazzy Jeff destroy the dance floor as he spun a mix of so many different styles it made my head spin. It changed my life forever and truly started me on my quest to be the best DJ I could be.
In Ohio I had finally caved and got some turntables because there was nothing else to do and I started building a sizable record collection. This continued when I moved to PA as I spent most of the money I made at places like the Undaground Set (Allentown) and 611 Records (Philly) trying to get the freshest tracks. Unfortunately, while I thought the world was my oyster, the guy I brought in to help me was organizing a revolt because he wanted to make money instead of provide a resource to make the world a better place. I walked from the project knowing I could never compromise my principals.
Mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted by the previous years in the dance industry, I decided to give up the music in hopes of regaining my sanity. I sold my $15,000 record collection for enough money to get myself to Australia so I could try and figure out what really mattered in life. Sometimes you have to be willing to give something up in order to find the love again and this was the case with the music. Although I never fully walked away from the music, I gave up my hopes of making a career in the industry and moved on. Fortunately I figured out I could still be in love with the music but live in a world where it was a source of pleasure and not a source of income or a tool to make the world a better place.
After a six-month stint in Oz, I headed back to the PA and met my future wife Jenifer. Although she wasn’t a huge dance music fan, we went to a lot of events and clubs including possibly New York City’s best kept secret, Cielo. Instead of focusing on getting interviews and making connections, we just went and danced. These were great times despite the fact that we were living in a Spanish barrio in New Jersey, just outside on the Big Apple.
It wasn’t long before I got my offer to move to Vegas for work and I made my move West. Stuck in the desert with only one friend and nothing to do, I decided to pick up a set of digital turntables to help pass time. Over the next two years, I messed around but never took it seriously. Frustrated with the DJs and their song selections here in Vegas, I started honing my craft hoping that one day I would get to play out as I knew that my song selection alone was reason enough to get me a gig. Since most Vegas DJs play the same songs and often left me wondering how they got their gigs, I knew I stood a chance if I could become good enough and catch a break.
About seven months ago I achieved what I call “Ninja” status as a DJ. This means that I can switch my styles (I can competently spin live mixes from roughly 20 different dance music genres) on the drop of a dime. I have done over 60 different mixes (averaging 75-minutes in length) during this period and inn that time, developed my own style that consists of spinning house tracks featuring rock songs by artists like Pink Floyd, the Doors and Cream.
The relaunch of DJ Ocean’s World version 2.0 marks my true debut to the world as DJ Ocean. I have nothing to prove to anyone to (including myself) as I know I can bring the heat every time regardless of which genre I am tackling. I spin because I love making music and my hope is that all of the time I have spent struggling to find my place in the dance music scene in the past is going to manifest a career where I get to spread love and lift people’s souls. What will be will be. I am content that I have done all I can to meet the universe half-way, so hopefully I can spend the rest of my years making people happy and doing what I love for a living (if my hearing doesn’t go first).
This is who I am and how DJ Ocean came to be. I hope you enjoy being a part of my passion for music. I truly appreciate you taking the time to take a musical peak into my soul. If you like what you hear, turn someone else on and help spread the love. All of my mixes are provided free-of-charge, so there is no excuse not to get your hands on new music. I hope you enjoy what goes on inside my head.