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Meet Your Mardi Gras DJs: DJ Grind

  • Written by  Pez
  • Published in Features

VITAL STATS

NAME: DJ GRIND (Stephen Massey) 
PARTY: "The Mardi Gras Party at RHI." 
SOUND: "Uplifting, Joyful House." 

djgrindThis year's Mardi Gras theme is "Passion." Tell us something you're passionate about that might surprise us. 
Food! My boyfriend is an accomplished baker and chef, and I live in the food capital of the United States (Portland, Oregon), so I’m pretty spoiled.

Tell us about your first Mardi Gras experience.
My first visit to Sydney was during last year’s Mardi Gras, and I was completely blown away. Mardi Gras is so much more than a party – it’s truly a celebration of diversity. As a DJ, I travel to lots of events and parties around the world, and I can honestly say that there’s no event quite like Sydney Mardi Gras.

How do you prepare a set?
I try to think about the feelings and the experience I’d want to have on the dance floor – in that space and at that moment – and then put together a musical journey that helps get an audience to that place. My primary goal as a DJ is to bring joy to the dance floor. That’s my signature sound. I always try to bring an uplifting, joyful energy to every set. For me, it’s about celebrating life thru music.

What track can't you get enough of right now?
I have Ella Henderson’s debut album on repeat. My current favorite track: “Pieces.” 
What artist would we be most shocked to find on your iPod?
Petula Clark, but only because my boyfriend is obsessed with her.  ;-)

What's your wildest onstage memory?
I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open for Kylie when she came to San Francisco on the “Aphrodite” tour. That was a pretty wild, completely unbelievable night.

Mardi Gras is a celebration of diversity and pride. What should the gay community be most proud of?
Our progress. Let’s be honest, we’ve come a long way. As a gay kid growing up in a very conservative part of America, I remember being full of fear and shame – with no gay role models and no real hope for cultural acceptance. Thirty-six years later, we’re celebrating gay marriage in many parts of the world, and more gay people than ever before live openly and proudly. Sure, we have a long way to go, but it’s pretty remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time.

Your industry has experienced such an evolution the last few years. What are both the best and worst changes you've witnessed?
I think it’s incredible how advances in technology allow people like me to share my passion of music with the world. I can upload a podcast, and within seconds, people around the world can be streaming it. Last year, I surpassed 4 million downloads for my monthly podcast (http://djgrind.podomatic.com), and I was totally blown away. Even a few years ago, that kind of platform to share my music with others just wouldn’t have existed. With new technology also comes new ways that we engage with one another, and I think we’re seeing some challenging times for nightlife in general as people meet up and hook up in other ways. Nightlife isn’t dead, that’s for sure. But we’ve got to find ways to reinvent the club scene to keep it fresh, interesting and desirable.

Punters always have requests for DJs. What special requests do you have for your Mardi Gras audience?
Come prepared to have fun.
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