Eddie Portillo On The Key To Being A Successful DJ
If you are familiar with the L.A/O.C club scene, then you’ve more than likely heard of Eddie Portillo. This L.A native American House Music DJ/producer has performed at venues all around town and a few well-known festivals. According to Eddie, “in order to succeed as a DJ, one must also be a producer” and that is exactly what he is working on. In the midst of honing his producing skills, Eddie performs every first Friday of the month at Kitsch Bar in Costa Mesa. Formally known as “DJ Dexter,” Eddie, now called DJ Eddie Portillo, has a story to tell through his music.
-Finish this sentence. I am Eddie Portillo and…
I am also a regular, hard working, day job, family man like anyone else.
-Tell me about “Dj Dexter.”
In April of 2013 I had recently given up on my previous profession of professional soccer. I was at home in my apartment in Fullerton and I thought to myself I would start mixing and post weekly mixes online and see what came of it. I have been DJing since I was 18 but I never thought anything different would come of electronic music than the other formats I had done in clubs. My little sister Gaby said I looked like Dexter the cartoon working in the lab. And from there, the name stuck. I invested in the brand “Dexter” a lot. I got shirts made, business cards, I paid too much for a good logo to be made. My intention was to take DJ Dexter to the top, until things started to get a little more serious with gigs.
-Take us back to your first gig? Where and what was it?
I had accidentally met someone at club Exchange LA by the name of Darwin Paul due to a series of unfortunate events with my friends that night. He was a DJ and I gave him a business card. He connected me with someone in Orange County and I was booked at TEN nightclub in the back patio. I still used Serato at the time. I will never forget the 4 friends that showed up and that night will live in my memory forever. It was a new experience. I thought I was playing at a festival overseas. From there, I began to learn and appreciate format, I stopped using Serato, and I have actually DJed on festival stages in California and other states.
-What inspired you to begin Dj’ing?
Music has always been a big deal in my life. Coming from a latin family, everywhere we went there was music and people dancing. I can’t sing, and I don’t play any instruments, so DJing was a pretty good option in my opinion. I did professional salsa and bachata dancing for about a year. I learned a lot, traveled, and won a championship. But even then, dancing didn’t give me the feeling I felt while I was in the booth in charge of the fun.
-What’s your favorite city to perform in and where is your “dream destination?”
My favorite city is my home and will always be Los Angeles. I see my friends, my family, and fans. There’s no feeling like it. I will always come back to LA no matter where my destiny leads. My dream destination,…Germany. I hear so many things about Germany from fellow DJs that travel the world and say there’s NOTHING like Germany. The party never stops. Clubs stay open from Friday thru Monday. I would really enjoy that experience even if it’s only once.
-Who are some of your inspirations?
My biggest inspiration has and will always be my family. I want to succeed so bad just for them. I still remember the day my little sister said “when you meet Bruno Mars you have to take me because I know you’ll be that famous one day.” With that alone…I have a mission to accomplish. My parents are hard working individuals that have taught me the morals and values of life I so proudly represent. I want to succeed for them too. My mom recently went to support me when I opened for my favorite DJs and now friends Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano. She teared telling me that this is where I belong and that she supports me 100%. This is coming from the same woman that would ground me for DJing house parties in the beginning of my career. Sunnery and Ryan also give me a lot of hope and motivate me to excel in this industry. I met them by giving them a mix at club Sutra one night. The next time I saw them, Sunnery gave me his email. Next thing you know I was celebrating my birthday in Vegas at their debut at Hakkasan backstage…now, I’ve shared the same stage with them 3 times, one being at a festival.
-What do you feel is the most difficult thing about being a Dj?
Being a DJ isn’t difficult at all, nor is anything that comes with it. But in order to succeed as a DJ one must also be a producer. Being a producer is NOT easy. Some people pay years of school for it and still aren’t good. I’ve been blessed with friends like Shaun Cruda that are geniuses at music production and I sit in and learn from them. Once I get that down, I know things will change for the better.
-How do you differ from other DJ’s?
My style alone is different. I incorporate a lot of latin rhythm and influence in my sets. A lot of spanish vocals. I pride in my ability to DJ proper format. A lot of DJs now a days think “I’ll DJ whatever I want and I won’t follow format”…they don’t get too far.
-What is your ultimate goal?
I want to travel the word and DJ for different crowds. Even if I don’t make money, I don’t care about that. I want to see what’s out there. I want to experience something new. Something different. Hell, I might even want to move somewhere different.
-Any advice for upcoming DJ’s?
WORK. HARD! It’s not easy. My hard work is paying off. I’ve done in 3 years what DJs haven’t accomplished in 10 years. Be humble and STAY humble thru the process. SOMEONE IS ALWAYS WATCHING. Be careful what gigs you decide to do. They will affect gigs for you in the future. Most of all, have fun. When people see you’re having fun back there, they’ll want to have fun with you.
MUSIC! I need to produce. Time is running out and I promised myself I would have a single released by the end of the year even if it’s a collaboration. I have some things in the works with my Madhouse DJs, with Shaun Cruda, and with Chaka & Marty…something will be done by 2017 and something new will come of it. At that time, I’ll be ready for whatever my future wants to hand me. I’m enjoying the ride so far.
Interviewed By: Simone Grant