Eric Nagrampa, better known to fans as DJ E-Rock, is one of the West’s premiere DJs. He makes appearances at clubs including Fluxx in San Diego, the Roxbury in Hollywood, AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) and, of course, Haze Nightclub at Aria in Las Vegas, where you can catch him every Saturday.
We had the opportunity to talk with E-Rock a bit about his career and his thoughts on Vegas and the club scene:
VEGAS.com: How’d you get your start in music?
E-Rock: Well, I was about 11 years old. I met these guys at a swimming pool in the same neighborhood as mine, two were older and one was my age. So we used to play video games at his house, and the older guys were into DJing. So eventually, I asked if I could watch, and then it went from me coming to play video games to me practicing DJing.
My dad bought me turntables and I started doing parties at 12 or 13 years old, and this was with a rinky-dink mixer from Radio Shack.
I kind of developed, did that for so long and met a couple of people who were into the San Francisco nightlife thing. Nightclubs in San Francisco weren’t fully equipped, so we had to bring a lot of our own gear – I basically became a roadie to these guys. Then when one would need to take a break, I would take over for those few minutes. It was the right place at the right time.
I kind of went my own way when I was about 17 or 18. I joined a competing radio station, which is where I got into open format – a hybrid of Top 40, whether it was house music or hip hop at the time – and I’ve been doing that for quite a while.
It’s a different caliber now with Vegas in the picture, though. From 11, still 32 and still rocking…I’m very grateful.
V: Tell us a bit about your Haze residency. What’s the vibe like?
E: Haze is like your quintessential Top 40 open format room. You get everything from big-room EDM to a little dubstep, hip hop, pop.
It’s a wide range of everything in one night…I try to give the crowd everything they could possibly ask for. At Haze I play for a good six hours, doing the whole entire night. In my experience it’s awesome because I really get more control of the room at all times, really set the tone a lot stronger by doing a six-hour set.
At the end of the night, I feel very satisfied [at Haze]. I would never say I’m “more” satisfied than with other clubs, but I feel satisfied because I can touch every part of what I can give to a crowd.
With doing a six-hour set, it is long but it’s really like loving to paint and having a huge canvas that’s never-ending. I really love it.
There’s a constant energy and by the end of the night I’m tired because I’m giving it all [laughs] just in making sure the energy doesn’t fall below its expected level.
V: What have you been listening to lately?
E: Oh, I listen to everything, which is what I’ve been doing my whole life. It depends on the day: one day I’ll listen to a bunch of classics, one day I’ll listen to hip hop, one day I’ll feel like I have to listen to a lot of house – it just depends. I take what stands out and what I feel wouldn’t.
When I hear certain records that stick with me, without me getting sick of them, those are the records I bring out with me.
One record from a long time ago is “Give You Everything” by Ne-Yo and Pitbull – it was one of those records I listened to once, three times, up to 15 times. I spend my whole week listening to music, and the things I can listen to over and over again without my opinion changing are the ones I feel could work in any room. Obviously there are records that I like [myself] and ones I like because I know they could work, and that’s one of them.
V: What’s different between spinning in Vegas and elsewhere?
E: When I play in San Francisco or San Diego, it’s different because people in Vegas are trying to having the most epic 48 hours of their life, whether they remember it or not.
Like 90 percent of people that walk into your club are already on the same page as you. I already have an expectation of how people are going to be, and they have an expectation of how they’re going to hear the music transpire over the night.
Sometimes in other markets, they’re going for a birthday, they drove to a club, and they’re going home late. In Vegas, it’s a reason to get away. They’re there to have a wild time. That’s how I want to play too.
V: What’s going on for the rest of 2012?
E: Well, I’ll be at Haze every Saturday night, since that’s my flagship right now. I’m also touring a lot, booked up until the end of September.
I’ll be on my CD release tour [in August], visiting a few cities: Atlantic City, Kansas City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Sacramento, Hollywood.
I’m putting out another record, [as I] had one at the beginning of the year and it did well, called “I Am So Gone.” Lots of good feedback, a lot of DJs liked it…so hopefully I can follow up on that.
Really, just trying to put records out that can rock the party, that’s what it is. I’m not an EDM guy or a true hip hop guy, I’m an “everything” guy. So, one record might be dance-inspired, one might be hip hop-inspired.
And hopefully, the Giants make the World Series [laughs]. I’m at AT&T Park once a month and with [up to] 41,000 people at the games. I put days into preparing for each night; I can’t just walk in and wing it. It’s a residency that I love and have grown very, very close to.
Then, of course, there’s my Saturday night residency at Haze. I’m always making sure I’m on my toes [for it], and that’s definitely the project at hand right now.