Q&A: DJ Pauly D
It’s everyone’s favorite Jersey Shore alum, DJ Pauly D. Since his meteoric rise to fame by way of reality TV about kids kicking it down by the shore, to the blossoming of his DJ career, Pauly D has become a Las Vegas superstar DJ taking up residence again for the summer at Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel (he performs this Sunday, July 10). Between living and working in Vegas and L.A., currently staring in a new reality dating show, Famously Single on the E! channel, and keeping the sounds hype poolside, Pauly D sat down with Las Vegas Magazine’s Kiko Miyasato to talk shop.
The hit reality show Jersey Shore started around ’08-’09—tell me in a nutshell how your life has changed from then till now?
My life has been a whirlwind—it has changed significantly. The TV exposure alone put me on the map and I’m literally able to live out my dream and I’ve been doing that ever since the show. I mean, I’ve been DJing since I was 14 years old, but now put that on television and I’m able to show the world, show them my talent and prove what I can do. And, I’m here in Las Vegas living my dream.
What’s been the downside of fame? And, what’s the upside?
Fame has both good and bad. I would have to say the bad things about fame: everybody knows your business. You can’t really go anywhere alone, like going to the mall; it’s always like a project. People want to take pictures and all that, which I don’t mind that part but sometimes it takes a toll because you always have to be camera ready. So that would be the downside. The good side: the perks are unbelievable. Free stuff everywhere (laughs)! And, you get recognized, which is kinda cool and you can pack the clubs, which is even doper because being a DJ that’s what I love to do.
Being a DJ for so long now—you started back when there were two turntables, crates full of records—how do you feel about all the technological advances in the art form?
Being a DJ, it’s very important to me to keep the original art form alive. Back in the day I was lugging the crates and digging through the crates looking for the records, which was dope, but now that it’s evolved I’m using a laptop. But I’m still controlling it with vinyl, which is a blessing, because to lug those crates and travel—I would not be able to do what I do today without the technology that’s evolved. But, I still keep it real with the Technic 1200s and I’m controlling it with the control vinyl, but yet I’m keeping my music library on the computer. It’s dope.
Has the fame changed your DJ style at all?
Since the fame has come, it’s sort of changed my style a little bit where before I was famous I was opening up for myself, closing for myself, carrying my own equipment so I was DJing the entire night. Now, they put me smack in the during the power two-hour set which I go over all the time, sometimes you have to rip me off the turntables because I love it so much. But, now I have an opener, a closer, I don’t have to set up my own equipment because someone else does it for me. That’s another perk of being famous.
Your DJ residency at Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel—tell me a little bit about that. What can people expect?
Rehab is legendary. If you come to Las Vegas you have to hit up Rehab. You can see the energy and feel it when you’re out there. I interact with the crowd, that’s really important to me. I get such good feedback from the crowds at Rehab, more than anywhere else around the world, that’s why I love DJing here. It’s gonna be the party of their life. I like to call it the night of their life, even though it’s daytime I’ll take you into the nighttime. But, what’s better than that—you can catch some sun, jump into the pool, listen to my mixes and I’m a party DJ so I’m bringing the party to you guys.
What kind of music are you playing?
I’m an open-format DJ, meaning I play a little bit of everything. I like to surprise people. I’m playing a little bit of the dance music, a little bit of hip-hop, I’ll throw some rock in there, maybe some reggaeton and top 40. But I’ll mix it in a way to make everyone enjoy it. Because some of my crowds are mixed like I’ll have people that love dance music that won’t maybe like hip-hop—I’ll make them like hip-hop, because I’ll play it in a way where I might put it to a house beat and vice versa just to mix it up.
Are you constantly practicing? Learning new techniques, new mixes?
For me, I’m constantly, constantly practicing and learning. I listen to the radio every single day because I like to hear what radio DJs are doing. I go out, I like to hear what those club DJs are doing. And, all during the week I’m in my DJ room just practicing, because that’s the only way you can keep getting better. I learn every single day—that’s the key to being a good DJ; putting in that work, putting in that time.
Did you ever think, as a DJ, you’d be where you are now?
No, never in a million years did I think I would be where I am today. I’m actually living my dream. This is always what I dreamed of. I always wanted to spin in Las Vegas and take my DJ career on the road, and I’m doing that right now.
Let’s talk a little bit about your new reality show on the E! channel, Famously Single. Why did you agree to do a show like that?
What’s interesting is that I get offered TV shows all the time, but I’ll never do anything that I’m not interested in. So with this show, it was sort of what I was going through in life because they told me the concept was eight celebrities living in a house and they all share the same drama when it comes to relationships. Because I can’t find love—people think, “Celebrities, oh, it’s simple because people are always around all the time”—but it’s actually the opposite because you don’t know what those people are coming at you for, what are their expectations of you, are they trying to use you. But it’s hard to find love. It’s easy to find the wrong person and it’s hard to find the right one. So here it is, a TV show that would help me do that. So, we see a therapist and some dating coaches to give us some tips and find out why we can’t find love.
It’s no secret now that you actually did find love on the show. Can you tell me about that?
Sure (smiles). So, going on the show I knew there was going to be four girls, four guys and my expectations were I didn’t think anything would happen inside the house. I thought I’d go out and find somebody. But what happened with me is I connected with someone in the house, and it was Aubrey O’Day. It’s cool because we almost share the same life, like the music industry; she’s traveling, I’m traveling, but our paths never crossed. But they did on the show, and I’m very thankful for the show that I was able to meet her.
Are you guys engaged?
No, it was actually a rumor. We did that as an April Fools’ joke. She was doing some press for the show so she grabbed a fake engagement ring and put it on just to mess with people—and it worked! (laughs)
Is it nice to know that you’re with somebody that kind of goes through the same things you go through as a celebrity?
Yes, it’s nice to know that I’m going out with someone that goes through the same things as me. She’s on the road touring and singing, I’m DJing and she gets my lifestyle and I get hers. Sometimes if you’re dating someone that doesn’t get the lifestyle it could be a bit intimidating. But she gets it.
Do you think you’ve changed since the fame?
I’d like to think that I haven’t changed since the fame. I mean, the bank account has changed (laughs). The notoriety has changed. But I’m still the same person. My friends joke around with me all the time and they say, ‘It’s so funny. I see you joking around on TV saying the same things you say to us,” so I like to think I’ve stayed the same. My family, my friends, they keep me grounded. And then you get to find out the stuff you’ve always wanted to do as a kid you could do it now because you have the notoriety, you can travel now. Basically, I’m living out my dreams.