While many of today’s top DJs complain of the lull in today’s dance scene — arguing crowds are waning and clubs are not investing money in parties — Escape says clubland is actually experiencing a resurgence.
“The scene is more fun than ever,” he says. “All of a sudden, the industry is back to high energy, happy music. The dark, monotonous beats that took over dance floors at the start of 2000 are history.”
Escape has reason to be excited. In addition to his new album, “Global Groove Dance,” flying off record store shelves, this summer his original remixes were played on more dancefloors than any other remixer — including his idol, Junior Vasquez. He says there is a lot of opportunity in the dance music industry. You just need to know where to find it.
Why do you love dance music?
I love making it, playing it and watching crowds dance to it. I love observing the dancefloor and seeing the elements of the songs that make hands go up.
Is it true you don’t dance?
It is true. My feet don’t move. But I dance in my head.
You used to spin Hip Hop and Reggae. How do you feel about those genres today?
I’m not really into Hip Hop and Reggae anymore. Back in the early ’90s when I was playing it, the music was thriving. I still like the music, it’s just not my choice of what to listen to or play.
How has DJ Junior Vasquez influenced your career?
Hearing Junior Vasquez spin at Palladium (an historic New York City megaclub) is what first encouraged me to make the switch from Hip Hop to dance music. When he was at Twilo, I used to make new tracks every week for his dancefloor. He really inspired me to produce my own dance tracks for clubs.
How does your big room sound compare to Junior’s?
Junior’s records were very up and down and filled with drama. My mixes are more hi-energy. I’m not so into the up and down; not because I didn’t love them on Junior’s floor. I was in heaven on that man’s dancefloor. It’s just important to me to make my own sound. Even Junior will tell you he doesn’t appreciate when producers or DJs steal his sound. If you want to be a true artist in this business, you need to bring your own magic to the floor.
What magic are you working on at the moment?
It’s a long list. I’m working on three new Beyonce tracks that are going to turn over clubs this fall. I just released Solange’s “Would’ve Been The One” and The Veronica’s “Take Me On The Floor”; both are doing really well.
You’ve said in the past that you’re only as good as your last record.
Yes, I stand by that. I try my hardest to make all my remixes the best they can be. When I really love a song, I like to make more than one mix. I did two versions of Solange’s “Would’ve Been The One,” a House-y and a Tribal mix.
What is your ultimate mission as a leading dancefloor DJ?
I want to keep the dancefloor alive. Dance music is part of the fabric of the gay community and it needs to be revitalized.
I used to travel to the same cities every week. Those days are over. Most of my residencies are now monthly or even bi-monthly. I actually prefer it. Crowds today want to hear different DJs play. There is a lot of great music out there and a lot of exceptional DJs. It means I travel more which can sometimes be a drag but looking at the bigger picture, it’s ok. It’s good for the industry. The gay dancefloor needs to allow for all kinds of talent.
What is the state of the gay dancefloor today?
Crowds are less consistent. Where there used to be one big dancefloor in a city, there are now more smaller clubs. Venues are hosting branded events to lure people in — underwear parties, celebrity appearances, cd release events. I think it’s a smart move. It’s getting young guys that normally spend hours hooking up on the internet into clubs where they are discovering the magic of the dancefloor.
DJ Escape will spin at Legends on Saturday, Sept. 26th, the night of NC Pride. For more information, visit DJEscape.com.