DJ Escape doesn’t mind that fans compare his appearance to Vin Diesel. “Vin is a goodlooking guy,” he laughs. “And he’s got power. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose a fight.” Of course, where Diesel rules the screen, the dancefloor is Escape’s territory — as millions of House music fans know.
“I’m dedicated to bringing dance music back to the mainstream,” Escape says.
The 28-year-old DJ/producer from New York is part of a tight-knit posse of superstar DJs, all of whom hail from nearby neighborhoods in and around Long Island. The big-named spinners include MTV’s DJ Skribble, Ultra Record’s Johnny Vicious, and Guido Osario of the Billboard-topping production duo Razor and Guido.
Escape got his start at Miami’s Liquid Nightclub with Ingrid Casares and her then-gal pal Madonna.
“I was lucky that my manager also repped huge DJs like Junior Vasquez and Razor and Guido,” he says. “He included a stipulation in the deal that if Liquid wanted them, they had to take me for one night.”
Liquid agreed to the terms. They gave Escape his shot on the main floor and, to the surprise of everyone in clubland, offered the virtually unknown DJ his first residency afterward.
“I knew I killed it that night, but I did not expect to get a full-time contract. It launched my entire career.”
It also opened doors to Miami’s popular gay parties, which was where Escape really wanted to be. It didn’t matter that he was straight. “My music was and still is more adapted to the gay party community,” he says.
If you need proof, take a look at his latest productions: Kelly Rowland’s “Like This,” Sunshine Anderson’s “Forces of Nature” and the new theme for the DVD release of the film “Dreamgirls.” Can you get any gayer?
Escape estimates that about 90 percent of his gigs are for gay crowds. He feels he has a lot in common with gay men. “Gay guys know music and they party from night until the afternoon. They’re always ready to tear the dancefloor up, just like me.
“I play a lot of vocals and tribal, bass-driven beats,” he continues. “I’m all about high-energy, happy music.”
Escape is currently on tour, dropping beats for packed crowds at the biggest clubs across the nation. He’s making a concerted effort along the way to recruit new, younger fans to dance music.
“I’m part of a united network of House music leaders who are dedicated to bringing dance music back to the mainstream,” Escape says. “I’m in a great position to introduce dance music to young people because I’m one of the few top DJs under 30.”
He says he understands on a personal level the importance of keeping dance music alive and vital.
“Dance music is about love, freedom and happiness. There’s so much pressure in the world today: work pressure, family pressure. Guys that go to the club have learned the secret to happiness. We look forward to our Saturday nights when we can run to the club and leave our problems on the dancefloor. There ain’t nothing better than that.”
info: Escape spins at Legends nightclub, 330 West Hargett St. in Raleigh, on Saturday, July 28. For more information, visit www.djescape.com.