DJ Crespo, aka Daniel Crespo, uses his love for mixing diverse music genres to create an open, free range sound that has propelled him to stages with the likes of Diplo, Wiz Khalifa, and most recently, Jaden Smith. He is also headlining his own worldwide DJ events.
DJ Crespo curates hour-plus-long mixes titled “Good Vibrations” on Soundcloud that blend Classic Rock, R&B, Hip Hop, and Dance. They are the mantras that guide his shows and set the tone for each individual performance. I got the chance to sit down and chat with the artist about his musical passions, his favorite albums, his affinity for classical music, and why you should always lock your balcony door when traveling.
A: Here with Crespo, DJ extraordinaire. He just got off the stage with Jaden Smith. How was the energy of the crowd?
C: This was one of the better festivals we’ve ever played. It was awesome. The crowd was jumping, pumping. It was a good vibe.
A: Yeah, it felt like it! And you just came from touring individually, right?
C: I was actually on a two-week Australia tour. It was really cool. I got to play with some Koalas, fed some Kangaroos, and had some awesome club shows.
A: Were these more private, indoor club shows?
C: About a thousand-person venue, which was amazing. Australia has this thing called “Hip Hop R&B” and R&B to them is old school like Vanilla Ice. I played newer music, but one time I played some older stuff; they loved it.
A: And you also play at Prizm (a Chicago EDM venue)? I’ve seen Robin Schultz there. It’s an aesthetically cool venue. I haven’t been back in a while but what do you play there?
C: I’m actually a DJ at heart. That’s my first passion and love, so I play everything. My main thing in all sets is that I don’t preplan. I just watch and play what the crowd likes.
A: Oh damn, you’re an actual DJ? That is so refreshing.
C: Thank you! I play everything from Hip Hop to Electronic to Dance, Trap. Sometimes I play some Rock. I like to make people dance, so my sets are everywhere, all the time.
A: Good to hear. What do you listen to to get your spirits up?
C: I am a huge classic rock fan. Everything from Chicago to Led Zeppelin to Jimi Hendrix. That’s what I listen to when I’m just chillin, hanging at home. That’s what really gets me in the mood to be creative also.
A: Are there any songs you specifically listen to when you’re in self care mode, getting out of a shitty mood and need to reset your headspace?
C: I never really listened to Miguel, but this new album (War & Leisure) he put out is amazing. Whenever I need a pick me up, I listen to “Pineapple Skies.” Such a dope track, with a summer feel. And Frank Ocean, those are my two right there.
A: I’m right there with you. I’ve been blessed to see Frank twice. He’s unparalleled. What are some hidden gems, besides Classic Rock, people would be surprised to know you love?
C: I love Classical piano music. My Dad would listen to instrumental classical all the time, so when I want to relax, chill, or remember him, I like to listen to a guy named Richard Clayderman. Straight piano, but beautiful. There’s something about just listening to instrumentals that lets you focus.
A: Are there any new artists that have messages you’re into?
C: Brockhampton, they’re fucking amazing. I love what Logic is doing. I know I’m missing someone off the top of my head. Travis Scott is my favorite to watch live, he’s amazing. Those are the three I really enjoy listening to right now.
A: Gold choices! What are some of your favorite transitions as a DJ?
C: You got some good questions! I do this thing called “Tone Play,” where you use two songs in the same key and use different parts of the song. So, you recognize the intro of “I’m Different” by 2 Chainz? The Dun, dun, dun dun dun dun?
A: Of course, memorable.
C: I’ll do that into “Can’t Stop” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. ”Can’t stop addicted to the shindig.”
A: Haha, now I have both of them playing in my head at once. That’s a sick transition!
C: They work well so I really like to get creative when I’m DJing!
A: If you had the chance for everyone in the world to listen to one album, what album would that be?
C: Kid Cudi’s Man on The Moon. That’s my all-time favorite album ever. From a compositional standpoint, it was made perfectly, to me. It sent me on a journey throughout the whole thing.
A: Absolutely! For a lot of our generation, that was an adolescent milestone in Hip Hop.
C: Exactly! If we want to get older, ATLiens by Outkast and Illmatic by Nas. Definitely.
A: What’s one album from beginning to end that resets your soul?
C: Have you ever heard of a band named Odesza?
A: Of course.
C: I saw them live for the first time a few weeks ago. They were so visually in tune with their drumming. They had bands play on stage with them, and the lighting was in sync with the drums. It was amazing. I’ve seen so many performers, but this was unreal. A Moment Apart is the album I could listen to on repeat.
A: I’ll check that one out! Tell me an untold story about being on tour.
C: I had a show in the Bahamas at Atlantis. So, I leave my room to go to the club to start playing. Whenever I leave my room, I make sure everything is placed the same way so when I return I know no one has been in there. I turn all the lights off and leave the bathroom light on, always. I go play the show, return, change, and I go to the bathroom. The light is off. I look in the trash can and there is a used condom. I’m on the second floor, too, so the room is pretty accessible if need be. So I start freaking out because someone had definitely been in my room.
I start looking for my watch, my passport–everything important is gone. So I start panicking and call security. They flip my mattress and find my passport. They also search the premises and find all my toiletries and my watch thrown in the lazy river at Atlantis. I’m appalled and freaking out more than anything. And they don’t believe me. “Were you wasted? How drunk did you get, Sir?” And I don’t drink. Eventually, they checked the cameras and they found out two people had climbed the balcony, and that I had left the balcony door open. They had sex in my room, left through the front door and didn’t steal anything, just threw it across the property. It was the weirdest thing to ever happen to me.
A: So now you lock every balcony door and check out all exits and entrances? I’ve been to Atlantis and it’s beautiful, but that’s such an invasion of privacy. Did you stay in the Michael Jackson suite?
C: Haha, no, they don’t like me that much.
A: Haha, maybe next time. Thanks so much for the interview!
C: It was my pleasure.
cover photo: Nancy Musinguzi