After 18 months off the local music scene, "DJ Jerrid" Coty is calling a comeback.
Starting May 23, he'll be resurrecting his weekly "Do it Right, Wednesday Night," dance event at The Underground Pub.
"In terms of genres, I'll start the night with funky house, and go into progressive, electro and breakbeat. But I don't want it to be just me. I hope people will come, bring me their demos and guest spot. What I really hope is for more people to come out and listen to the styles of music I play," said Coty.
Born in the state of Florida, Coty, 30, grew up in Berkshire County.
"I don't know how I acquired the interest to play dance music while living in a small town area with no clubs, but it makes me happy," he said.
Here, while in his Pittsfield home and studio, Coty tells The Eagle about hearing his first dance song, collecting vinyl, and what keeps him up until the wee hours of the morning.
Q: Hey Jerrid, welcome back to the scene. You've been mixing music for a while now. What keeps you going?
A: I want to create a friendly environment in the Berkshires for people who want dance music. With music makers like deadmau5 becoming more popular, it energizes a scene. Also, when a lot of people hear "DJ" they thing hip-hop or a particular scene. I want to give something more.
Q: Why do you think there's a shift, more interest in dance music in terms of the genres you play?
A: I hate to say it, but I think advertising agencies contribute a lot to popular music. For example, you have car ads now playing [Grammy Award-winning] Skrillex or [Grammy nominee] deadmau5, and it's enough exposure to get people questioning what they're hearing.
I also think the popularity of music genres goes in cycles, from rock to hip-hop to rap to dance. Right now, there happens to be more people into dance music, and a lot of musicians are also crossing genres.
Q: What kind of crossover is hot right now?
A: One big crossover you'll hear is hip-hop meeting electro, guys like DJ Deekline and Ed Solo. There's a lot of electro-breakbeat being made, so I think you'll also start seeing more break dancing crews out again.
By the way, if anyone break dances or if there's a crew out there who wants to do a set on Wednesday, let me know and we can try to make that happen.
Q: Nice. So with all the new technology and music databases out there, you must have access to so much music. What do you look for in terms of finding something to play at your gigs?
A: I'll got to a website called Beatport and, say, go to the house or progressive category, where there are literally thousands and thousands of tracks. I'll start looking at 9 or 10 at night and stay up until 1 a.m. just listening to 30-second clips over and over. I might go through 300 to 400 tracks in a night.
Q: Anything else keep you up at night?
A: Well, when I'm not doing this, I'm pretty big into gaming. [He's a well-invested player of a card-based game, Magic: The Gathering.]
Q: Back to the music, what do you look for in a track?
A: I listen for things like, is the song clear. Basically I look for crisp vocals and warm bass lines. If I think I would dance to it, I'll buy it. In this business, you've got to have the newest song before people know it's the newest song.
Q: Now, let me back up for a minute and ask: What's the first dance song you encountered?
A: It was after prom, my senior year in high school, and we were driving and my date put on Alice DeeJay, that song "Better Off Alone." Kind of cheesy now, I know, but I had never heard anything that sounded like that before. After that, my first real intro was in college [University of Massachusetts].
Q: What artists?
A: I got into Paul Oaken fold, and it was all over. I got really into trance music, other deejays and producers like Paul van Dyk, ATB, stuff from the mid- to late-1990s and into the 2000s. The music had a high bpm [beats per minute] with female dance vocals.I just fell in love with it. So I started buying everything I could get my hands on. That's how I started buying records.
Q: Vinyl, eh?
A: Yeah. It's a very expensive hobby. Tracks that you could get digitally for 99 cents a piece, I'd be paying $12 and up for on vinyl. Sometimes I would buy something in the genre just hoping it would be good. But for me, getting a stack of records delivered onto my doorstep would be like Christmas Day.
A lot of it has to do with my upbringing. My dad had tons of classic rock records, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. Vinyl has always been around me.
Q: Where would you get your dance records from?
A: Mostly online, places like Juno Records, Hard to Find Records and DanceRecords.com.
Q: About how many records do you have now?
A: About 2,000, at least.
Q: Whoa! So you've just kept on collecting?
A: Yes. After I dropped out of UMass, I would still save up, and I bought mixing equipment, one piece at a time, a turntable, a mixer, a speaker. I was teaching myself how to mix. I had friends who were hip-hop deejays so I would watch them beatmatch then do my own thing.
Q: Before I move on, what were you studying at UMass?
A: Well I graduated from Taconic High School with a drafting background then studied landscape architecture for a year at UMass. I worked in education for a while, now I'm working a few jobs, taking classes at BCC [Berkshire Community College] and looking at a business degree.
Q: What do you ultimately hope to do with your music?
A: I don't see myself ever being a mega star deejay. Being a local deejay is OK with me. But what I would really love to do is get a one- or two-hour slot from 9 to 11 o'clock at night doing a radio show, to really get people interested in this music, get them interested in listening to the radio again, and give them something to listen to while they're out or getting ready to go out.
Q: Did you have any training in music?
A: Nope, I'm just an extremely avid listener. Since age 13 or 14, most of my extra money has been spent on music. I was always surrounded by people with musical talent and have always just been a part of the music scene. I would throw parties at my house to experiment with my music and rent my own gear if someone wanted me to deejay something. Even now, I'm always giving away CDs of the music I work with to get people to listen.
Q: What else is included in your plans for Wednesday nights?
A: I just bought an 800-watt strobe light. I hope to eventually invest in and use a panel to control a light show while I deejay. Basically, I just want to create something more for people to experience.
Q: Why Wednesday, anyway? Isn't that a tough night?
A: I usually only play in the summer. Wednesday night works because what else is going on then? Also, in the summer you have all the kids home from college, looking for something to do. Where else can you go out after 11 at night, especially to find music? Wednesday night is the new Thursday.