If you have ever attended events in the Atlanta Underground Club Scene, chances are you’ve had the privilege of hearing DJ Nemesis spin. With his unique mix of music across multiple genres, his sound is unmistakable. No matter if it is a themed event or a dance night; Nemesis is one of the few DJs that is able to draw out the crowd, both to the event itself and onto the dance floor. But once a year, Nemesis gets to step out of the club scene and into the world of fandom for Dragon*Con.
This year once again, DJ Nemesis is returning to Dragon*Con as an official guest DJ. For the fourth year in a row, he will be spinning the Saturday Night Dragon Dance in the Marriott Atrium Ballroom. Together with Secretroom.net, DJ Nemesis will host the all-night sci-fi fantasy themed dance party that will show the rest of Dragon*Con just how hard we party in Atlanta!
To mark this occasion I decided to find out more about DJ Nemesis, and what being an official Dragon*Con DJ means to him.
Examiner: How did you get into DJing?
Nemesis: I actually started on WRAS 88.5FM in college while attending Georgia State University during 1995/1996. It wasn’t until 2001 when I got my start in clubs. The Glitterdome Allstar band had just fizzled out, and while out in clubs I was disappointed in the music selections I was hearing. I would go write a bunch of requests down, and low and behold – the floor filled up when the DJ played them. That got me thinking, “Hey, no reason I couldn’t do that.” So, I talked to the manager at The Chamber and got my first shot there. Once I had a few gigs under my belt I approached JSin from Secretroom.net about getting a spot at one of his events. I gave him a CD, and we shook hands and walked away. About a week or so later he called me up and booked me. We have been working together ever since.
Examiner: You’re known for your ability to captivate a crowd and get everyone on the dance floor moving. What are some of the secrets of your success?
Nemesis: OK, this is the part that where things get tricky. In order to get a room full of people who are drinking and visiting with friends, whether they had a bad day, a good day, are impartial, or they want to dance, you have to really pay attention to what they react to. A really bad thing to do as a DJ, in my opinion, is to drop all of your “hits” early. There are a TON of great songs that you can sprinkle in throughout a night. Once the floor is primed, and you know your audience is ready to go on that journey with you, that is when you pull out all of the stops and go for it. It’s all about paying attention. I’ve been at nights where the previous DJ just clubbed everyone over the head for 45 minutes with really aggressive music, and it’s still fairly early in the night. I went on and immediately changed gears–slowed it down with a familiar track that virtually everyone knows –and the floor filled up. Now, once you have them out there, you have to keep them going. Pay attention to the floor. It doesn’t matter that I have 20 tracks that I want to blast, and that I like–I can hear them anytime. It’s all about the patrons of the club and giving them a great experience. If you give to them, they give back.
Examiner: This will be your fourth year hosting the Saturday Night Dragon Dance. How does it feel to be asked back for a fourth year in a row?
Nemesis: I’m so honored. Last year was nothing short of one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had as a DJ. The room was to capacity before I played the first track. I had friends texting me that they couldn’t get in, and that there was some ridiculous line going on outside the ballroom. I couldn’t believe it. Granted, I felt bad that some people had to wait an hour to get in, but there was nothing I could do about it. So, my suggestion to everyone this year: get there earlier. It’s going to be a ton of fun.
Examiner: Think back your first Dragon Dance in 2008. Were you nervous? How was the crowd?
Nemesis: I was VERY nervous my first year. After the first few songs I was fine and just did my thing. The crowd was great! I would guess there were about 400 or 500 people. That’s huge numbers when you consider most of the clubs I DJ don’t even hold that many people. Each year has grown exponentially, and it’s a blast to see so many people into electronic music.
Examiner: How different is spinning at Dragon*Con versus spinning at a club?
Nemesis: The biggest thing is that at a club, I “warm them up”. I build the pressure up and increase the tempo throughout the evening. You can see everyone’s faces. I’m usually hanging out at the bar talking with everyone before and after my sets. It’s more intimate. Dragon*Con, I go on at 2 or 3am. There is no need to “warm them up” at this point. I come out swinging hard and don’t stop. I don’t want people yawning and slowing down. I keep the tempo high, get them screaming and wanting more, and make sure I have a wide array of electronic genres that are all just banging tracks – no filler.
Examiner: You’ll also be spinning at CON*tourage’s Friday night party for the third year in a row. How did you get involved with those guys, and what are their parties like?
Nemesis: It’s funny how I got involved with CON*tourage. I played drums in heavy metal, industrial, and glam bands for years. When I saw a guy dressed up like Axl Rose in 2008, I had to go say hi. He had the tattoos down and everything. I was impressed with the amount to detail involved, and he was a cool guy to boot. As it turns out, he was Mark Baggett from CON*tourage. He invited me to his suite party, and he came out to the Dragon Dance. We stayed in touch over the next year, as I had a resident gig in Birmingham for Sleep When You’re Dead. He was out at every one he could make it to, and even drove over to Atlanta when I was spinning there as well. Mark knew of my rock and roll background, and we talked about my DJing the Heavy Metal party they were going to throw (at Dragon*Con) in 2009. I jumped on board, and now it’s tradition. The whole CON*tourage group is great. They just want to throw kick ass parties and have fun. Hey, twist my arm. They have a huge suite in the Hyatt and decorate it amazingly with lights and video, and we just crank it up and have a blast! Everyone shows up in costumes of rockers or rock concert goers and we sing the words to the songs loud and proud!
Examiner: You’re not just a special guest at Dragon*Con, but you’re also a fan. In what ways are you a geek? How long have you been going to Dragon*Con? What are some of your favorite programming tracks/panels/events?
Nemesis: I’ve been going to Dragon*Con, I would guess, since 2005. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, always will be. When I was a kid, I saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn in the theater–that was mind-blowing. So was The Black Hole. I loved Blade Runner. And of course Superman I and II–I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. Alien and Aliens. But my really big geek out thing is actually horror. I have a ton of Texas Chainsaw Massacre memorabilia. One of the best events I went to at Dragon*Con was the Dawn Contest in 2009 when Anthony Daniels emceed it. He was brilliant!
Examiner: What is your schedule for Dragon*Con?
- Thursday, Sept. 1, 8-10pm – CON*tourage Meet and Greet – Hyatt Lobby Bar, “Twenty Two Storys”
- Friday, Sept. 2, midnight-3am – CON*tourage Heavy Metal Party – Hyatt Suite # TBA
- Saturday, Sept. 3, 5:30-6:30pm – Panel: State of the Goth Scene – Hyatt, Montreal/Vancouver
- Saturday night, 2am-6am (technically Sunday morning) Marriott Atrium Ballroom – Saturday Night Dragon Dance/Secretroom.net Sci-Fi Dance Party*
*Please note that you must have a Dragon*Con badge to enter the Saturday Night Dragon Dance and all other Dragon*Con events.
The Saturday night Dragon Dance will take place from after 2am until 6am in the Marriott Marquis’ Atrium Ballroom immediately following the Freezepop concert. It techincally scheduled for 3am, but it will likely begin sooner, and you will want to get there early in order to get in right away. Like Nemesis said, last year there was a long line. People were actually held at the door because the room was at capacity!
For more DJ Nemesis and the Saturday Night Dragon Dance, visit his official website and the Facebook event page. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and listen to his Podcast on iTunes. Bonus: Go to Soundcloud, where DJ Nemesis mixes available for online streaming and download.
Read more about Dragon*Con, CON*tourage, visit the Dragon*Con Official Website, and read about underground events at Dragon*Con.