Known as the busiest DJ in Los Angles, DJ William Reed, also recognized under the moniker DJ Pleasure Principle, has used his skills and know how of the marketing and PR world to curate a successful DJing career that will take him to over 300 venues this year alone.
It’s no conscience that the man’s last name is Reed, reading the crowd appropriately has been his staple when he gets behind the board to spin, but the journey to becoming one of LA’s hit DJ’s wasn’t easy, as anything worth having is. His first gig came to him unexpectedly when a friend asked if he could come DJ a club who’s manager just fired all the staff. He had one condition, “I would want to play the music I want to play.”
Earning $50 and a night of free drinks, Reed played to a barely there crowd and was instructed by one patron to “turn down the suck” after getting ice thrown at him. However, the club manager liked his vibe and invited him back. Fast forward six months and that spot became the biggest dance night in the city. How so you ask? DJ William Reed would invite people out to the club he was working whenever there was a huge concert or show for an after party. He served as his own promoter to get people to hear him spin which he mentions is important to get buzz around yourself.
The buzz around this DJ comes from his eclectic taste in music and taking music lovers on a journey through song. “I would have to say I don’t like to stay in one gear for too long,” he said about mixing, “If I’m a playing an extended DJ set I don’t like to play the same genre all over. I like to take the room on a journey throwing in lots of classics like Prince, Bowie, and James Brown, then I mix soul and funk with contemporary. In one of my sets you can hear anything from Biggie to The Clash. I like to weave in between different genres, but not to the point where it seems I’m genre hopping.”
As a DJ, Reed takes his craft very serious but not that hard to stick to the stigma that DJ’s don’t take requests. “I don’t pre-plan my sets and there’s a reason for that. I have in the past and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s fine, but depending on the crowd you need to be able to play to that audience. You always need to be ready to go with the flow and switch gears.” He then spoke on taking audience requests revealing, “I don’t mind requests, but there’s some venues I work that don’t allow me to. Some even have a sticker on the booth saying ‘no request.’ Most of these places want a specific sound and I’m not allowed to venture off from that. At the end of the day you’re there to make people happy.”
Before moving to LA a few years ago, William was a star in Arizona appearing in major newspapers boasting about the work he did in music. He took his talents further west and explains how his background in events and media ultimately gave him a huge advantage. “DJing is the easy part. Anybody can show up, mix two records, and throw their hand in the air or whatever, but it’s what you’re doing the other hours of the day that’s going to make it a success or not,” he said, adding, “All the stuff that’s behind the scenes, stuff that people don’t see, the stuff that you don’t get any recognition for, that’s the stuff that keeps you running so to speak.”
For DJ’s worried about generating a name for themselves or making it big, Williams Reed offers this, “It usually come quite naturally. It’s about being professional, doing what you say you’re going to do and being the best version of yourself. Don’t try to go out there and DJ if you’re not technically ready yet,” he advised. “Once you’re technically ready and you know your way around a DJ booth, know how to work a room and read a crowd, then you can go out there, but you have to be professional. It’s your brand and your business, you have to treat it as such. Show up early, network, shake hands, be nice to everybody because you don’t know who you’ll be sitting next to. Stay humble, work hard, and be persistent.”
For 2017 you can bet to see DJ William Reed at one of his many residencies including: Harvard & Stone, Bar Marmont, The Standard, No Vacancy, Ace Hotel, Parlour Room, and Chestnut Club. He plans to do some more working overseas in Europe, DJing an Oscars after party, and producing an exciting summer event that you have to be on the look out for if you’re on the west coast.
Living or heading to the LA area? Be sure to check out when DJ William Reed spins. Keep up with his shows and other projects he’s working on by following him on social media: @WilliamReed on Instagram, @PleasurePMusic on Twitter, and search Pleasure Principle on Facebook.
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Photo: Mora/May Agency