Jeff Jens aka DJ Deniro is a Vegas local by way of Seattle, making his mark as one of DefTal’s most active DJ’s on the roster, whether in front of or behind the turntables. You can find Deniro at various residencies around Las Vegas, and when he’s not working, he’s busy programming and keeping you entertained on DefTal Radio. His journey to the uncharted waters of Vegas was a long and rewarding one and he’s set his sights on taking the mountain top.
How’d you get started?
I knew I wanted to learn about the DJ game and get into it seriously from the time I was 14. I was also really into basketball and track all year round so it ended up just something in the back of my mind. Then college came around and balancing basketball, a full load of classes and an internship at Clear Channel Seattle became unrealistic so I had to choose one. After finishing my degree I decided to focus on radio full-time and went to back to Bellevue College and took all the radio classes they had to offer.
What made you make the big move to Vegas?
While working at Kube 93.3fm I went to every event and club night that our on-air mixers would play at to watch them perform. I soon after bought my own equipment and began practicing and submitting mixes to our Music Director and Program Director. Shortly after that I began to pick up club gigs around the Seattle Tacoma area. Then going back to School attending the Art Institute of Seattle for Sound Design I began working in the imaging department producing commercials for iHeart Radio. Las Vegas was just that natural progression from where I was at the time.
Who are your influences?
My major influences would have to be the guys I learned from early on DJ Scene, Supasam, and B-Mello for the technical aspects. Then guys outside of Seattle Vice, AM (r.i.p.) in the clubs and I would watch Funk Master Flex, DJ Clue, Khaled, Felli Fell on the radio and marketing side of the game. When On-line streaming came around that was a game changer for me, being able to hear mix shows in other markets. Seeing how different styles and programming was in other parts of the country was huge.
What’s playing in your car currently?
Currently playing in my car would be mostly Radio in other markets I stream from my phone a lot. I like to check in on mix shows in LA, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Miami to see what’s big around the country. Then of course Sirius XM, Dash radio and Local radio here in Las Vegas.
You have the night off and you want to hang out with friends. Where do you go?
I usually make the rounds myself to sneak in and see what other dj’s are playing. I’ll hit casinos on and off the strip as well as local lounges and underground spots.
Name one of the weirdest things that has happened to you while you were in the middle of DJ’ing.
The weirdest thing that has ever happened to me while I was in the middle of Dj’ing would have to be, (and I don’t want to say it was weird) but it’s the craziest thing that I would say doesn’t happen all the time, happened not too long ago. There was a huge fight on New Year’s Eve a couple years back. It came down to the group that started it but the security could not take them down so it just kept getting worse and worse. The crowd including staff and management left, everyone was scared. The guys waved their guns around but never shot, thank god. My girlfriend and I ended up locking our selves in the closet for almost an hour until medics came and the cops cleared the club.
Catch DJ Deniro at his residencies at EyeCandy at Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur Pools, and also at Centra in Luxor!
DJ Corona is one of DefTal’s hardest working DJ’s. Within the year and a half that she’s been in Las Vegas (after moving from her hometown of Denver, Colorado), she’s gone from a footnote to one of the most sought-after female DJ’s on the Las Vegas Strip!
What got you started in the first place?
I started at a young age, learning the ropes from my dad doing weddings, parties, and school dances, which started my interest in providing music for crowds. After going to my first club and my first rave, I knew at that moment I wanted more. I started doing my research and homework through YouTube, internet resources, and learning more from other DJ’s. I was also interested in Turntablism and the art of Hip-Hop, which was introduced to me by Dj Tanastadi, who then also added Video DJ’ing to my arsenal.
Is there one point in time, an experience, a concert, etc. that made you think, “this is what I want to do!”
It was definitely my first sighting of a female DJ, Miss Lisa! At the time I was doing a lot of the small mobile DJ stuff. It was at that moment that I told myself that I wanted more and that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a bigger audience and I wanted to create my own style.
Who are your inspirations?
Many people are inspired by the big names out there like Jazzy Jeff, A Trak, and Diplo to name a few (which are also a few of my favorites), but to me it remains a lot of the local DJ’s . It’s one thing to go see the big names (sure they hit you with some inspiration during their sets with the amazing vibes and their skill), but there is nothing like being able to chat with the up and coming local talent. That’s where I get my inspiration – just because you’re a small fish doesn’t mean you can’t grow.
What do you love about being a Vegas DJ?
I definitely love the fact that you’re allowed to be you and make your own style out of the music you choose. Back home if it’s not played on the local radio many people stand around looking like “what’s this?” Out here in Vegas, everyone is open to having a great time and just dancing. You definitely get a chance to discover who you are and what you want to sound like.
What do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years?
Within the next 5 years I definitely see myself expanding. Every day is a day to increase your skill. I still have a lot of learning to do. I definitely want to master the art of scratching and maybe joining the boys on the battlegrounds. I also want to learn production. I see myself at bigger venues and traveling and sharing my passion with everyone!
Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring DJ’s?
The biggest advice I could give anyone, just like I was given as an aspiring DJ, is to never give up. There will be times when you get frustrated and just want to throw it all away but always remember that someone you are inspired by also started where you are.