Q&A: With Nate Valentino
With DJ Nate Valentino offering his services for another Pink Wig Night, we thought it was about time wiggers got the to know more about the man under the headphones. Let’s get into it!
How did it all start for you?
It all started at 14 when I was at a youth club and there was a DJ there called DJ H2O teaching people how to DJ. I had always liked the idea as I made mixtapes at home every Sunday, taping my favourite songs from the Top 40. He told me I had to put one song with another, so I went through his records and found two records.
I started to play the Instrumental to ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ by The Verve and added the acapella from Jay Z’s ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’, I then asked him how was I meant to play another song when both turntables were being used, to which he looked at me in silence for while. He then Said “Wow!… How do fancy opening for me tonight?” To which I was delighted and nervous. That night I went to a nightclub with him and a group of friends and played the first half hour of his set, the first track I played as a DJ was ‘Where Is The Love’ by Black Eyed Peas.
What’s the best gig you’ve done?
It is hard to chose one gig in particular that was the best. I have had so many great gigs for various reasons. Some fairly recent gigs that stand out are Pink Wig last year, each year is amazing but I feel it gets bigger and better each year, and I am so looking forward to being part of it again this year!
Also It was an honour to be asked to play at Toast for New Years Eve, it was such an awesome audience! Anywhere were the audience is up for a good time, and everyone is happy. Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza is another special gig, especially Sunset sets. There is something magical about playing chilled music as the sun goes down, although that is more about the place than the people.
How was Ibiza this year?
Ok, that is a seemingly simple question, but one with a complex answer. In short, Ibiza was pretty good, although the weather was the worst I have seen it. But that isn’t really an interesting answer, so my long answer would be: When it comes to the club culture in Ibiza, I have a few opinions that I know are shared with other DJs out there and most likely the locals.
Ibiza, and the Balearic Islands are very special to me, and I have been going for many years now. I have seen the islands change over the past decade, and not always for the good, Ibiza especially! Ibiza has progressively become more and more of a rich persons playground.
With drinks often starting at 10 Euros, entry to some of the clubs costing in excess of 60 Euros, and a meal at Sublimotion, a ‘molecular gastronomy restaurant’ costing north of 1,500 Euros, VIP culture is bastardising what once was a great scene! All the clubs have VIP areas with bottle service with tables costing thousands of Euros. The rich and famous like to be in the same room as the public, but to also be separated from them.
Most of them will be looking at their phones and taking selfies most the night. When did the music become a secondary thing in a nightclub? It’s not like celebrities flocking to the island is new, as they have been coming for many decades, starting with Errol Flynn and Laurence Olivier coming in search of privacy.
Then came the rock stars such as Pink Floyd and Robert Plant who would frequent Pacha, Privilege and Amnesia back in the 1970’s. In 1983 Freddie Mercury famously had his birthday party at Pikes Hotel, (Now known as Ibiza Rocks Hotel) Which is seen in the ‘Club Tropicana’ music video. I lost a lot of respect for Amnesia when they decided to make Paris Hilton a resident DJ. Although she has now called time on her residency there, and the club is starting to get back to it’s strong line-ups.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has to be the people that come out to have a good time listening to great music. Anyone who enjoys what I am doing inspires me to do my best to make that happen.
What advice would you give aspiring DJ’s?
I think firstly, it is important to ask yourself why you want to be a DJ. If you want to do it for fame and fortune, I would say don’t bother, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. However, if you want to be a DJ because you have a passion for music and sharing that music with people, then go for it.
Get yourself some cheap turntables and start playing your favourite tracks to you and your friends, once you think you are good enough, start recording mixes and posting them online at Mixcloud. Talk to local DJs, promoters and managers/owners of local venues to see if they would be interested in having you one night. Expect to be paid poorly, or not at all at first (remember, its not about the money!).
Also there is a massive debate about the use of the sync button to beat match. My view is that it is one of many tools in order to make your mixes sound smooth, it is ok to use it, but I would encourage you to learn how to beat match properly first. It is fairly obvious when the sync button has been used, and I respect DJs more that aren’t afraid of making mistakes. DJing isn’t all about how something is mixed, but also about the music you play!