Last year, when Sheryl and I went to Electric Zoo Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting DJ Chuckie. I had a long, in-depth conversation with him never realizing that he was a DJ! Then, as we part ways, he headed to main stage to perform for 15,000 people. A few months later I had the chance to set down with Chuckie for an exclusive artist interview. Chuckie is associated with the Dirty Dutch and has been performing all over the globe for many years. He has also found a home at LAVO New York, as well as in Las Vegas at Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub. While crashing in the presidential suite at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Chuckie performs night after night for raving fans. His work is incredible, and he has remixed some of the biggest names in the business. As a matter of fact, he has a new remix out with Enrique Iglesias that just rocks my socks every time I hear it. He has worked with David Guetta, Kelly Rowland and many more. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Chuckie.
Is it Chuckie or DJ Chuckie?
You can say Chuckie.
Where are you originally from?
I am from this little country called Paramaribo. It’s right above Brazil, between Guyane and French Guyane. I was there until I was eight and moved to Holland. South America is great. People often ask me if I am Latino? I have to say yes; I am from South America.
How did you get started in this business?
My best friend was a DJ back then and I was always playing around in music and with tapes. I helped my friend when he played at a school parties and stuff. I helped him by putting records on the decks. All of a sudden I was mixing. That moment was magical. I got home and collected everything I needed to get started. Then I began playing birthday parties. Eventually I ended up in the club.
You perform all over the world. But you have performed a few times at a new joint in New York City. What’s it like performing at LAVO New York? Have you ever performed at LAVO in Las Vegas?
I didn’t want to travel as much in 2010. I have been around the world and I wanted a few residencies. We chose LAVO because it has a high standard, as far as clubbing goes. People dress nice when they come in, yet it still has the rave vibe. It’s different from the LAVO in Vegas because that one was built on hip-hop.
The one in New York has potential. Everything is open format, and we are building a house culture there. For me to have a small audience, and when I say small it’s between 500-1000 people, to build it from… it’s really cool to me. I can bring new records and play new stuff.
I had the chance to see you perform at last year’s Electric Zoo Festival. This year there will be three days of music! Are you planning on coming back this year?
Hopefully, if I made a good impression, I am definitely coming back. I just hope I made a good impression with the promoters. The place where I want to be known, New York is kind of like a place where everything starts. It’s also cool to get in touch with the people on such a big event.
Is it even possible for you to pick a favorite venue?
No, but I do have a favorite type of venue. The most important piece of the puzzle is the people who come for the music. You could be stuck in a VIP club, but smaller places are great. You can mix. That’s important for me.
The most impressive club I played this year… Marquee in Vegas. The DJ booth cost three million alone, and have my own iPad dock there. It has my own sound effects on it and everything. It’s a really nice dance floor. It’s really cool. So for now, my favorite is Marquee.
What’s the biggest crowd you have ever played for?
I have to say 150,000 in Amsterdam. Every year we play the Museum Square on Queen’s Day. I have played for maybe 100,000 in LA. This year I’m playing a carnival in Brazil that could top both those. Festivals down there can reach the millions. It’s going to be nuts.
You have remixed a ton of tracks from Ludacris to Guetta, Kelly Rowland and more. Where does the process start for producing a remix?
It’s really hard to because the thing with remixes, you always try to top your last one. You cannot go harder and louder than the original mix, which is also tough. You have to find the right way with the vocals. The vocals have to have its place in the remix for it to work.
Depending on the vocal, you build the remix on that; it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, and the moment I need vocals I know what direction I want to take it in. The better the vocals the easier it is to build a remix.
You have a residency at Marquee coming up. Tell me a little bit more about the Dirty Dutch Red Light District.
Basically, what I’m doing right now for every residency this year I have a different theme. For me, I wanted to kind of stigmatize the stuff we are known for in Holland. The one thing in Holland is the Red Light District. We want that urban chique vibe, a little bit x-rated; but you are going to see a little red light. You will see a lot of decorations and I just try to create a vibe for every city I am in.
Where do you stay in Las Vegas when you are doing a residency?
I stay at the Cosmopolitan, of course. It’s in the same building. I get in the elevator and go down. And boom! The hotel is impressive. You should do the Cosmopolitan; the one thing is cool, every room has a balcony. I play for Marquee, therefore I have the presidential suite.
What’s the best concert you have ever been to?
There are two. One was the Chemical Brothers. I saw them live a long time ago; I am talking like 1993 or 1992. I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers live. I was impressed with the amount of LED they had on stage.
What would you be doing if you were not performing?
I think I would still be in the music industry, you know? Right now, what I’m doing besides performing, I run a record label. I feel that it’s always been a part of my daily activities. If I weren’t a DJ I would be a record executive or something like that. Maybe I would be a CEO or something. Oh wait, I already am!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am on some island, under a coconut tree sipping on some coconut juice. (Laughs)
Chilling! I have never been the kind of DJ to focus on a residency. I enjoy seeing new places. Even in Holland, when I wasn’t event international yet, I wanted to play different cities every week. I quite enjoy residencies right now. I will still be doing those, and just having fun.
But the coconut is the main goal.
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
I want people to think that we had an influence on dance music. I want people to think that we did change the sound, for a bit. We took it to a different level, and in a totally different direction. That’s hard in music; to have an influence on the music itself.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
Damn, that’s a hard question! I am not in it for the money. I’m in it for the love of music.