It was a great pleasure speaking with DJ Joe Gauthreaux, a New York-based DJ who travels the world doing some of the largest, gayest parties out there. On March 30, Gauthreaux will be at two places almost at once, playing first in D.C. by day and then in New York till the wee hours of the morning.
How long have you been a DJ?
Oh, longer than I’d probably care to admit. About 18 years now. I started when I was 20.
So tell me about the D.C. party.
Well, every year I do a party during Cherry Weekend. The party I do is on Saturday for my really good friend, Moody Mustafa. He’s a local photographer, and every year he throws a birthday party. It’s always this huge event during the weekend. I’ve been his DJ for almost the last 10 years now. So this is an annual event, and it’s always a lot of fun.
So it’s a huge party?
Yeah. Basically, it’s during Cherry Weekend, which is a huge circuit event in D.C.
Is that because of the cherry blossoms?
That is exactly how it was born. It was born to correspond with the cherry blossom trees, exactly. I think every city needs kind of like a hook, I guess. That’s kind of like the thing with D.C. It’s the one time each year a lot of boys come from Philly, Baltimore, some from New York.
Where is this party taking place?
It’s at Town Nightclub, 2009 8th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. towndc.com
Besides this party, where else can you be found?
I usually travel around every weekend. I usually DJ in New York once every two months, and the rest of the time I’m usually traveling around either parts of the U.S. or Canada.
So you’re one of these world-traveled DJs.
Yeah. There’s nothing like the crowd in New York. That’s my personal opinion. That’s why I live here, but also Brazil. The people there, the energy, it’s just completely amazing.
You live in New York?
Yes, I live here in New York.
When you’re DJing in New York, do you have a particular place where you have residency?
Viva at Stage 48, 605 W 48th St., New York, NY 10019.
When is the next time that you will be there?
Actually, there the same night. The party in D.C. ends at 7 p.m., and Viva doesn’t start till 1 a.m. in New York. That all happened by accident. This is also the same night of Viva’s two-year anniversary. It just so happened they both collided at the same weekend. Because the D.C. party is during the day, it allowed me to do both.
The party in D.C., when does it begin?
It starts at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, until 7 p.m.
It has a big following, I’m guessing.
Yeah. Cherry weekend has a whole weekend of events. There’s a party Friday night, a main party Saturday night, an after party, a Sunday party. It’s basically like this real big circuit thing.
What’s your favorite thing about being a DJ?
The main thing I loved before was the whole crowd, the interaction, playing music and seeing the crowd respond—knowing that for that one moment you can make them pretty happy. That’s a pretty good rush. Now I’m making my own music, so it’s a really good platform to play my own tracks and get it out into the world. Also, it’s a lot more fulfilling now to play something that was born out of my brain and that I kind of brought into light either by myself or with a lead singer. It’s like a whole other high.
It seems as though DJs are becoming the new rock stars, replacing musical acts. Why do you think that’s happening?
I think what’s going on is that DJs nowadays are producers as well. A lot of DJs, like Calvin Harris, are making their own tracks. It’s just a natural progression of where music has gone. In the past the average consumer didn’t really know who the producer was. Nowadays, people go out to hear DJs, and they have this huge media platform and message: “Hey, we’re actually the ones producing the song.” They basically formed more of a bond between the crowd and the DJ. I don’t think you’ll ever see people not love Madonna, because people form attachments to people, but they also know people are understanding just how much work a lot of us producers do, and in turn form a better attachment to the DJ. I think that’s what’s going on a little bit.
That’s a logical answer. Do you have a type of party you prefer to play at?
It’s not that I prefer it, but mostly I play to gay parties, because I’m gay, and it’s just what I know. It’s not that I wouldn’t play for straight people.
I just know that there is a different type of music that each type of party prefers.
Yeah, there is that of course. There doesn’t have to be a bunch of shirtless boys on the dance floor to make me happy.
Ah, that would make me happy!
Well, yeah, it does, but at the same time it makes me much happier to see people who are actually into the music than what they actually look like.
Why did you become a DJ?
Plain and simply, I just love music.