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DJ Tayo B - San Diego's Diamond in the Rough

Posted on November 26 2018

One of my favorite parts about music festivals is the people. They can make or break a festival for me. Some of my best friends and favorite humans came into my life through encounters at festivals.

This year, I had the pleasure of meeting Juan Benitez, aka DJ TayoB, at Dirtybird Campout. As fate would have it, he was directed to the campsite next to ours and of course we welcomed him to join in the shenanigans. He rolled with our crew all weekend, and is now added to that list of cool ass friends that a mutual love of music has brought into my life.

He threw down at some renegades over the weekend and straight KILLED IT. I even got to see him go b2b with Chris Lake at one of the renegade sets. This guy is on the come up, so be sure to check out his work on soundcloud (linked below) and give him a follow on insta!

I think it's important to support people on their come up. To give exposure where I can. To pass on the love that people have given to me over the last four years. So I asked him if he would be interested in doing an interview and putting together an exclusive mix for us. Being the cool ass dude he is, he agreed.

Without further ado, here is a look inside the mind of Tayo B.

56: To start, tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? Where can people find your music or how do they follow you on social media? What’s your favorite color? 3am drunken snack- McDonald’s or Taco Bell? You know, the basics.

TB: First most, thank you for having me on your blog, it is definitely a pleasure. I am from San Diego, California born and raised. My music is exclusive to soundcloud right now, my link is . I like to promote my Instagram the most because it makes it much easier for me to post up-coming events and little things about my life, @tayobenitez. I love the color blue but I feel like I always wear black. As for 3am drunk snack, I don’t really like to eat after a night out because I’d rather go to sleep drunk af, but if I did have a drunk snack it would Carne Asada Fries.

56: I saw that you have an upcoming gig at Rich’s in San Diego. Have you gotten to play any other venues yet? What was your first?

TB: So I did have a show at Rich’s in San Diego, and honestly such a great venue to play. The stage is remarkable and the sound system is great too. The venue is in a community called Hillcrest which is mostly known for its LGBTQ patrons. This was my second time playing at this venue and the people who come out to this venue are always so welcoming and involved in the house music scene. Although, my show was on Thursday and I played direct support for Alex Diego who is another local artist it usually doesn’t get packed but those who are there are always dancing the night away. As for the first time I actually got to play at a club, was in Tijuana, B.C. Mexico which is right across the border from San Diego. The venue was huge and at the time I was playing latin music with some Top 40s but I always like to throw in some edm into the mix to spice things up. In San Diego, I first started playing at small local bars, where I would help out my mentor play old school freestyle and hip-hop (still my favorite to mix). Eventually I took a shot at going to a casting call for a huge nightclub in downtown San Diego called Bassmnt. Within a month I was playing my first show and eventually got the privilege to open up for huge names in the EDM world such as Blau, San Holo, Benny Bennasi, Drezo, and many more.

56: What’s the music scene like in San Diego?

TB: The music scene in San Diego has changed and became much more popular in the last 10 years. We are starting to see more artist come out to San Diego and perform. We mostly get a lot of hip-hop artist who sell out clubs and venues but the edm scene is rising rapidly. The house scene is for sure making a huge impact in San Diego with many promotional companies that host events that are strictly house/techno based.

56: When did you start DJing - and what or who influenced you to start?

TB: I began djing when I was still in middle school, at the age of 13. I got introduced to djing when I was much younger, my uncle/god-father was a local dj who pretty much brought in the uses of CDs in early 90s. He always needed help moving his equipment to private events and so he would bring me along. I remember being this little 8-10 year old and running speaker cables and setting up the mixer and table, always trying to impress my uncle to at least one day let me mix in one song. One day during an aunts sweet sixteen my uncle went to the restroom while he was djing and I decided it would be a great opportunity to mix the next song, so I picked another cd and mixed the two songs. As soon as I brought up the next song everyone looked over to me and noticed that I was mixing, but to be honest it was horrible. Ever since then I tried to learn as much as I could from my uncle about mixing. Years later, I began to dj using virtual dj and learned a little more about mixing music together and started to play at small house parties for my friends. Once I was in high school my mother started dating her current boyfriend who also dj’d and he introduced me to turntables and vinyl. At first I was completely confused on how I was supposed to mix these two records without seeing the wave forms, and that’s where I began to learn how to beat match. Even then I still had trouble having an “ear” for when the music was on beat. I decided to go the easy route and bought serato. Using serato with the turntables was so much easier since I was able to see the wave forms and could visually see when the songs where matching. In college I bought a serato controller and began to practice beat matching without the waveforms and I had to learn this because within a couple years I would be playing in a club with CDjs.

56: Who is currently your biggest inspiration in the music scene?

TB: As for current biggest inspirations I would say I have many because I love all types of music and each genre taught me something different about mixing and producing. If I had to pick three current ones, it’d have to be Blau, Shiba San, and Duke Dumont.
1. Justin Blau for his love of every aspect of the music scene and the business behind it. He is inspirational for the charity he does outside the music scene, for example his Pencil for Promise campaign.
2. Shiba San changed the way I saw house music, this happened in EDC 2015 when another friend and I were waiting for another artist to come out and perform so I decided to head towards the cosmic meadows to just chill out on the grass while we waited. As we sat there we can hear the music coming from the stage and immediately I got this happy feeling. It was all types of funky basslines and moving drums that got me on my feet and started shuffling. Ever since then I would always be listening to house music.
3. Duke Dumont taught me about energy and track selection when it came to djing, the way he would continue bringing more energy to the dance floor or introduce the next song was remarkable. Even to this day my favorite mix is his Escape Psycho Circus set 2017.

56: If you could collab or even just meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

TB: This is a very difficult question to answer because I would love to collab with so many artist or even just sit in during their studio sessions to learn from what they do but If I could collab with an artist I think it would have to be with Green Velvet. He is one of those artists who pioneered house/tech-house music and being able to see him work on tracks and how he created those tracks would be amazing to me. I have always been more of a visual learner and sitting down and reading articles on production is boring to me. Actually getting hands on and messing around with different sounds and creating different melodies and/or grooves is much more inspiring.

56: Along the same lines, if you could perform at one festival, past or present, which one would it be and why?

TB: If I could perform at any festival present or past, I’d have to say that I would love to perform at EDC Las Vegas because that is where it all began for me. I still remember the first time I walked into the venue in 2015 through the grand stands and just feeling the bass and hearing the crowds of people, while looking over it all and seeing the lights and production, I began to cry because I couldn’t believe I was actually there. I want to give people that same feeling as I am up there playing music for them.

56: I got to meet you at your first Dirtybird Campout, what’s the next festival on the list for you?

TB: Yes my first Dirtybird Campout and it was amazing!!!! Thank you and your squad for taking us in when it was just two of us. Y’all made it that much more amazing. As for my next festival I really don’t know yet, I have taken a step back from going to festivals because I am focusing more on building a name for myself in San Diego, but for sure I will be attending Dirtybird Campout again!

56: What’s one track that never gets old for you, no matter how many times you hear it?

TB: A track that never gets old for me would have to ‘When I Hear Music’ by Debbie Deb. I grew up listening to this type of music and it introduced me to the electronic part of music. Although right now I can’t stop putting ‘Woke’ (Martin Solveig Remix) by Tiga on repeat. (I’m listening to it right now, haha)

56: What do you usually start with, or what’s your process when preparing for a set?

TB: When preparing for a set, I don’t ever have a setlist. I tried it once not to lie but it felt so boring. Usually the day before or the morning of my show I’ll go through beatport, youtube, soundcloud, spotify and BPM supreme and listen to different tracks from a certain genre, usually tech-house, house, electro house, and I download the songs that I feel have the sound for me when I dj on that day or in the future. Right before I get on stage I usually have a song that I want to start with but with all the nerves I end up playing something different. I always start with the slower bpms though, in the 120-123 range and start making my way up until eventually I reach the 128-130s.

56: What’s your next step? Do you think you’ll ever make this your full time career?

TB: My next step, hmmm? I think I’ve asked that question to myself so many
times but I feel like there is only so far I can go right now as simply a dj. I have been producing for a couple years now and I actually just released a couple track on my soundcloud but I KNOW that I am nowhere near where I want to be or should be. I feel that I’m holding myself back because I’m afraid of rejection and I’m my biggest critic. If eventually I do get signed by a record label and things start to progress from there then I will definitely devote my time to my music. Although, I think I would be afraid to play my own tracks and stick to mainly play other artist tracks, haha.

56: To wrap this up, what’s been the craziest or most memorable thing to happen to you on this journey?

TB: I can say that I have had many crazy moments, from throwing huge parties
in a small hotel room in Mexico to playing at a renegade party at Dirtybirds and having Chris Lake walk into the party and I’m behind the decks thinking to myself, “oh fuck, it’s Chris Lake! Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up, just mix these two songs together seamlessly, and don’t fuck up”, But the most memorable would have to be the first time I Dj’d at Bassmnt. That night I was on from 10-10:30 (early slot) and there was no big name dj playing that night but it was my first San Diego show and I invited all my friends. I just remember being extremely nervous when I got up there and wondering what all these buttons do. I played the first song and it was alright but I still wasn’t comfortable with beat matching to I tried my best. I tried to keep my head down the whole time, so that I wouldn’t be able to see people’s reaction when I would mess up. Eventually I looked up and all I saw was a crowd of my friends there to support me, and there were maybe another 6 strangers but I could hear my friends hyping everyone up. At one point I ended up droping ‘m.A.A.d CITY’ by Kendrick Lamar and it was right at the first words. All you could hear is the whole club singing, those first lyrics before the drop. That moment will forever be in my mind.

56: And finally, anything else you want to share or plug?

TB: Just want to thank you for having me be part of your career and passion for music. I hope that this isn’t too long and if it is you can edit some stuff out. As for all those reading this, thank you for taking the time and please follow me on all social media. With your support I can reach out to different cities and hopefully be playing in one near you. Thank you and hope y’all enjoy this exclusive mix. Just for a heads up I did not use any effects, just mixing between tracks with a couple loops and EQ cuts. I try to stay away from effects, although they are fun it takes away from the music.
- With love, Tayo B


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