DJ Carlo Atendido talks to Days in Wonderland about pursuing his childhood dream of DJing (yes, that’s a term now), its natural evolution, and his biggest challenge whilst doing so.
You found your passion for mixing while you were studying a Management degree. How did you decide that a career in music was something you wanted to pursue full-time?
I never really decided to pursue DJing full-on. It started out as a hobby. When I was a kid, I was always interested in this DJ thing, but it was only when I was in college that I decided to give it a try. From there, things fell into place. I started DJ-ing, then friends started hooking me up. I started joining competitions. Things evolved naturally. The more I did it and stuck with it, the more things just worked out.
One of the great things about your mixes is that you like to play around with different genres of music. How is the creative process like when curating a mix? Do you go with a certain vibe?
I’m wearing a DJ shirt, it’s called “Genre Bender.” It’s really the style of DJ-ing that stuck with me. I would go to these college parties and would always hear that the DJs are playing the same thing: EDM and top 40. I wanted to hear a rock or punk song or John Mayer. I wished there was a DJ who could mix all those things together, and then I realized maybe that’s what I could do. I’ll be that DJ that mixes things together. I became what you call an open format DJ. That’s what prepped me to join Redbull Thre3style where the object was to mix at least 3 genres of music together seamlessly. I can never stick to one genre. It’s like food. You can’t eat sushi forever. I need a taco here or a burger there.
If you were to make a mix for your favorite TV show, what are some of the tracks you would include in that mix?
I like Walking Dead, so I’d put scary trap music. Some emotional songs, too. And then a drop. “Bam! You got bit by a zombie!” It’s hard to name specific songs.
Earlier this month, you performed at Unleashed 6. What was that experience like??
It was super fun. My partner Nix Damn P and I were doing a set together. We wanted to be different. We wanted to play hip hop, trap and twerk; and showcase what we’re good at which is scratching and turntablism–that’s when you manipulate a record to make it create a certain sound.
We practiced hard for our set. We had routines. What was fun, scary and exciting about it was that all of these things they’re not spontaneous as how DJs normally perform. If you go to my Instagram or Facebook, you can see the product of our practice.
If you could play at any music festival (local or international), which stage would it be?
Coachella. So many people from all walks of life go there. And Burning Man.
Aside from creating amazing mixes, have you ever produced music? If not, would you eventually like to explore that side of music?
I’m slowly diving into that. It’s challenging because that’s not my forte. I want to get into that so at least I have a different voice out there.
Have you thought about what sound you want?
As DJ, I ask how the audience is going to take it, but as a creative person, I ask what sound do I feel will work? I’m thinking about myself. That should be the focus. Create stuff that you personally enjoy. I’m making music that will make me smile.
I’ve read on Juice that you recently tied up with SM Youth as part of SM Music. Can you tell us more about SM Music? Does it entail releasing a couple of songs or collaborating with other up-and-coming musicians as part of the campaign?
I will be the voice of SM Youth Music. Every month I will be making their Spotify playlists, and create mixes that will accompany the release of their clothes. I’ll be a musical scorer for their fashion campaigns. It’s nice that SM Youth is giving me an opportunity to express myself through their market.
What was your biggest challenge while pursuing a career in music and how did you deal with it?
Trying to make what I do palatable to the audience. Sometimes when you’re in a club, the audience just wants to hear EDM or hip hop, but I want to mix everything together. When they hear something that they’re not familiar with, they’re like “What’s this? I didn’t come to the club to hear this.” But sometimes people do get it. Besides that, I suppose it’s creating music. My voice with a song. It’s a new challenge.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling to achieve their dreams?
Don’t stop. Don’t have anyone discourage you. If you’re in it for the money or the fame, you’re going nowhere. Do it because you love it. If you really want to get famous or get the money, just make good content. The people will follow. Be so good that they can’t refuse you.
Photos courtesy of Carlo Atendido