When you head out for a night on the town, the atmosphere can make or break your experience, and David "DJ Fuse" Wohlfeil literally plays a major part in setting the tone for your night. As this is our Secrets issue, we asked DJ Fuse to divulge some of the professional tricks up his sleeve he uses to make your night instead of break it.
1. What do people not know about being a professional DJ?
Being a DJ is just as much about knowing music as it is about knowing the songs themselves. "When a DJ mixes songs, in theory, most intros are eight bars, so if the next song you’re mixing has a four bar intro, you would know that I need to start mixing the song in four bars into the chorus for it to sound really clean and seamless," DJ Fuse says.
2. What else do you do to make seamless transitions from song to song?
"During the day, I’ll take music and edit it, so some songs don’t even have an intro on them, so what I’ll do is I’ll go through and using software like Ableton, which is just an audio editing software, I’ll go through and just edit music," DJ Fuse says. Beyond Ableton, DJ Fuse, like most other professional DJs subscribes to a record pool at DirectMusicService.com.
3. What equipment do you use?
As a club DJ, DJ Fuse uses two turn tables, a mixer and a program called Serato. This program allows DJs to simulate using real records without having to carry crate after crate full of records to play for the night. "The records that we play don’t actually have any music on them, but they still respond like a real record. So, if I hit start or stop, the song starts or stops, or if I start scratching with the record or moving the record while it’s playing, it’s going to sound just like it would if it was a real vinyl.
4. How do you decide how long to play a song?
"The attention span of people nowadays is a lot shorter than I think what it used to be," DJ Fuse says. Most songs typically run a minute and a half to two minutes before transitioning into the next song, but other songs might just last a chorus before the switch.
For top hits that are all over the radio or if the crowd is really feeling a song, he will let it play out. So, the crowd does play a major factor in determining whether to keep the beat or scratch the song.
5. What’s your personal story?
DJ Fuse got his first mixer at 19 and started playing in his friends’ basements for parties. He branched out to fraternity parties then to the local collage bars and then to sports bars. It wasn’t till a couple years later that he had enough DJ experience under his belt to play his first club.
But long before he set up his turn tables at the club, his friends recommended he get a DJ name. At the time, he and his friends were playing across the United States on a paintball team named Fuse. "It was an awareness program of a nonprofit called Athletes Joined against Spondylitis, and one of my friends was the one who had the disease," DJ Fuse says.
Another fellow Fuse teammate, who was one of his best friends since eighth grade, also serves as an inspiration for DJ Fuse’s work. His friend always wore a band that said, "Hulkamania will live forever." "He passed away a couple years ago, and I just wanted to incorporate a way to keep him with me, so that’s why I adapted the Fuseamania," DJ Fuse says.
For more information about Fuseamania or DJ Fuse, check out Fuseamania.com. DJ Fuse also is one of the club DJs represented by NXT LVL, a new booking management company geared specifically to representing DJs. Keep your eye out for their Web site coming soon to NXTLVLArtists.com.
Photo courtesy of David "DJ Fuse" Wohlfeil
Photographer: Eric Cornelius