Most people don’t know Drumbar for our music, but we must say that we’ve got some pretty good DJs. One in particular we would like to introduce to you, Clay Collier, has been playing at Drumbar for a year and three months. Here’s a little bit about this guy and some insight into his music. Be sure to stop by to see him every Friday night at 9pm!
How long have you been DJing?
What inspired you to start?
In college I took a study abroad trip to Sydney, Australia for a semester. I was going to the University of Nebraska at the time and had never really been exposed to night clubs, DJs, or even dance music. The music was a lot different over there, for the most part, and I started researching DJs I liked and clubs where my friends and I could go dancing. Soon I found myself frequenting the King’s Cross nightlife district where the majority of clubs were in Sydney, having the time of my life. I loved watching the DJs there, how they would control the whole room and be able to effect people physically and emotionally with music. I had never seen any of this before. I came back to the states and knew I wanted to learn how to DJ. So, I bought some basic equipment and started mixing tracks in my bedroom.
What is your favorite type of music to play?
I’ve always loved house music. The deep, soulful, or jackin’ kind that Chicago is known for rather than the EDM kind. Being a working DJ in Chicago is a great fit for me because I find most of the crowds I play for are really receptive to house, whether it’s a new tune or a classic. I like playing a bit of hip-hop too, nothing really beats having a full room and playing something everyone can sing along to. I also like to play a lot of 80’s R&B and will always have a soft spot for yacht rock. I get booked for a wide range of gigs so I’m never playing the same thing from night to night, which keeps things fresh for me.
At Drumbar I try to combine pop and dance music, both current and classic. You’ll hear upbeat music to dance, mingle, and sip cocktails to with your friends. Are you going to hear the new Tiesto, David Guetta, or Avicii track? Probably not. But you will hear stuff like Disclosure, Gorgon City, and Chromeo along with classics from the 80’s and 90’s like Prince, Crystal Waters, Hall & Oates, Janet Jackson and a ton of others. I try to maintain the loungy vibe of the room while keeping people engaged with fun music that they know well or tracks they haven’t heard in a while. The “deep house” remixes of Top 40 songs always fit the vibe of the room too, haha.
Is it the same as the music you listen to regularly?
Yes. I’m constantly listening to new house music mixes, and new music in general. I like open format live sets too where the DJ is working in multiple genres and the creativity it takes to pull off a good one. I’m a big fan of the Do-Over Sound Cloud page and DJ AM mixes.
What are some things that inspire your music?
Definitely going out during the week or on an off night and listening to other DJ’s. One thing I love about DJing is that I’m constantly learning. I never feel like I’m going to know everything and I’m ok with that. I’m a student of music and the DJ craft, so hearing people play that are pushing the boundaries and not just going through the motions keeps me motivated to push myself.
What was your first DJ experience?
I believe it was opening for my friends’ band in Lincoln, Nebraska at a place called Knickerbockers. Back then I was playing a lot of disco house and electro house. I played with the band multiple times and it was a good way for me to get experience in a low pressure situation. From there I played at mostly frat parties and such through the end of college.
What’s your best Drumbar DJ memory?
Probably a couple of weeks ago on Halloween. It was the night before my brother’s wedding, so we had a lot of friends and family in town. A huge group came to Drumbar and really made the party pop off. It felt like a house party with so many familiar faces there, everyone dancing and having a good time. When the atmosphere in there gets like that, it’s hard to top.
See some of Clay’s music here.