Posted on 20 May 2010.
From city to city, booth to booth, DJ Joe Gauthreaux brings the vibe and the beat to the premium gay clubs and parties all across the world. But the New Orleans born and bred beatmaster has his feet set firmly on the ground. He’s both shy and engaging, and his sincerity shines through both in conversation and in his music. That sincerity has fueled his jump from teenage busboy to global star.
Gauthreaux took some time out while roaming the streets of San Francisco to talk to Fenuxe about his upcoming Memorial Day set at Pensacola’s Emerald City, the nomadic lifestyle of a DJ, playing for straight audiences, a “revealing” first gig and his love for Atlanta boys.
Fenuxe: So how does someone go from busing tables at Chuck E. Cheese in New Orleans to traveling the world as a DJ?
DJ Joe Gauthreaux: I was 16, that was my very first job. Everybody’s gotta start somewhere I guess! Then when I was a senior in high school I started going out to the clubs. I just loved all the dance music and found myself really captivated by the whole club scene. So I asked some DJs there to show me how to do it and they did. I made some tapes and brought them to the clubs and it just took on a life of its own.
Fenuxe: What do you like most about traveling from city to city?
Gauthreaux: All the amazing friends I’ve been able to make. And it’s just been really nice to travel to all parts of the world that I wouldn’t have got to see on my own. But the act of traveling? I don’t think anyone really likes that, but you learn how to deal. I try and spend a lot of time at home in L.A. To achieve some form of normal life—going to the gym and dinner with friends and going to movies and stuff.
Fenuxe: What’s your strangest or most memorable gig?
Gauthreaux: One of the little-known facts I don’t even put out there is that one of my first DJ gigs was at a bathhouse. I DJ’d there for about three months until one of the clubs gave me a shot. I was so nervous! I’m very shy so I was all completely covered up and all these guys are walking around in next to nothing or nothing and I’m being offered sex from strangers. So that counts as one of the strangest! [laughs]
One of the best would have to be Black Party in New York. It’s such an iconic party and I got the last shift. It was definitely an experience.
Fenuxe: What is your creative process like?
Gauthreaux: It’s almost a 24-7 thing. I’m not the type of person to get up in the morning and work from 9 to 5 on music, it’s not like that. I have the luxury of doing it when I want to do it. I just have to be feeling it. I’ve been asked before if I have a day job. I’m like, “Are you crazy?!” [laughs] It takes so much time to get ready for these gigs, ya know?
I’m sure it wouldn’t take me all that time if all I was playing was Beyonce or Madonna and Lady Gaga. Those are obvious. I’m not trying to sound egotistical or anything but there are just so many DJs out there nowadays so I really have to work extra hard to set myself apart. I’m just trying to create an experience that you’re not hearing anywhere else.
Fenuxe: So Atlanta will be sending a huge crowd down to Pensacola. What do Atlanta boys bring to the table at your shows?
Gauthreaux: They make my job a LOT easier because I have so many friends in Atlanta and I’m so welcome in the DJ community there. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for which makes it a little easier, but it also makes it a little more challenging too because they’ve heard me be good. So it definitely makes me step up my game because these guys expect the best.
Fenuxe: What do you listen to when you’re on-the-go or at the gym?
Gauthreaux: I usually listen to stuff that I’m currently working on. I’ll download it and just bring it to the gym. Right now there’s one particular song that’s like my anthem right now which is The Temper Trap, “Sweet Disposition.”
Like I said, it’s just a 24-7 process. But I like it like that, it’s my livelihood. This is what I’ve chosen to do. And I love it! I love dance music. I’m not a DJ for people to cheer for me or anything, I just really love music.
Fenuxe: Do you ever play for straight audiences?
Gauthreaux: Not really, I mean I play for straight audiences that happen to wander in but I’m not one of those DJs who’s trying to cross over. I know that sounds silly but I know my crowd. I like playing for the gays. I’m not straight, I don’t know what straight people wanna hear and I’m not altogether that interested. If straight people wander into a gay club and happen to like the music then great! I think that’s awesome. I’m just not trying to be someone else, you know?
Fenuxe: Do you have a long term plan or goal or do you just take it day-by-day and see what happens?
Gauthreaux: Honestly I feel like there’s so much more to do with the path I’m on right now. I just started to produce, so I feel like my feet are just getting wet in that area. Part of me feels old because I’ve been doing it for like 13 years but another part of me still feels pretty young because there are a lot of DJs that are approaching 50 years old who are still going really strong. I’m gonna do it as long as I feel like I’m not…sounding lame [laughs] and as long as people keep coming to hear me play. If all those things line up then I’m going to keep on doing it.
Fenuxe: So what are your plans for Pensacola?
Gauthreaux: I’ll get there Friday morning and go to the beach with all my friends and then go to the gig on Saturday night. I’ll definitely hang out and have fun for a little while. I’m looking forward to it because all my Hotlanta boys are gonna be there, so I’m happy!
Fenuxe: We’ll see you there, Joe!
*DJ Joe Gauthreaux will be appearing at Emerald City in Pensacola on Saturday, May 29th. For more information visit his website atwww.djjoegauthreaux.com.
Joe Gauthreaux Top Ten:
Kelis – Acapella (Joe Gauthreaux Symphony Remix)
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition (Axwell Remix)
Lady Gaga – Telephone (various mixes)
Zoe Badwi – Release Me (Joe Gauthreaux Private Rework)
Richard Grey – I’m Back (One Night In Ibiza Mix)
Yinon Yahel – I Feel the Music (Original Dub)
Goldfrapp – Rocket (Ralphi Rosario Remix)
Edson Pride – Every Single Time (Joe Gauthreaux mixes)
Bimbo Jones – Freeze (Joe Gauthreaux 2010 Remix)
Hoxton Whores – Sunrise