This year, no one could predict with confidence who would win DJ of the Year. At the first of the two showcases, reigning champion DJ illoom threw down a set that reminded casual club-goers that dubstep and jungle can definitely fill a dance floor. And at the second, veteran DJ J Godina smashed his laptop and followed it up with an all-vinyl set that seamlessly connected Wu-Tang Clan with Joy Division.
But being a great DJ takes more than just superb taste in music or the ability to scratch over vinyl. Kyle Erickson, aka DJ Flash & Flare, has proven that to be the best DJ in Utah, you need to not only be able to mix all genres well and piece together creative sets, but also lift up other DJs.
“Salt Lake has a tight-knit group of counter-culture people, especially downtown,” says Erickson, who also won the 2011 spin-off. “With W Lounge (where his popular residency, Stir Friday, began) these [DJs] got the opportunity to really sharpen their skills. I watched some people who are now amazing DJs find their sound there. Kids like JRapp, Alastair, Mama Beatz and Decoy. Now, every one of these guys can easily pull over 200 people to a club. I like to think I had something to do with that.”
Over the years, Erickson has worked with just about every DJ in the downtown circuit, yet he almost never spins a night where he headlines. “I’d say 70 percent of my DJing career has been opening up for other people,” Erickson says. “I mean, even Pauly D can walk into a room at 2 a.m. and throw down a decent set. But I think perfecting a good opening act is a special skill.”
So, when Erickson got the opportunity to jump on the decks later in the night at this year’s DJ Spin-off at Zest Kitchen & Bar, he more or less “got a kick out of it.” The result was a clinic in the art of BPM and how to mix everything from Daft Punk to Robin Thicke. “I just tried to do everything,” Erickson says. “I’m a big fan of starting slow. I wanted people to listen and pay attention in the beginning and then have it gradually turn into a four-on-the-floor dance party. I think it over went well.”
When asked what he was going to do with his award of free advertising from City Weekly, the two-time DJ of the Year said he would obviously push his Stir Fridays at Zest Kitchen & Bar and his Sunday afternoon rooftop parties at The Green Pig. But he also emphasized the importance of helping out his friends, “I think I’ll point out some of my single friends and throw their digits out there for the ladies,” he says. “That’ll help them out, right?” —Colin Wolf
To stream or download Flash and Flare's April 17, winning DJ Spin-off set, click here.