DJ Randy Bettis :: Spinning Around
It’s been nearly impossible to catch up with Randy Bettis these days. He’s hardly had time for any sleep. "I’m pretty much a workaholic," he confesses. Such is the job hazard of being one of the most sought after DJs on the club scene. But Bettis does find moments of quiet time and distracts himself. "I need to watch TV - to see something visual in order to tune out the noise." He admits that the club sound follows him out of his gigs, but that it can often inspire him as well. "I could remix sounds that I hear out on the street," he jokes while setting up an example. "If I hear a bag lady pushing a grocery cart...I’ll hear a rhythm in that and I’ll start creating a song in my head." What a labour of love music can be, and for Bettis it certainly is.
At a recent gig at the Hammerstein Ballroom, he joyously reveled in what he does best. Spinning at the turntables the walls throbbed and the dance floor was jumping in happy anticipation as Bettis moved the crowd all gathered anxiously awaiting the arrival of Kylie Minogue. When the pop goddess of love brought her Aphrodite Live! 2011 Tour stateside, only a select number of DJs nationwide were courted to open for Minogue - among that handful asked to play was Randy Bettis warming up the crowd at her first night in New York City.
"I felt totally exposed - that stage was so big!" Bettis says about playing before the main show. "They could have at least put some go-go dancers up there or something." But it was still no less a thrilling experience for him. And about seeing Minogue in action, he says: "She smiled and waved to me during her sound check - and just the way she treats her crew and her dancers, you can tell she’s the real deal! A true performer." Kylie sought out prominent DJs to open her shows nationwide that added value and were in sync with her particular style of music; mix-masters who were familiar with her gay fan base as well. It helped that Bettis has a solid following and always delivers as an energetic presence at the party.
Bettis on Music...
Music and especially performance were always a part of Bettis’ life. It was a desire to perform that landed the young talent in New York City dancing on stages all over Broadway’s the "Great White Way" - but his devotion to the rhythm introduced him to a new lover. Dance music innately inspired the creative side of Bettis and DJing seemed like the perfect marriage for him. It wasn’t long before Randy was breaking sweats and stealing hearts across the biggest parties on the circuit scene. And he’s not surprised at all by the resurgence dance music has been enjoying lately.
"Within the last five or six years dance music is really started to show it’s prominence," Bettis shares. "You’re hearing dance music all over the television." Certainly in the case of an international pop-act like Kylie Minogue, it’s helped that dance music is enjoying some mainstream attention. Even with a more than 20-year career to show for, Minogue who is deeply rooted in the dance genre, has had a modest round of success in the States. "That happens particularly to artists who’s platform is mainly dance music," Randy theorizes. "In the United States we’re still suffering from that Death to Disco era...and even though straight people will say they hate disco, if you put on the Village People’s ’YMCA’ or Diana Ross’ ’I’m Coming Out’ they’re the first ones on the dance floor. Which is weird."
And certainly Bettis recognizes that dance music has itself evolved and transformed since the days of disco. He says, "That’s what I love about Kylie - she’ll take chances but then go back to doing something that sounds nearly pure disco. She doesn’t shy away from it."
More chart-topping artist have recently embraced electronic synth sonics especially in R&B. Artists like Rihanna and Kelly Rowland most obviously have dabbled with great success in the dance music genre. "It’s really hard to create something new that really goes out on a limb," Bettis relates, he himself is also a remix producer. "It can be freaky or it can work." An example I cite for him is Beyoncé new beat-heavy track "Run the World (Girls)". "Yeah...I’m gonna have to sit with that one for a little while," he responds.