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I am eager to tell you about Chicago’s up and coming DJ, DJ Nardo. I know I always like to be the first to know what’s up on the music scene before everyone else, and Jordan Bernardo is on his way to the top of Chicago’s nightlife. He has played at many venues, with prominent established DJs such as Mix Master Mix, and for well-known celebrities such as Dwyane Wade.

Last Friday I had the honor of sitting down with Jordan for an interview. Jordan is only 21 years old, but has gained so much insight on the music industry. I really enjoyed learning the new techniques DJs are using today and where the scene is headed. Jordan and many other DJs are using USB to transfer their music onto their turntables. This is seen as more professional because almost anyone can maneuver a DJ program on their computer, and the art of DJing is lost. Also when DJs use USB there is not the awkwardness when the DJs switch sets because there are not computer chords everywhere.

The best crowd to play for Jordan says, consists of the people who are just discovering the electro house music scene, and the die-hard fans that have loved the music for years. Today, the new sub-culture consists of dubstep, but dubstep has already hit mainstream radio by having the signature dubstep sound appear in the newer Britney Spears and Black Eyed Peas songs.

DJ Nardo is the name to know if you love music, all things Chicago, and a good time. Jordan is a DJ with heart and passion. His mixes are one of a kind. He incorporates many genres of music, while staying true to house music. I really enjoyed Jordan’s thoughts and opinions on the whole scene in general. Be sure to check out his mixes. I love them, and have had them playing non-stop! Check out the links below and you gotta check him out live. My full interview is below.

Kelly Battle, Intern

Kelly: Hey Nardo! Thanks for sitting down with me for an interview. So I gotta know, where does the name come from?

Jordan: The name DJ Nardo came back when I was in high school. It was sophomore or junior year and I was about to DJ for one of our school dances and I needed a name. They put down DJ Nardo and I didn’t even know. Everyone called me Nardo in high school, and after the dance I kept the name. Although lately I have slowly begun telling people my real name, Jordan Bernardo. People who knew me before as DJ Nardo still call me it, but I sort of have two alias going. This is kind of cool because a lot of DJs create alias, sort of like its own character, and two people can play as that DJ under the name.

Kelly: That’s really cool. What would you say your calling was to be a DJ?

Jordan: I got into DJing because my uncle, Lil Mikey, has been DJing in Chicago for years. He gave my Dad two, like 40 year old, Technic turntables. Then he also gave me a Numark mixer, and about 20 house records. He told me if I knew how to spin these records, I could spin anything. For a while I just messed around with the records. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but then eventually I figured it out. I really started to get the flow when I started using Serato. This allowed me to transfer all my music from my iTunes library. In the beginning, I played parties and slowly worked my way up to bars and clubs.


Kelly: How does one go about booking a gig?

Jordan: People usually get booked through a reference, but also sometimes in the club. Someone will just come up to talk to me, and we’ll exchange emails or phone numbers. Personally I was not a big social media guy, but it has become an industry standard. You can reach a lot of people, really fast through social media. My good buddy DJ Tarantino was telling me he does all of his bookings through twitter. In general, Facebook is not as helpful as twitter and myspace.

Kelly: So how nervous were you before your first set?

Jordan: I was kind of nervous, but not really. I usually don’t get nervous before I play; I get really excited. My first gig was back in Toledo, Ohio for my friend’s birthday. There were a lot of people there, about 200 to 300. I probably was not very good, but I was just excited to be there. I get really excited when I play for new people. The only part where I may get nervous is when you switch DJs. This is when it definitely looks more professional just using a USB to store your music. So there isn’t the awkwardness of switching laptops and moving excess chords. Generally clubs will provide you with their equipment, and the most professional way to bring your music is simply through a USB. This way there are less cords and wires that come along with using a laptop. I can walk in with all my music in my pocket, and I don’t have to deal with carrying a backpack everywhere.


Kelly: Do you like to feel out the crowd, or just play what you want regardless?

Jordan: When you play, you have two different situations. You either have the typical clubs and bars, or you have the clubs where they are known for real house music. At the typical clubs and bars it’s a good idea to change genres frequently to keep the crowd happy. But at places like The Mid or Spy Bar, people are there for the music. I can play the real long house music mixes. So I guess at house venues I can play the music I enjoy more.

Kelly: How do you begin to build the hype around you, and create loyal fans?

Jordan: Every time you perform, you have to perform well. I first realized this when I was in the bathroom at a club and I could still hear the music really well. I realized you can never mess up during a set. You tend to forget just how many people are listening when you are in the booth. But here could be hundreds, thousands. Most people will know me because they have seen me. I am just starting to really brand myself now. I am working on a logo now, producing, and creating more music.

Kelly: What do you think of the scene at the moment?

Jordan: To be honest, I think it’s really messed up. There are so many people that just walk in with their laptops and think they can DJ. Ricky Bisharat and I really emphasize that we are actually DJing and use USB. There are three main programs DJs use: Serato, Ableton Live, and Virtual DJ. Good DJs use Serato, because you actually need to know how to DJ, and on the other end you have DJs using Virtual DJ. Virtual DJ all you’re doing essentially is a few clicks of a mouse. What happened was when the economy had its downfall promoters began having control over the music selection. Clubs were not making as much money, and promoters could come in and say I can bring in X amount of people, and X amount revenue in exchange for you playing my DJ. Back in the day, people used to come to clubs for the music and the DJ. Today clubs just want money, and do not care about the DJ. Now people are having money and promotion companies drive their music selection decision. They could say, “We need a DJ, Justin has a computer. Just have him do it.” So people who do not truly know, or respect DJing, are representing Chicago right now. The way I see it, you listen to the radio while driving around in your car. When you go out to a club, you want don’t want to hear the same thing. You’re in a different environment for a reason. My goal is to work out the whole Serato thing to stay true to DJing roots. When people are just clicking a mouse on a computer it is not true DJing. There also has been a problem with people playing other people’s mixes and claiming they are their own. I think of this as buying their way to the top.

Kelly: Who’s on repeat on your ipod?

Jordan: It’s always constantly changing. There is always a new mix or song being released and I gotta stay up on my game! I really want to push more Tech House. It is more underground/dark. Almost more like soul/funky house. It uses a lot of baselines, drums, and vocal samples.

Kelly: Where’s the best place to party for house goers?

Jordan: I would have to say Miami from what I’ve heard. That’s where eventually I want to make my way. I would just have to say Miami because dance music has consistently remained popular there. They didn’t take the break, like the rest of the US did, for more hip-hop and alternative rock. Dance music is definitely making a comeback in the US. So in Miami you get the people who have always loved the dance scene, along with the new comers. That’s the best crowd to play for, loyal fans and newbies that are excited to discover the music.

Kelly: If you could choose anywhere to hold a massive rave/party, where would it be?

Jordan: Millennium at the amphitheatre.

Kelly: I’m there. I’ll bring the bubbles. What is the future looking like for dubstep and the whole scene?

Jordan: I have some opinions on dubstep. It can be really good, and it can be really bad. Some DJs are labeled dubstep that really are not. This is the case with Laidback Luke and Benny Benassi. But they do something really cool when they perform, they will have about a three-hour set and play their normal stuff in the beginning. Then towards the end when the crowd is tired and fading out, they will begin playing dubstep in their set. It is really cool to see the energy of the crowd come right back. dubstep is a lot like the old punk or emo scene. It has it’s own subculture and it is definitely the new rave scene. The problem is there is so much dubstep being put out there, it is hard to ween out the good stuff because there is a lot of really bad stuff. I enjoy the dubstep that is more chill, rather than the songs that incorporate what dubstep is really known for [the Wa Wa Wamp stuff]. I think dubstep is going to eventually takeover, which I do not particularly like. Now it is even heard in Britney Spears and Black Eyed Peas songs. But we’ll see!



One Response

  1. J. Medley

    Excellent post! It’s great to get insight from the “next gen” when it comes to our beloved house music! All music genres SHOULD evolve. Jazz is a perfect example; look at what the young cats are doing today. You gotta build upon the foundation…but also flex in your unique way. Much success to DJ Nardo and continued success to the Ranch!


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