Of course, it was a girl at the center of Justin Vernet’s career-defining moment.
Vernet was 20 years old in December 2000 when a girl he was dating at the time was an entertainer at The Crazy Horse. One Friday night, the resident DJ failed to show and Vernet’s then-girlfriend mentioned to the owner she knew a DJ in a pinch: Vernet, who was a radio station DJ while in college.
“I got tossed into the mix,” recalls Vernet. “I would never have thought I would turn that moment into a career.”
Over the years, Vernet — whose DJ moniker is DJ J*Bone — has worked with Tiffany’s, Christie’s Cabaret, Deja Vu and just celebrated four years at Spearmint Rhino in Pittsburgh.
ED Magazine spoke with Vernet, courtesy of Bob Chiappardi and StripJointsMusic.com to ask him about a DJ’s role in a club’s success, his DJing approach, and his music tastes. And don’t miss Vernet’s personalized Spotify playlist courtesy of Bob Chiappardi and StripJointsMusic.com!
ED: What role do you believe that a DJ has in the overall success of an adult nightclub? How do you think you help a club be the best it can be?
VERNET: The DJ has the biggest responsibility to make a club successful. I also believe that, as with many jobs, it’s a team effort that translates to success. We are in the entertainment business and sometimes you have to remind the people around you of that. I help the club be its best by making it a party from the time a guest walks in till the time the last person is out. I do this by mingling with the guests and staff throughout the night and getting to know why people are there — celebrating a birthday or special occasion or just out for the night or from out of town. If a group is from out of town, I can play something that may be hot in their market to make them feel at home. I keep the girls happy with candy and a massage gun in the DJ booth and my wait staff is great at helping get guests’ names to shout out throughout the night. I believe I help the club the most when I show up and make the girls happy to be there and create a fun night for everyone.
ED: What do you enjoy most about what you do? What are the biggest challenges you typically face?
VERNET: I enjoy working for a top-tier brand in our business and the flexibility it affords me during the day to follow my passion helping other people with drug and alcohol recovery. I do this for a living, so I have to admit the money I make affords me to do things that people with normal nine-to-five jobs may not be able to do. Above that, I truly enjoy making people happy and seeing entertainers become successful. I must be honest and say dating has become one of the biggest challenges I face outside of the club, because of the stereotypes people have placed on our industry and, obviously, the hours and days I work. But at the club, the challenge I typically face is making everyone happy in a given night. Most club owners may want a certain format played and that’s fine, but sometimes that format may not work for your given market or it may work most days but maybe not on Saturdays — that’s where having a great DJ comes into play. You have to be able to read a room and know what genre to play, what BPM (beats per minute) works. When I first started, I can remember Limewire and crates full of CDs and records but, now with the internet, you are able to play just about anything someone may ask you for but that doesn’t mean you do! Music is such an important tool for everyone today and not everyone enjoys the same thing but when you’re able to tap in to that area where everyone is bobbing their head or tapping their fingers or feet you know you’re on track!
I help the club be its best by making it a party from the time a guest walks in till the time the last person is out. I do this by mingling with the guests and staff throughout the night and getting to know why people are there — celebrating a birthday or special occasion or just out for the night or from out of town. — Justin Vernet
ED: We do these articles in conjunction with Bob and StripJointsMusic.com, and that involves creating your own Spotify playlist. What is your general approach to the music you play, and how hard is it to juggle what the entertainers want, what the club owner may want, and what the customers want?
VERNET: My general approach to the music I play comes with a lot of time spent listening to music, most of which I wouldn’t listen to in my time off. I start with browsing all the charts. Then I create playlists on Spotify and Deezer using the songs I feel bring energy to the club or that fit the style and theme of certain entertainers. I also browse upcoming album and song releases and look for things that may become popular or are catchy. It’s important to remember that you have to pick songs that appeal to all ages!
ED: What are your favorite songs/artists to play in the club, and what do you listen to during your free time when you’re not in the club?
VERNET: I’ve been told by some managers that I love Cardi B, but that’s not true. At the club, I love playing Skrillex, Tiësto, The Weeknd, and Doja Cat! But the classics like Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, and ZZ Top are still in my everyday go-to list! In my off time, I much rather listen to the police scanner or some Kenny G or jazz! Even DJs need time off and that means enjoying some silence and maybe some light reading!
ED: If you could see any concert with any artist (living or deceased), who would it be and why?
VERNET: If I could go back in time I would love to go to a Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix show. I just think these people set music on fire with their shows and music and are still popular today amongst the next generation.