A recent nominee for the ED’s 2023 “DJ of the Year” award, Nikko Maya is a house DJ for Jerry Westlund at two of his Pony Club locations in Huntsville, Alabama, clubs which have hosted the EDI East the past two years straight. An industry veteran who has worked at 10 clubs prior, Maya shares that where he’s at now has been the most educational experience of his career. Here, Maya shares some insights as to what it’s like to work for one of the most well-known personalities in the industry, and how to keep heads bobbin’ in Alabama.
ED: When did you begin your career as an adult nightclub DJ, and what brought you into the industry in the first place?
MAYA: My career started at Utopia in Cornersville, TN many, many moons ago, and I have jumped so many clubs over the year, from Boobie Bungalow, to my current homes at Pony Too and Rocket City Showgirls in Huntsville, Alabama. All-in-all, I’ve worked about 12 clubs, but these last two I credit with allowing me to learn so much more about the business, as a DJ and a person.
“All-in-all, I’ve worked about 12 clubs, but the [PONY clubs] I credit with allowing me to learn so much more about the business, as a DJ and a person.”
– Nikko Maya
ED: What did it mean to you to be nominated for this year’s DJ of the Year Award?
MAYA: WOW. So many awesome people went into that from feature entertainers to Danny Meyers (podcast Jedi and all-around awesomeness), my Panda guru Pensacola Dane (Hansen) and Jeb Jarrell, PANDA president. All of these guys have added strong entertainment points that get me through a night.
ED: Are you currently at Pony Too, Rocket City Showgirls, or both?
MAYA: Yes, I currently work at those two clubs in Huntsville, Alabama, for Jerry Westlund.
ED: What’s it like to work for such a well-known club owner as Jerry Westlund?
MAYA: Jerry Westlund … he is a tough but fair boss, always encouraging growth and pushing for excellence. He always gives everyone the opportunity to be the best version of themselves at all times. No matter what is going on, if you give him the time, he will find a way to address anything you have to discuss. Remember he is a busy man, so yes, you may have to wait, but he genuinely wants your opinion.
ED: Huntsville, Alabama is a unique club market, as Jerry owns all of the clubs in that city/market. But how would you describe the clientele of the different clubs in Huntsville, and how does the clientele impact the music that you play?
MAYA: Yes, Jerry owns basically all the hotspots, so my job is to keep it jumping, from country to hip-hop. I always have to keep an eye on my crowd to make sure the ladies, as well as the customers, got them heads bopping up and down. I make everyone feel comfortable enough to give us all their available extra spending money.
“I always have to keep an eye on my crowd to make sure the ladies, as well as the customers, got them heads bopping up and down.”
– Nikko Maya
ED: Jerry’s clubs are known for their special events, contests, etc. What has been your favorite event you’ve seen or hosted at one of Jerry’s Huntsville clubs?
MAYA: By far the most exciting event was EDI’s — so much talent, beauty and all around awesomeness.
ED: What are some of your favorite artists to play in the club; the ones that really get the crowd going? Also, when you’re not in the club, what music do you listen to?
I’m just an old guy that loves the bangers, and my full Guest DJ Spotify playlist
can be found right here.
ED: If you could see any band/musician in concert, whether they’re alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
MAYA: I would have to say Michael Jackson. He was known as the “King of Pop” for a reason, such a well-rounded catalog of music, plus the entertainment value alone.