SAN DIEGO -- Popular DJ Marcel Hetu is a favorite in the local club scene and he's about to take his services to the next level: event production.
The 29-year old San Diego State University Ph.D. student will launch his first event on Friday, Aug. 16 at Spin Nightclub under the name of his new brand, Spot On Productions (additional details about the event are below).
Hetu regularly DJs at nightspots such as Rich's, Bourbon Street, Rail, Flick’s, Numbers, Spin and 1202, as well as at Bill Hardt's events. He is currently engaged to his partner of several years ("yay, marriage equality," Hetu says) and loves his work (and playing with lasers in the lab at school).
Read more about Hetu's work as a DJ below:
When did you start spinning, and why?
I have been deejaying since I was 13. I worked and saved up money to buy a set of turntables and a mixer. I did lots of events in high school, including some of my high school dances. I started in the San Diego scene doing events at Hula’s (now Fiesta Cantina), House.Boi, House of Blues (Club Lucky), and Numbers. I can honestly say that it is though connections with friends and willingness to volunteer for charity events that helped build by DJ bookings in San Diego.
I started spinning because I love music and am a complete gadget geek when it comes to DJ equipment.
What type of music do you spin?
It really depends on the promoter or venue. In terms of the music I produce, it tends to be a darker style of progressive house. I am strongly influenced to produce music similar in style to the big names in the gay circuit scene. When It comes to DJing, I have been known to spin EDM, tribal house, and even some nights of hip-hop. Some of my first big gigs were with Global Male Productions doing strictly hip-hop nights. Now I mostly spin tribal/progressive house and EDM.
How had deejaying changed since you first started?
I remember when I first started deejaying and going out, the DJ was a side note to the main event. Most clubs had the DJ hidden in a room or a dark corner where it was still his/her duty, like today, to keep people on the dance floor. Deejaying has evolved into a front and center stage performance where crowd interaction and connection is key to a good set. I try to balance out my interaction with the crowd while also trying to focus on the technical aspects of making sure the music is solid.
What is your favorite song and music artist, and why?
My favorite song right now is “Love’s Got a Hold on Me” by Frenchie Davis. I just think it’s a really fun and energetic track. I was in heaven when she performed it at Rich’s recently. It’s hard for me to choose one music artist, because I like so many. Most recently I have liked music from Krewella and Paramore.
What song do people request the most?
"Blurred Lines" (Robin Thicke) and "Bubble Butt" (Major Lazer) … Not a big fan of either unfortunately.
What is the craziest thing you have seen happen in the DJ booth?
I haven’t had anything too crazy happen in the booth. Many times it can be someone coming into the booth that isn’t supposed to be there. I remember one girl got very upset with me because I had asked her to leave the booth after she was dancing with her drink over $5,000 of the club’s DJ equipment. I actually enjoy meeting and saying hi to friends at a club, I just get a little guarded with the equipment space.
What do you do outside of the dance music scene?
Right now I am in my last year of my PhD program with San Diego State and UCSD in chemistry. I currently do research using lasers to detect biomarkers for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. I also teach lab and lecture courses in chemistry.
What’s next for DJ Marcel?
One aspect I really enjoy about DJing is the production end of it. Being able to fine tune and play your own music can be extremely rewarding. I have released several remixes already, some in collaboration with good DJ friends of mine. I plan on releasing many more as time goes on.
I am also recently dipping my hand into event production. I have a launch event for my production company, Spot on Productions, on Friday, Aug. 16 at Spin nightclub. The goal of the event is to combine elements that the San Diego LGBT club scene enjoys. The event, called Rapture, will be a split night of EDM and tribal house, with two amazing DJs; Von Kiss (SD) spinning the EDM set and Alexander (LA) spinning the tribal house set. The dance floor will be outfitted with LED walls, new lighting, and laser show. I hope to bring something fun and exciting to the scene.
What do you love most about being a DJ?
The people I get to meet and work with. I have met tons of cool people doing this, some that are now very close friends of mine. I am thankful and appreciate every booking I get. It really is one of the coolest jobs.
If you or someone you know work in the nightlife industry and should be profiled here, contact Jim Winsor at Jim@sdpix.com.