“The Central Valley’s most popular DJ is, hands down, DJ Ren Rock,” said Aaron Gomes, owner/operator of Sound N Vision Foundation, which is bringing the popular DJ back for his annual December 31 show. “Every year, his New Year’s Eve Black & White Ball is a sold out event at the Cellar Door.”
DJ Ren Rock, who mixes on-air on Fresno’s B95 every Friday and Saturday, has a podcast series on iTunes and takes the stage at The Cellar Door on Saturday nights, started spinning records as a young teenager.
“I started DJ-ing when I was 13 and fell in love with the art of mixing music,” he said, adding that he was first inspired while listening to the radio on a family trip to Disneyland. “I tuned into (Los Angeles station) Power 106 and noticed that the songs I was familiar with were being played in a different manner. The DJ, DJ Vice, was scratching and remixing live on the air. Once I heard that I was hooked. I saved up money washing cars and was able to buy my first set of turntables.”
To some, perhaps of a different generation, a DJ is simply the one who selects and plays records. DJ Ren Rock was asked why some DJs are more popular than others.
“In a nightclub/party setting, basically the key is to keep the music going without having to ‘stop’ the dance floor to change songs,” he replied. “This is done by matching the tempos of songs with the speed control on the turntable. Sounds simple but actually takes a lot of practice. Scratching is kind of the ‘icing on the cake.’ It’s the sounds you hear when you move a record back and forth. The trick is to create musical patterns by turning the sounds on and off with a crossfader. There are so many other elements that make up the art of DJ-ing but those are the basics.”
DJ Ren Rock has taught the art of mixing music at Visalia schools.
“I was lucky enough to be chosen as a DJ class instructor at Golden West and Mt. Whitney high schools,” he said. “Although that opportunity ended due to budget cuts, I kept the relationships with many of my students and mentor them as they continue their pursuit of becoming DJ’s themselves.”
As a nightclub DJ, Ren Rock plans to travel more and more, “to see what’s going on in bigger cities and bring some of those ideas back,” but he has a special appreciation for Visalia and The Cellar Door.
“The Cellar Door is kind of a melting pot of different people with all kinds of different musical tastes, and I definitely use that to our advantage,” he said. “Top 40 dance, hip-hop, classic rock… music from the 80s, 90s and sometimes even older than that! I take all of these kinds of sounds and mix them so that it makes sense in a nightclub setting.”
The Cellar Door is located at 101 W. Main St., Visalia. The Black & White Ball begins at 9pm on Tuesday, December 31. Black and white formal wear is highly encouraged. Admission to the 21+ event is $20.