New York-based DJ Chachi recently sent out a message on Facebook offering fans a free gift bag with CDs, t-shirts and assorted other merchandise.
He prepared 12 bags; a few extra than he thought he needed just to be on the safe side.
Within 24 hours, over 300 people from across the country flooded his inbox with requests.
"Years ago, I didn't realize this deejaying thing had legs and I had no idea how far the rabbit hole would go," says the 26-year-old deejay. "Back then, success was just trying not to get screwed out of money. Now that things are going well, I don't take it for granted. I don't expect people to know who I am."
What started over a decade ago at small private parties in Long Island is now a full-time job, as Chachi continues to establish himself as one of the country's most formidable deejays. Utilizing a diverse, open-format approach to music, Chachi now holds court at some of the country’s most popular clubs, as well as providing the aural memories to countless celebrities’ birthdays (that was Chachi you heard if you were fortunate enough to get into Britney Spears’ bash at Tenjune). In a short period of time, DJ Chachi has become as famous as the celebrities that rock out to him.
When he was 13, a young DJ Chachi would accompany his older cousin, a deejay himself, to various parties and watch in awe and amazement as primitive equipment gave rise to joyful exuberance. "I used to carry my cousin's records for him to the gigs," recalls the 26-year-old. "The setup was as bootleg as you could get. There was no fancy lighting or equipment, but it was raw. It was just people having fun and dancing to music they love."
Observing the tables led to practicing incessantly on them, cutting his teeth at local parties and eventually landing a gig at Exit, the famed NYC nightclub home to some of the most famous deejays in the world. At 18 years old, the fledgling deejay was already spinning the famed red hip-hop room and destroying the competition. Meanwhile, the trained audio engineer was simultaneously working a full-time job at Audio Mixers studio and recording artists himself in The Boiler Room, the home studio he built in the basement of his house.
As the resume increased, Chachi's name became more and more synonymous with the nation's hottest clubs. Stereo called. Then Home. Then...you get the idea. Now, the deejay counts Tenjune, mur.mur at Borgata, Axis/Radius (Scottsdale, AZ) and Shrine at Foxwoods among his numerous residencies. LIV at Fountainbleu in Miami. Lumen in Chicago. Pure and LAX in Las Vegas. These days, Chachi knows some stewardesses on a first-name basis.
Monkeys can be trained to play a song; but only the elite can scan any place in any city in the country and instantaneously gauge, and react to, the vibe of the room. "I feel like there's a lost art to reading a crowd," says Chachi. "It's not just jumping on the tables and spinning. It's playing a song, taking a step back and seeing how people are reacting. There are deejays that can play the Top 40 hits, but there's only so long you can play that for. For me, it's about the crowd being in sync with what I'm doing; me and them never actually speaking but communicating through music."
That mindset, coupled with a tireless work ethic (“My turntables are right at the end of my bed,” says the deejay), has made Chachi a household name in both clubbing and celebrity circles, with Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Paris Hilton and Eva Mendes all showing love to the deejay. His work has been profiled everywhere from Us Weekly and In Touch to New York Post and Philadelphia Daily News and he has long transcended his status as “New York’s hottest DJ” into a national phenomenon. There’s a reason why hundreds of people line up at the club whenever Chachi comes through. Now it’s time to find out for yourself.