The first time I learned about DJ Dan Slater was during SFL Style’s coverage of the Miami’s Winter Party Fest 2016, which was absolutely incredible mainly due to the party atmosphere created by the DJ. Dan was out of this world amazing doing his thing, keeping the party going and people dancing their you-know-what off. Even I, a person who rarely “busts a move”, could not resist the temptation to dance forced by the musical avalanche that was unleashed by this talented, not to mention super sexy DJ Dan Slater.
Currently Dan is based in Sydney, Australia, but he is no stranger to Miami. DJ Dan Slater gets booked to perform at lot of major events that take place right here in South Florida. So I had to hunt him down literally around the globe. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait too long. I learned that Dan was booked to perform at the Manor in Fort Lauderdale. With his busy schedule he was going to stay only for a few days before returning back to LA. Therefore without wasting any time I asked DJ Dan for an interview on a short notice, and since he was such an awesome guy he kindly agreed.
SFL Style: Hi Dan, if few words can you tell our reader a bit about your background.
DJ Dan Slater: Yes, I’m an Australian DJ based in Sydney. And I’m here chatting with SFL Style Magazine, and I’m DJing at The Manor tonight in Fort Lauderdale.
SFL Style: When was a big break for you, as a DJ?
DJ Dan Slater: The DJ Spin Off competition from Mardi Gras was definitely my big break. It’s a huge competition to be a part of. And the fact that I actually won after only being DJing for a few months was quite incredible.
I actually only submitted my mix for it at the last minute. I had no idea that I was even going to be a finalist. So when I got in the top 3, I was amazed. And then when I won it, it was even more , beyond expectations.
SFL Style: What was it like?
DJ Dan Slater: We have to go into a live set in a club and have the judges. And I didn’t hear anything. And then a couple of days later, I found out. And that weekend I was DJing at Mardi Gras.
SFL Style: You defiantly have the looks. Do you think your looks somehow helped you in your career as a DJ?
DJ Dan Slater: I think it may have opened a few more doors. But at the same time, you still have to prove yourself. You can be an amazing DJ, but you still need to be able to prove yourself and actually have a product that people want to listen to.
SFL Style: Speaking of looks… You are also a model. Can you tell us about your modeling side?
DJ Dan Slater: I first started modeling when I was a young kid. I was never pressured into it. My parents were just like, “Hey, do you want to do this?” They gave us lots of opportunities. And I started doing youth parades and TV commercials and campaigns. And gradually, just as you get older, you naturally progress into different age categories. I’ve gone from being a youth model to more fitness stuff now. Back home, in Australia, I do a lot of dad roles.
SFL Style: I know you have some other amazing talents, can you tell us about those?
DJ Dan Slater: Growing up, I was a dancer. I did it all the way through school, did it with my family, with my cousins. And then when I finished my high school, I decided to go and study full-time. From that, I went into musical theater and did a lot of dancing for commercial artists. I did that for 10 years. But I got to the point where I was ready for something new, a new challenge.
SFL Style: You are a guy of many talents. You do music, you dance, you model… Are there any other challenges that you wish to take on now or in the future?
DJ Dan Slater: In regards to challenges that I’m working on at the moment, I’m always trying to further myself and better myself. So I’m definitely working on more production at the moment. I’ve got a Bachelor in Business and Marketing, and I really want to be able to use that somehow. So in my head, it’s always ticking, and I’m trying to work out ways that I can use that.
SFL Style: Any exciting project that you are currently working on, you can share with us?
DJ Dan Slater: With my production partner, Jim Jam, we’ve been working on some new, original material. We’ve finished a couple of tracks. One that we’re really excited about – and we’re in the process of actually getting our first release. We’re working with a Spanish vocalist. She’s done a lot of big-circuit events. So we’re really excited to be working with her. And that’s our first one that we’ll be releasing quite soon.
SFL Style: Do you still dance professionally?
DJ Dan Slater: I had to give up professional dancing at the beginning of last year just because I was starting to tour a lot more, and DJ became my main focus, my main priority, so no more dancing anymore – although I do like to dance a lot behind the decks.
SFL Style: You danced with such huge stars like Kylie Minogue and Dannii Minogue. What was the experience like for you?
DJ Dan Slater: Dancing with recording artists like Kylie Minogue and Dannii Minogue was quite a surreal experience because I was still at high school and getting booked for these great jobs. And then I go back to school and that actually just happened. So it was a really, really cool experience, and I learned a lot from it.
SFL Style: Why did you stop dancing?
DJ Dan Slater: My main focus for at least 10 years was being a dancer. I just got to the point where I was ready for a new challenge. When I finished my last musical, which was Chicago, I actually went to university. I did a Bachelor in Business and Marketing. And at the same time, I started DJing as well. And the DJing really took off. So I had to put my main priorities as a DJ and a producer.
SFL Style: What made you want to become a DJ?
DJ Dan Slater: I’ve always been interested in dance and music ever since I was at high school. I remember one of the… Gosh, this would’ve been going back to even when I was in primary school. I think one of the first Cassingles (cassette single) I had was 2 Unlimited. So I’ve got a huge collection of music and have always been fascinated by DJs and producers and festivals. I really wanted to just see what it was like to DJ. So I went to a DJ school. I didn’t tell anyone that I was doing it. I just thought I’d do it. I might not have enjoyed it. I might not have been good at it for starters, but it became so addictive. And as soon as I started learning, I wanted to learn more. The DJing was one thing, but when you’re actually learning about production as well, it takes it to another level.
SFL Style: So what would you say was your biggest challenge when you first started as a new DJ?
DJ Dan Slater: Learning to DJ is one thing, but then actually getting booked for a job is another. So that was actually quite a challenge. And getting people to give me the experience of actually DJing in the club was quite hard at first. Some promoters were like, “He’s not a real DJ.” The music that I was playing was not main-stream. I have a very European and South American influence in my music. And just to get to book a job was actually quite hard. But now I think I’m definitely proving myself.
SFL Style: Tells talk about the Winter Party Fest in Miami.
DJ Dan Slater: The Winter Party Festival here in Miami was an amazing experience. In 2015, I played the opening party on the Thursday night. And then in 2016, I was asked back to play at the beach party, which was just a magical experience. It was the most amazing day. The weather was fantastic. And you could not have asked for a more incredible experience. It was fantastic. Fingers crossed, I’ll be back again next year.
SFL Style: If you had your pick, whom would you like to work with, or collaborate?
DJ Dan Slater: Out of all the artists, I think I actually really like to work with Sia. She’s an Australian artist, but she’s based in the U.S. at the moment. Also Ariana Grande. We’ll see what happens.
SFL Style: Do you have an idol?
DJ Dan Slater: My idol as I was growing up, 100 percent, I have to say Michael Jackson. His music, his dance moves, he was definitely one that we grew up with. Mom and dad had all these records. And then we moved to tape and TV. But yeah, Michael Jackson. Everyone loves a Michael Jackson classic. I haven’t remixed any of his stuff, but some of my favorite tracks that I bring at an event are of Michael Jackson.
SFL Style: You play in US and Europe. How is that different?
DJ Dan Slater: There definitely is a big difference within the music in the U.S. and the music in Europe. But I think when you’re being booked as a DJ, you just need to stay true to your particular sound. Of course, you have to adapt a little bit. But I think music is definitely universal.
SFL Style: What style of music do you prefer?
DJ Dan Slater: I love playing house and deep house, depending on what the event is for. My sound definitely has a huge European and South American influence to it. I love the percussion and that cha-cha sound.
SFL Style: Are you a high or low maintenance?
DJ Dan Slater: Definitely, low maintenance.
SFL Style: I heard somewhere that when you are working an event and someone offers you a drink you politely reject…
DJ Dan Slater: I’m not a huge drinker. I don’t mind going out and having a few drinks with my friends. But you’ve got to look at it as a business. And when you’re performing, you need to be on your “A” - game. So I’d much rather… Work is work. And then when you want to go out and enjoy yourself, go out and enjoy yourself with your mates.
SFL Style: You have an amazing body. And with your busy traveling schedule, how do you stay in shape?
DJ Dan Slater: One thing that I always make sure that I do whenever I’m traveling is find a gym, find a good supermarket where you can get good food from. And then as soon as you get off the plane, go to the gym. Even if you’re super tired, I think it’s great to go and reset your body or go for a walk or something. So you’ve got to make sure that you remain active. These would be my couple of tips, i.e. definitely get to the gym, drink plenty of water, and eat good food.
SFL Style: How often do you go to the gym?
DJ Dan Slater: I try and go once a day. Sometimes there are days when you can’t go. This morning I tried to get up . I didn’t make it to the gym this morning . I needed to sleep. And that’s another thing. If you need to sleep, sleep .
SFL Style: You said that you liked to cook. What would you cook?
DJ Dan Slater: I love cooking. Especially when you’re touring and stuff, it’s great to be able to stay at an apartment and be able to cook. I guess I’ll cook a little Asian food. My family is half German, so I cook a little bit of German food, Italian. Just as long as it’s healthy, I just enjoy being able to relax at home and eat a decent meal.
SFL Style: How do you relax?
DJ Dan Slater: The way that I like relaxing is going to the beach, going for walk, spending time outdoors, in the sun. To be totally honest with you, when I’m at home, I like having no music on. It’s nice to be… not in complete silence, but it’s just nice to relax. I love Netflix . What am I watching at the moment? Law and Order and 30 Rock, two completely different TV shows.
SFL Style: Do you express yourself through your music? What is your motivation?
DJ Dan Slater: My influences for music that are produced are different kinds of artists and remixes and producers. And I think definitely, always, your sound is kind of evolving. You might go into the studio and have an idea of how you want a track or remix to sound, and then you’ll leave, and it will sound a completely different way. So you take influences from all aspects of life. That’s you. You’re bringing as much of you to a track as possible.
SFL Style: Let’s talk about the Manor – the even you are playing tonight.
DJ Dan Slater: This is the second time that I’ve played at The Manor. But it’s the first time that I’ve played for Stonewall Pride Weekend. June is a crazy month here in the U.S. There are a lot of pride seasons. So today is going to be a huge night. I think there are 30,000 people expected at the event during the day. So I think the crowd is going to be packed tonight.
SFL Style: You have been traveling all over the world. How do you rate the city of Miami?
DJ Dan Slater: It’s really hard to give a city a rating. But the thing that I love about Miami is it’s such a melting pot of different cultures and influences. So I really want to come back here and actually spend a little bit more time here exploring, because I hear there are so many different, good little pockets that you can go and check out.
SFL Style: How would you describe your personal style of clothing?
DJ Dan Slater: My personal style of clothing is very relaxed, i.e. jeans, tank tops, shorts. But I do like getting dressed up as well. I do love wearing a really nice suit. I’ve got a Hugo Boss suit, which is definitely one of my favorite pieces.
On my feet, definitely sneakers. I have a great collection of high tops. The number of shoes that I’ve got in my wardrobe back home is crazy.
SFL Style: What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
DJ Dan Slater: My biggest professional achievement so far, that’s a tough one because there’s been a whole lot of different things that have contributed to where I am today. Playing in Europe was also probably a pretty huge thing, as well as playing in Brazil, so both events, in Mykonos and in Brazil. I was the first Australian DJ that they brought over. So that was a pretty big achievement for me.
SFL Style: Where can our readers find your music?
DJ Dan Slater: If you’re looking for my music, I’m on iTunes and SoundCloud. And then I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You can find me there.
Download a free copy of the magazine with Dj Dan Slater featured interview by SFL Style