by Faith Bennett
Wes Reed is not just any Jacksonville DJ. Unlike the various Top 40 DJs that densely populate Duval and unlike many aspiring indie DJs, Wes has staying power. EU recently had the pleasure of speaking to Wes about the joys and challenges inherent in his profession.
Wes Reed began DJing in Jacksonville as soon as he moved here in 1997, but didn’t begin playing out in clubs until ‘98. “Lucky” is one of the words he uses to describe how his teenage music obsession spawned an entire career, but “dedicated” is another word that comes to mind. He used to collect vinyl and only DJed the more traditional way. As many DJs were, Wes was reluctant to switch to digital DJing at first, but he couldn’t deny the benefits. One thing that had previously been a burden, carrying around 75 pounds of records every night he worked, was a thing of the past. He currently uses a program called Serato that combines the best of both analog and digital DJing. In this way, Wes is able to carry enough music to appease the restless crowds at bars and clubs like The Loft, Square One, and, formerly, The Atlantic (RIP).
Wes is the resident DJ for Square One’s weekly indie dance party “Are Friends Electric?,” a night he brought notoriety to. AFE, Wes explained, was in its humble beginnings based around songs like MGMT’s indie-dance crossover hit ‘Kids.’ It turned out that after a while there weren’t enough bands like MGMT or songs like ‘Kids’ to keep the party going. At that point, AFE shifted into more of an electro dance night, and Wes expanded his impressive resume with “Thursdays at the Loft,” which featured, as Wes puts it, more “classic indie songs.”
Wes Reed no longer takes as many requests as he used to, but at this point he knows quite well what he is doing. As he confesses to spending, “Maybe eight hours a day,” on the Internet, he is more than capable of finding the newest and most danceable indie releases and enjoys finding “dark horses” to sneak into the playlist each night.
When asked if, after fourteen years, he wants this to be his career forever, he says he would like to, but half of what he does already is promoting, which may be more sustainable as he gets older. In the meantime, however, Wes has no problem keeping the trendiest members of Jacksonville’s nightlife dancing.
dj wes reed
by Faith Bennett