Entertainment » Music

DJ Drew G brings ’Dirty Pop’ to LA

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Thursday Jul 15, 2010

Multi-talented DJ Drew G could have easily become a classical musician or an arranger for a big band, instead he chose to mix music and in a short time has become one of the most-sought after talents on the dance music scene.

It could be said that this native New Yorker (born Drew Gilbert Montalvo in 1983) has dance music in his blood - his dad spun music and his mother was a regular at such 1970s clubs as Studio 54 and Paradise Garage. From an early age, Drew G showed great interest in music; by the time he was a teenager he had mastered ten instruments and was playing guitar in various death metal bands. By his 18th birthday, he had already recorded five albums and been involved in the production of a number of others.

Turning his attention to house music, DJ Drew G created a unique mix of disco, hip-hop and rock music at his first New York City gig - Friday nights at Stonewall. Next came residency at Gypsy Tea After-Hours where he showed his skills at mixing high energy circuit sounds. Not long after he accepted an internship at Peter Rauhofer's imprint, Star 69, and within months became the retail marketing rep for the label.

He was soon in demand at New York clubs (G, HK Lounge, GYM Sportsbar and The Eagle) and clubs across the country (Cobalt in Washington, DC, Voyeur in Philadelphia, as well as Mj's & Mickey's in Los Angeles). He was the youngest DJ to play The Black Party (twice) as well as at the Roxy.

He has also established himself in the recording studio where he's in demand creating remixes for such artists as Lady Gaga, Ashanti, Whitney Houston, David Archuletta, Britney Spears, P!nk, Mario Vasquez, Deborah Cox, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Good Charlotte and Chris Brown.

This weekend he comes to Los Angeles for a pair of dates at MJs and Mickey's. EDGE caught with him earlier this week where he answered questions about his career, his music and what it was like to work with Lady Gaga.

Dirty Pop Party

EDGE: You have two dates coming up in LA -- July 16th and 18th at Mickey’s and a Foam Party at MJ’s on July 17th. Have you played these clubs before?

DJ Drew G: I have. One of my newest residencies is at MJs in LA and when I’m in town I usually play some guest spots at Mickey’s. They’re two great venues. My buddy Chris Tattoo invited me out to play a few years back and I’ve been kicking ass in Silverlake ever since. Chris has me out there 1-2 times a month in the summer for their "Foam Party’s" in association with our "Dirty Pop Party" which we currently have in NYC, NJ and now Washington DC at Cobalt. The "Dirty Pop" sound has really taken off and I’m super proud of it.

EDGE: When you play at a Foam Party, do you do play a different kind of set?

DJ Drew G: At the Foam Party I stick to the fun high energy "Dirty Pop" sound. I use a lot of mashups and remixes produced by myself and my remix partner, Brian Cua.

EDGE: You recently played the Fourth in Ptown. What was that like?

DJ Drew G: One word, amazing. I was really happy to come play the Crown. It had been a dream of mine for many years and when Rick (the owner) called me and asked me to spin, I jumped up and down. That probably will go down as one of my top five moments in my career thus far.

EDGE: In upcoming weeks, you go from Hong Kong to Northampton, MA. Is traveling ever a hassle for you?

DJ Drew G: Not really, I love to travel and meet new people. It’s always exciting to get to see new things and go new places. I feel really lucky in that aspect.

EDGE: I see you play 10 instruments - did an aptitude for playing music come easy when you were young?

DJ Drew G: Yea, my parents initially took interest in me playing an instrument after my father had a stint working for Van Halen. I wanted a guitar and kicked and screamed till I got one and it all went from there.

EDGE: Did you ever think of pursuing a career playing one of those instruments?

DJ Drew G: Totally. I wanted to play guitar in a death metal band. I was infatuated by bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor and Soilwork. I know that’s not what the average gay man would name as his favorite groups growing up, but I like to think I’m a bit out of the ordinary compared to most. I still to this day let those bands influence me and love their music.

A perfect fit

EDGE: When did you become interested in spinning music as a career?

DJ Drew G: I was 21 and had just started going out to clubs in the city. I really started to become fascinated with these big room DJs like Peter Rauhofer and Manny Lehman. I would go hear them play at Avalon and the Roxy. They really sparked my interest in dance.

EDGE: You’re a classically-trained musician and arranger, how did you come to pursue in a career in such a different style of music?

DJ Drew G: Once I started, it all seemed to fit. When things fit you know it and as soon as I started playing out, I knew I was onto something different and new -- and I wanted to share that with the world.

EDGE: And you played with rock bands when you were a teenager. Do you see a radical difference in what you played then and what you are doing now?

DJ Drew G: Not so much, a lot of what I wrote in my band I use today. There is a library in my studio with over 1000 songs, both lyrics and music I had written in the latter part of my teens that are just sitting there. I’ll often refer to them for melodies for my dance tracks.

EDGE: What do you like better - doing production remix work or spinning at a club or event?

DJ Drew G: Honestly, I really like both. I enjoy the team aspect of putting together remixes in the studio with Brian Cua, and I also love the thrill of making a crowd roar. Both are very different and very exciting.

EDGE: What was the experience working as a DJ at Obama’s Inauguration?

DJ Drew G: It was very cool. I had met one of his campaign people at a party and they had asked if I’d spin the event literally a few days before. It was a very last minute engagement. To be spinning at one of the many official dances that were part of the Inauguration was truly an honor. Obama briefly popped his head into it as he did all of them and I sadly didn’t get to meet him.

EDGE: What was working with Lady GaGa like?

DJ Drew G: I had a great time working with Lady Gaga on the remix of Paparazzi. I know that we’re both looking forward to working together more in the future.

EDGE: Is it ever difficult to feel a vibe of a crowd at a club?

DJ Drew G: Nope, when I play it’s all about my crowd. Any emotions I’m having get kicked to the curb the second my headphones go on. My job is to understand my crowd, feel them, and give them a ride.

EDGE: What is the achievement you’re most proud of in your career so far?

DJ Drew G: There’s so much going on right now, but I’d say all the official remixes work that we’re getting. It makes me so happy to bring OUR sound to the mass and having huge name DJs playing our tracks.

EDGE: Do you ever have bad nights spinning?

DJ Drew G: As I said before, if you pay attention to your crowd you’ll never have a bad night. If you give them what they want, they will always be happy.

EDGE: You’re also a reporter with Billboard. Do you write about dance music?

DJ Drew G: I’m on the Billboard Dance Panel. Each week I send in a list of my top tracks along with select other djs in the country and those results are all compiled and formed into the Billboard Dance Chart. This comes out each Thursday. It’s really an honor to be able to make such a mark on the industry weekly.

EDGE: What trends do you coming up with dance music?

DJ Drew G: Dirty Pop, Dirty Pop, Dirty Pop. It’s all about vocals you can sing along to right now and I love it. I think this will be the trend for the near future. That traditional circuit sound is dead. It’s really time to get creative with music right now and that’s exactly what we plan on doing.

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


  • , 2010-07-16 19:49:19

    Pop/Hip Hop music in clubs sucks! Why would you go to a club to hear the same boring stuff they play on the radio? Why is it that every bad dj moves to LA? Don’t we already have enough atrocious music here?

  • , 2010-07-16 19:58:47

    "I’ve been kicking ass in Silverlake ever since"...wow Drew G is a little into himself isn’t he? Really dude...your mixes are horrible and adding drums and synths to crappy pop songs doesn’t qualify as remixig. Plus, enough with the shirtless DJ pictures already. Douche!

  • , 2010-07-16 20:01:36

    "that traditional circuit souns is dead" Really? Your sound IS THAT old circuit sound. Besides, there’s no such thing as DIRTY POP...pop isn’t dirty...it’s fruity and annoying!

  • , 2010-07-16 20:20:55

    Well somebodies coming to hear him. People keep booking him and his schedule is packed. If people weren’t coming to hear him he wouldn’t have bookings.

  • , 2010-07-16 21:08:13

    Yeah sure...club promoters in LA don’t have a clue what good music is. The public’s taste for bad music is insatiable. Playing pop remixes in clubs is not creative...every bad circuit DJ can and does that...that’s why the gay club scene is dying! Wake up people. The gay scene usedto be cutting edge...not you can go to any gay club and here the same boring music you hear at tacky str8 clubs and on Top 40 radio. Sad! We’ve been assimilated in the mainstream. DJ Drew G gets booking because he plays the same boring music other circuit dj plays.

  • , 2010-07-16 21:23:32

    "I know that’s not what the average gay man would name as his favorite groups growing up" Ummm...really funny from a guy who loves playing Diva vocals...LOL. If u r so different why r u playing some old boring pop music? Confused a bit?

  • , 2010-07-16 22:34:49

    "DJ Drew G: I had a great time working with Lady Gaga on the remix of Paparazzi. I know that we’re both looking forward to working together more in the future." WOW...what a blatant lie! This kid is another loser DJ craving for attention he obviously doesnt get if he is not constantly name-dropping.....he is a NOBODY and NOBODY cares. NEXT!

  • , 2010-07-16 22:56:34

    Wow seems like some tweaker is hitting the pipe hard today. Jealous, jealous, jealous. That’s what I think.

  • , 2010-07-16 23:33:41

    Hmmm......WHO really should be jealous of DJ Drew G and most of all WHY? lol. Maybe Vito Fun, Brenda Black or maybe Twisted Dee? That’s all I can really think of.

  • , 2010-07-16 23:36:02

    Def not Peter Rauhofer that’s for sure.

  • , 2010-07-16 23:38:54

    I love Drew G with his shirt off! And Peter... Maybe he should Dj without a hat.

  • , 2010-07-16 23:43:07

    This queen is such an insecure little name dropper. He did not work with Lady Gaga on Paparazzi. He did an unlicensed private mix of that song. He makes it sound like Gaga’s record company requested the remix and that she was there with him when he did it. What a lying little douche. Of course, the promoters buy all his name dropping.

  • , 2010-07-17 00:08:52

    This kid is so confused it’s hilarious. He denies the "circuit" but still tries to be part of it.....and taking his shirt off won’t make him a better sounding circuit DJ either. It only confirms his insecurity how he has nothing original to offer beside of "looks"...then again his looks are not all that to begin with...you’ll find these submissive tattooed bottoms on every corner.

  • , 2010-07-17 00:30:06

    Drew doesn’t have to pay for it. He’s young and cute at least and not bald.

  • , 2010-07-17 00:35:31

    Funny article. Question: How clueless is the guy who interviewed him here? This story should win another Edge award! Btw..Drew G never was a retail marketing rep for the label Star 69 Records. He was an intern for a minute and got fired after they found out how he stole their whole contacts & database as he was about to do his very own record label (which of course failed big time).

  • , 2010-07-17 00:43:34

    Hilarious how Drew G himself is monitoring this page 24/7 and defending himself "anonymously" left & right. Then again who would really defend him? lol

  • , 2010-07-17 01:05:48

    Drew G never dj’ed the Black Party! He dj’ed an unrelated party the weekend of the Black party. What a lying loser!

  • , 2010-07-17 01:12:52

    Yeah, "young, cute & pretty DUMB". And in regards to "bald": Drew could only wish he would be. Sorry honey, seems like only LEGENDARY deejays like Danny, Junior & Victor are!

  • , 2010-07-17 01:16:32

    Drew G’s ego is getting bigger and bigger since he started using steroids!

  • , 2010-07-17 01:48:55

    Drew G is a wannabe. A 2 faced roach who always tried to use his looks to manipulate and to get further in this music business (which obviously didn’t help him a lot). At the end of the day talent is talent and he got none. He probably already printed this meaningless feature and put it on his bedroom wall. What an achievement! HAHA Poor thing!

  • , 2010-07-17 02:14:01

    I discovered this feature posted on Drew’s facebook page. WOW. That’s alI can say, WOW. I would be embarrassed for people out there to read all these lies. Our scene is smaller than he assumes. With Facebook & Youtube around people are not that clueless and that easy to fool these days.

  • , 2010-07-17 02:47:26

    This message is for you Drool G: I just saw your comments in regards to your "Idol" Peter Rauhofer on Twitter....how you got the nerve to trash his latest remixes and how you assume Peter is reading you on here. Guess what, Peter is way to busy talking or even thinking about your fired ass. It was me who posted on here about you being a NOBODY NOBODY cares for. Peter might have told you the same thing back in the day when you stole our Star 69 database but guess what, Peter’s comment is STILL pretty accurate! You are still the same name-dropping insecure irrelevant lying NOBODY. Hilarious how you think your "Idols" are out to "get you" once you are being called out by anyone. You are so sad & delusional. Angelo Russo/Star 69

  • , 2010-07-17 05:28:49

    He is another talentless scam artist craving for attention with his bedroom bootleg remixes nobody cares for. It always ate him up how any of the big deejays refused to acknowledge him. He first tried to slime up to Junior, then Rauhoffer, then Danny Tenaglia and probably countless others, trying to convince them to be their opening DJ and then dissing them to filth once he got rejected. What did he contribute to the history of house music so far? N O T H I N G.

  • , 2010-07-17 14:43:09

    Unfortunately, this talentless douche has been unleashed on the LA Gay Party scene by clueless promoters who are probably hoping to get in his pants. Sleeping around will get you far in LA Drew! You’re surely not getting hired for your talent. He’ll get passed around by the greedy and druggie LA promoters until a fresher face comes around. Don’t be fooled Drew Girl...there’s tons of little attention whores like you arriving in LA everyday. You’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Enjoy the ride while it last.

  • , 2010-07-18 00:39:19

    I am sure Lady Gaga will d a surprise performance at his L.A. gig. What a naive loser this kid is.

  • , 2010-07-19 18:12:08

    Drew G’s lies are disgusting.

  • , 2010-07-21 01:29:08

    Who is this irrelevant clown?

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