Leo Salom has played at some of the best award-winning nightclubs in Los Angeles and has provided DJ support for many national touring artists including Cazzette, Brklyn, Brvkechck, and many others. His vast musical knowledge, crowd-pleasing song selection, and creativity keep his schedule filled with gigs in both his home town of Rome as well as a residency at Le Jardin in Hollywood.
When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started at 18. I’ve since played “headlining” slots at major clubs, opened for several of my idols, and am making a decent amount of money per gig. My early influences were Robin Schulz, Bakermat and Kygo.
What is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
It is terrifying when you feel like your music has no purpose or direction but finding your sound can change all that. Finding your sound is like finding your personal road map. When you know what your sound is, you feel motivated, inspired, and so much clearer about what your next step should be.
What were some of the main challenges and goals when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time?
I think the greatest challenge is the problem of being both DJ and businessperson, but not because artists are not capable of doing business. They certainly are. This nonsense about artists not being up for business comes from many years of DJs being infantilized and then exploited.
What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?
As Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” The more things we have to connect, the better our ideas will become. This means the quality and quantity of things we consume is a crucial factor in our ability to come up with an interesting idea. The books, TV shows, articles, and movies I have consumed and the people I’ve connected with, all influence the ideas I generate making the production process more interesting.
How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ?
I’m just happy to play! It’s literally my favorite thing in the world to do. I always try to leave anyone there with a solid impression of my style and personality.
Can you describe your state of mind during a DJ set? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter this state more easily?
Exiting. The ideal state of mind is always to be present and build audience involvement by connecting your emotions. You really need to know how to interact with that crowd in order to strengthen and maintain that excitement.
What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
I always take my whole collection (the “search” function is my friend), but I also make custom playlists for each gig with about 3 times the material I’ll need for the time slot. This gives me some flexibility in choosing what to play at the moment while also keeping a manageable, curated selection to pull from.
What projects do you have in the making currently and what are your plans for the near future?
To keep playing at music festivals and challenging stages, get an average of 1,000,000+ plays for my new mixes and release new music every year.
What is your ultimate goal at the end of your career?
Win a Grammy.
What suggestions do you have for other DJs like yourself?
DJing can be the most fun job in the world. The crowd can tell when a DJ is truly in the zone, and they love it. Let yourself have fun, check your ego, follow your heart, and constantly learn how to better your technique. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.
How can potential fans find you?
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Yes, my great team, all my fans, and my family.
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