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DJ Interview: Erno the Inferno

A couple weeks back I took in the James Murphy DJ set at the Crofoot. Besides James Murphy there were some local DJs to warm up the night, one of them being Erno the Inferno who has made a name for himself locally for his irresistible disco and dance sets. Erno had the honor to play just before James Murphy and even got the chance to show him the DJ setup and share a few laughs. I caught up with Erno a few days after the show to talk about how he got started DJing and where it has taken him.
MCB: When did you start DJing?
Erno: I first started DJing in 2002 and it was only vinyl. I was DJing using my Dad’s old records. We’d have random parties while I was going to school in Ypsi and then I got Monday night’s at the Elbow Room. Things just kind of went from there.
MCB: How is what you’re doing now different from back then?
Erno: Well I learned how to beat-match and that was a big move. With that skill I started getting into more electronic music and I started trying to incorporate some of the records I had like disco into the electronic music I was making and playing.
MCB: So you’ve been DJing 10 years…
Erno: Pretty much. It was kind of off and on the first few years but a lot more heavily the past six years. The first few years it was more just for fun.
MCB: Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?
Erno: Yeah, it was White Zombie, “More Human Than Human,” I can’t remember if that’s the real name of the album. I grew up on punk and ska in high school. But disco music fascinated me because of the skill they had to hold to the rhythms. So I started listening to more and more disco and dance music.
MCB: Do you have a regular night you DJ locally?
Erno: I have a regular night at Woodbridge Pub called Slow Jams. This is our fourth year running. I also do a monthly with my friends in Tour Detroit at the Temple bar.
MCB: How was it meeting James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem?
Erno: It was pretty incredible. I honestly wasn’t an LCD Soundsystem fan when they first came out. Then a while back I took a second listen and absolutely loved it. It’s an honor to play with such an icon of disco and punk. I am a huge fan of his taste in music and I get why he likes house music so much. I have a lot of respect for the guy so just meeting him was great.

MCB: I was watching people during your set and they really loved it…
Erno: I thought that was interesting because I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I feel like these people were more like concert goers to see James Murphy. So when you go to see a band, a DJ set might seem way less appealing because they aren’t into the club atmosphere. But the turnout was so great. I played some diverse records and set them up the best I could to go along with what I thought James would be playing.
MCB: Tell me about how you plan a DJ set?
Erno:  I look at DJing like you’re curating the night. With any night you’re trying to capture the peaks and valleys and the essence of the entire night based on crowd reaction. For a big set like Saturday I prepared pretty well, I had an idea how to approach it. I knew the DJ playing before me so I knew the flow of the night.
MCB: Tell about some places other than Detroit you’ve played
Erno: I’ve played LA, New York, Chicago, Louisville, Milwaukee and all over the US. I’m playing Tel Aviv soon and it’s my first time playing overseas. My girlfriend lives in Tel Aviv and I was planning on visiting her. Through some friends there I was able to get in touch with some clubs and set up a couple of nights. It should be a cool time.
MCB: How long do you see yourself DJing?
Erno: I’ve transitioned to producing a lot lately and it kind of goes hand in hand with DJing. I’ve gotten so used to DJing that while I don’t see it as something I’m going to do my entire life, it’s always a great time. I want to see where the possibilities of DJing continue to take me.

Brought to you by Mikel O.D. of MPAD Media