Hailing from New Jersey, Roger Gangi has spent much of his life surrounded by music. Hitting the strip in Las Vegas early on in his career, he ended up on the payroll of some of the worlds biggest companies: MGM Corporation, Hard-Rock and Harrah’s Entertainment for starters. Gangi’s now heading Down Under to launch a new venue at Crown Casino, which he discusses with 100%.
"I was a musician since I was about nine years old – and I was writing music by the time I was a teenager. I had played in many bands as a kid and always had a passion and love for music. I was a drummer in a band and then had a passion for rhythm and things, it’s what led me to what I’m doing now,” he says, regaling a reasonably normal entry into the scene – until he reveals how his determination opened doors for him in unusual ways.
“First I started out playing the piano and guitar and then moving up to drums; basically I was into all different types of music. I sort of started when I was getting into being a DJ and the nightlife atmosphere – as I got older and started going out in clubs in New York City, I became more familiar when I was clubbing and going out; I was taking it more seriously when people started offering me opportunities to DJ at their club and such, and then in my mid-20s it was something that I really focused on full time.”
Gangi was amazed, he says, when he experienced house music in New York City during the late ‘90s. “That’s what I was drawn to,” he chimes. “And it wasn’t hard to get drawn to. When I eventually came to Las Vegas in 2006 it was a totally different market; it’s a tourist market and people are coming from all over the world to holiday, party and have a good time. So you have to channel reggae, funk, house, hip hop – you have to really learn how to rock a room no matter who is in it. It’s a lot different to being a standard genre DJ – in some ways it makes it pretty challenging but also a lot of fun.” And rewarding, I’m guessing.
Roger continues, “When I first started, it was all about getting settled in Las Vegas; I came out here doing one night at the Bellagio Hotel and one night turned into two and then I was doing four nights on the strip. I really worked hard to establish myself and things like that – I really wanted it to work. After that, I started getting offers to travel and travelled around the country a little - places like Sandiego and St Louis; and as people became more familiar with me I got invited to go to Edmonton in Canada and that was great. I really loved being a DJ in Vegas but the travel is amazing and being invited to come to Australia now, that is a huge experience.”
That said, Roger is also a sound engineer and songwriter and enjoys working on original productions in his home studio. “I have a professional studio in the house – I’ve got Logic and a few things; it’s all about electronic music. I started doing house productions about five years ago and a few remixes later, I then worked my way into original production and I love playing my original tracks when I play.” And just for fun, Roger shot a music video for his mash-up of Give It To Me, featuring Timberland, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. And he hopes that that is just the beginning.
Finally, Roger is excited about getting down to Australia for the first time and heating up his stages from start to finish. “From what I hear, the restaurant and the casino at Melbourne sounds like a great place – they’re looking to launch with a Las Vegas style party when it comes to the music format. I did all the music programming for the restaurant and basically programmed what is going on during the breakfast, lunch and dinner hours. I want to bring a Las Vegas energy. I want to work the dinner crowd into a late night crowd with disco, funk, house, reggae – I want to play to mash up style and give people a good night.”
Roger Gangi [USA] plays at The Merrywell on Wednesday April 25 and Thursday April 26.