DJ Joe Bermudez
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DJ Joe Bermudez

Watertown, Massachusetts, United States

Watertown, Massachusetts, United States


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There’s no place like home, and DJ Joe Bermudez knows that well.
“The best part of playing locally is getting to catch up with all of my friends,” says Bermudez. If the record release party he hosted for his new album (Mass Movement) is any indication, Bermudez sure has a lot of amigos. The day after Thanksgiving, Bermudez and buds partied at the Revolution Rock Bar in the Financial District. They celebrated the release of Bermudez’ album on NYC’s Nervous Records, and the DJ even broadcast his weekly hour mix-show on XM satellite radio live from the party. “I’m really thankful to have such a great crew of people around me. They’ve been supportive since Day One,” said Bermudez, who spent half the night behind the decks spinning some of his trademark dance-pop remixes. The other half was spent on the dance floor, mixing and mingling with his nearest and dearest.
“It a great place!” Bermudez says of his Boston hometown. Since he started DJing at age 18, the local has ascended to the international ranks of marquee club names; remixing dance hits for Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Nelly Furtado and other superstars will do wonders for a career. But despite the global success, it was a no-brainer for Bermudez to name his album Mass Movement as a tribute to his beloved Bay State.
“People around the world identify the area with our sports teams and are huge fans of the Red Sox and Patriots,” says Bermudez. Indeed, he’s happy to see Boston get its pop culture props in recent years. “They [the rest of the country] are starting to know us as the new Hollywood with great movies like The Departed and Gone Baby Gone being filmed here. There is a lot of great local talent that DJ around Boston. If I can help kick open the door and make more people aware of what we have to offer in the EDM [electronic dance music] scene, why not?”
If Bermudez’ intention is to spread the club love, he’s doing a good job of it. The Revolution Rock Bar reached capacity by 11pm, a particularly impressive feat given that most clubbers were still digesting their annual helping of turkey, squash, and uncomfortable dinner conversations with Drunk Uncle Larry.
Plus, Bermudez was competing for clubbers with another big name DJ. Superstar French DJ David Guetta (featured in these pages last month), was playing at The Estate nearby. Coincidentally, the DJ preceding Bermudez spun Guetta’s current single, “Baby When the Light.”
Luckily, Bermudez’ early training was pivotal in his ability to attract the big crowds that come out to see him every weekend. “By starting in radio, I learned how to program music for the masses,” he explains. “The biggest club in Boston right now has a legal capacity under 1,000… by having a bigger audience from the start, I quickly learned how to keep a lot of people happy with what I play. Even in my underground mixes, there’s an element of pop that attracts people who normally wouldn’t listen to the genre.”
Besides his killer club music, Bermudez’ personality is also a big part of the attraction. Like the music he spins, the DJ is warm and approachable, high energy and always ready for a good time. He’s a far cry from the pretentious “superstar DJ” that club fans envision stepping off a plane from Ibiza in designer boots and shades. Bermudez’ popularity has made him equally well-traveled (recent overseas gigs include spinning for his birthday in Mexico City and a New Years stop in Sydney, Australia), but he never packs attitude or ego in his overhead compartment.
It doesn’t hurt that flocks of female fans (and more than a few guys, too) swoon over Bermudez’ physical attributes. Even a simple Google search turns up more than a few remarks of the “what a hottie!” “soooo cute” and “OMG I LIKE TOTALLY LUV HIM LOL” variety. Bermudez, however, takes it all in stride. “I never in a million years thought people would be into my DJing as much as they are, let alone how I look when I’m doing!” he says. “So it’s very, very flattering.”
Bermudez has some flattering words of his own… for the Boston club scene. “My favorite part of the Boston club scene has to be the number of big name DJs that pass through town,” he says. “Just in the past year, we’ve had the chance to hear John Digweed, Armin van Buuren and David Guetta.”
He does have one criticism of Beantown nightlife: “People take forever to get ready for the club,” he says. Like a lot of DJs, he’d rather see clubbers get the most wear and tear out of their dancing shoes. “Even though the clubs close at 2am here, people rarely show up before midnight. In those final 2 hours, most DJs are just getting warmed up!” Luckily, Bermudez’ next Boston gig will last into the early hours of the morning: he’s booked for RISE, Boston’s only after-hours club, on January 5.
In the meanwhile, fans can get ready with his Mass Movement compilation. “Some of these are getting ready to blow up in the clubs in the next few months,” says Bermudez of the track selection.
Coming from a - InSite Magazine

“I really haven’t had to deal with any crazy paparazzi, since we usually keep a low profile and sneak in the back door of places,” says local DJ and producer JOE BERMUDEZ, referring to his friend Hilary Duff. “When they do realize she is out and about, she has some rather large bouncers that are pretty effective at making sure they keep their distance.” “Up All Day” caught up with Bermudez before he headed out to Duff’s show at Bank of America Pavilion. The Brighton resident and regular Rumor DJ has remixed two tracks for Duff, “Stranger” and “With Love.” “We are going talk about what single I should remix next. Then probably hit up Revolution Rock Bar later on tonight.”

As regular house DJs go, Bermudez is probably the biggest success story in New England. He’s shared the production bed with Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and Sharika as well as the Duffmeister. His work has led to DJ gigs in Mexico City and Hollywood and a memorable New Year’s in Australia. “It was awesome to kick off 2007 19 hours before any of my friends,” he writes via e-mail. “The party was great. We started at 10 pm and went until 2 pm the next day. The club ended up shutting down, not because it was dead — there was a full dance floor and people were still trying to get in — but because the staff was so exhausted from partying all weekend and just couldn’t function anymore!”
Bermudez got started in his home state of Maine but then moved to Brighton. “As much as I loved it up there, I needed to be closer to some sort of nightlife scene and a major airport. I ended up moving in with one of my good friends and absolutely love it. I have a hot tub, off-street parking, and I can be at Logan within 10 minutes.”
He’s been using that route quite a bit. Since getting started, Bermudez has learned something many DJs take years to grasp. “There seems to be a lot of insecurity with DJs, which quickly leads to negativity. My advice is to just hang in there.”
That attitude has taken him all the way to Nervous Records, a label most DJs know well. Next month, he’ll releases a mix CD for the well-known imprint called, of all things, “Mass Movement.” The disc will offer his remix of Duff in addition to heavy hitters like Gabriel & Dresden and Martijn Ten Velden.
“When I started, I was repeatedly told I would never amount to anything as a DJ, and now I have a new CD coming out. And am off to tour Russia and France, while those same DJs who tried to discourage me don’t play anywhere outside their bedroom.” Snap!
In addition to the production work and the DJ gigs, Bermudez has a successful radio show on the XM Satellite network and is currently ranked 18th among US DJs by DJ Times. “I feel like I am just beginning. There is still quite a bit I want to accomplish.”
- Boston Phoenix

Nine out of ten remixers get their start as either a DJ or a performing musician. Not Joe Bermudez. This up-and-coming Billboard chart-monger got his start as a radio programmer with an axe to grind with a former flame. Vengeance is rarely as sweet as it’s been for Joe.
Make no mistake, Joe is a musician’s musician. With remix credits ranging from Kelly Clarkson to the Pussycat Dolls, Bermudez’s sound is a cut above today’s pop-oriented club fare, with a sense of melody balanced by enough toughness to keep the feeling real. His contributions to the AIR 81 set on XM Radio puts him in the peak-time sweetspots of midnight (EST) every Friday and then 11pm on Sunday nights. Blending cutting-edge electro beats with a touch of pop and tribal is no easy feat, but Joe pulls it off week after week to the delight of XM listeners.
Here’s a glimpse into Joe’s approach to remixing, with a few well-placed production tips to get you started on your own electronica excursions.
How’d you get started in dance music?
One of the main reasons I started listening to dance music is because of Rollo & Sister Bliss. Their remixes for Faithless (“Insomnia”), Kristine W (“Feel What You Want”), and the OT Quartet (“Hold That Sucker Down”) literally changed my life. Living in Maine, I had never been exposed to such a style before. Before I knew it, I was constantly driving down to Boston and raiding record stores.
But your entry into remixing itself is a bit more colorful.
[Laughs] Well, it’s probably not the most typical route, but I got involved with remixing to help me get over someone. I was miserable, so some friends in New York begged me to come down for the weekend and hit up a few strip clubs to make me feel better. I really wasn’t interested, but they also did production work, so I made a deal with them. If they let me play in the studio, I would burn through some dollar bills with them later on that night. The mix I ended up doing was of Mya’s “Case of the Ex” on Interscope, and I was immediately hooked. I decided to name it the “Drop Your Ex Mix,” and most people assumed that it was a drug reference, when in reality I was just trying to move on.
The low end of your mixes is always nicely balanced. What’s your secret?
It’s all about the kick and the bass, but like with most things in life, there can only be one winner. Too many things in the low end fighting with each other does nothing to help your track. You have to make a decision on which one is going to be the foundation of your mix. After I decide, what I like to do is loop a small section and solo just those two elements. Next, I simply roll off some bottom end on the loser and it instantly cleans up the track. It doesn’t take much, either. Using a Waves Q4 with a highpass filter anywhere between 60Hz and 90Hz will really make a difference, and it’ll make the other sound punch even more. It also doesn’t hurt to use a bandpass filter and increase some of the frequencies between 1kHz and 3kHz. This will help your kick or bass really cut through the mix and give you that impact you’re looking for. It you’re still looking for more, add a Waves Renaissance compressor. Put the ratio around 1.25 and play with the threshold, between –2.5 and –7.0.
What about some of those super-wide sounds in your mixes: Are there any plug-ins you use to get that spaciousness?
Instead of creating a delay for each track in [Digidesign] Pro Tools, I set up a few main delays and bus everything else to them. First, create an Aux input and then hold down your Apple (command) key while clicking on the solo button for your new track, so that it works when you solo other elements that are bused to it. Then, select your delay tempo and pick a rhythmic feel, such as quarter-notes or eighth-notes. Next is the part most people overlook. When you assign a tempo in Pro Tools, both your right and left channels are exactly in sync. One of my tricks is to pick one of the channels and offset it just a few milliseconds. It may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference in how your delays sound. From there, set the feedback to around 35 per cent and then open up a 1-band EQ with a highpass setting of around 360Hz. This will help keep your delays from bogging down the mix.
Here are some of Joe’s remix highlights from the past year or so, including three of his No. 1 hits.
• Kelly Clarkson, “Because of You” (RCA)
• Jesse McCartney, “Right Where You Want Me” (Hollywood)
• Pussycat Dolls, “Buttons” (Interscope)
• Jeannie Ortega, “Crowded” (Hollywood)
• Bo Bice, “The Real Thing” (RCA)
• Nick Lachey, “What’s Left of Me” (Jive)
• LL Cool J w/ Jennifer Lopez, “Control Myself” (Def Jam)
• Amuka, “I Want More” (Kult)
• Shakira, “Don’t Bother” (Epic)

“I run everything on a dual 1.25GHz Power Mac G4 with 1GB of RAM,” he says. “I handle MIDI in Cubase SX3 and mix audio in my ProTools Mix Plus TDM rig. Cubase has excellent stock plug-ins such as Bit - Keyboard


Remixes I have done include:

Taylor Swift – Teardrops On My Guitar – Big Machine
Justice – D.A.N.C.E. – Ed Banger
Creamer & K - The Healing - NY Love
Pink - Who Knew - Jive
Gabriel & Dresden - Closer - Organized Nature
Hilary Duff – Stranger – Hollywood Records
Martijn Ten Velden - I Wish You Would - Robbins
Dragonette - I Get Around - Mercury
Hilary Duff - With Love - Hollywood Records
Nelly Furtado - Say It Right - Geffen
Cedric Gervais - Spirit In My Life - Ultra
Vanessa Hudgens - Come Back To Me - Hollywood
Atrium - In Love With You – Toolroom
Jesse McCartney – Right Where You Want Me – Hollywood
Pussycat Dolls – Buttons – Interscope
Mario Vasquez – Gallery - RCA
Ne-Yo – Sexy Love – Island Def Jam
Deepsky feat Jes – Ghost – Release Records
Luz Divina – Cutie Huntin’ – Mindset Entertainment
Jeannie Ortega – Crowded – Hollywood Records
Avalon Superstars – All My Love – Groove Factory
Bo Bice – The Real Thing - RCA
Nick Lachey – What’s Left Of Me - Jive
LL Cool J ft Jennifer Lopez - Control Myself - Def Jam
Morningwood - Nth Degree - Capitol
Amuka - I Want More - Kult
Janice Robinson - Dreamer - Red Zebra
Debby Holiday - Bring It On - Tango Blues
Lee Cabrera - I Watch You - Neutone
Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten - Epic
Shakira – Don’t Bother – Epic
Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You – RCA
Eurythmics – I’ve Got A Life – Arista
Shania Twain – Shoes – ABC
Jeannie Ortega – So Done – Hollywood Records
Backstreet Boys – Just Want You To Know – Jive
Hope Partlow – Who We Are – Virgin
Hilary Duff – Wake Up – Hollywood Records
Jessica Simpson – These Boots – Columbia
Kelly Clarkson – Behind These Hazel Eyes – RCA
Kimberly Locke – Coulda Been – Curb
Suzanne Palmer – Sound Of The Drum – Star 69
Jesse McCartney – She’s No You – Hollywood
Kate Ryan – The Promise – Water Music Records
Ashley Jade – On The Run – Water Music Records
Hilary Duff – Someone’s Watching – Hollywood
Emma – Maybe – 19 Recordings
Christina Milian – Whatever You Want – Def Jam
Ciara – Goodies – Zomba
Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway – Disney
Jesse McCartney – Beautiful Soul – Hollywood
Mis-Teeq – One Night Stand – Reprise
Hilary Duff – Fly – Hollywood Records
Nikki Costa ft Prince – I Don’t Think We’ve Met – Virgin
Angel - Just The Way I Am - Midas Records
Janet - R&B Junkie - Virgin
Jessica Simpson - Take My Breath Away - Columbia
Mis-Teeq - Scandalous - Reprise
Britney Spears - Everytime - Jive
Hilary Duff - Come Clean - Hollywood Records
Christina Aguilera - The Voice Within – RCA
Lillix – Tomorrow – Maverick
Kelly Clarkson – The Trouble With Love – RCA
Hilary Duff – So Yesterday – Hollywood Records
Deborah Cox – Starting With You – J Records
Ian Van Dahl – Secret Love – Robbins
Mariah Carey – The One – Island Records
Wide Life – I Don’t Want You – Nervous Records
Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You – Jive Records
Heather Headley – He Is – RCA Records
Brandy – He Is – Atlantic Records
Celine Dion – I’m Alive – Epic Records
LeAnn Rimes – Life Goes On – Curb Records
Pink – Just Like A Pill – Arista Records
Brandy – What About Us – Atlantic Records
Pink – Don’t Let Me Get Me – Arista Records
Pink – Get The Party Started – Arista Records