COSTA MESA, CA – Rising from the ashes of Los Angeles’ early-‘90s rave scene, DJ AERO (birth name: CHESTER DEITZ) is a hip-hop turntablist at heart, although he is today best known as TOMMY LEE’s DJing partner and associated with a deliciously dirty, electro-house sound. Lesser DJs might panic if, say, hip-hop icons, SUGE KNIGHT, JA RULE and ICE-T, were to jump onstage in the midst of one’s electronic dance music set (as happened recently at Foundation Room at The Mirage in Las Vegas), but AERO – the very definition of composure and self-control – gamely laid-down the backing-tracks to the hip-hoppers’ most popular tunes and allowed them to rap live over the instrumentals. Always true to the mission-at-hand, AERO skillfully steered the set back towards the synthesizer-laden, blippy, booming electro the crowd had come to hear.
AERO met LEE when they collaborated together in the rock/electronic/rap act known as Methods Of Mayhem, and together with MIX MASTER MIKE, FRED DURST, the CRYSTAL METHOD, SNOOP DOGG and rapper TILO, they brought the art of showmanship up a giant notch. As DJs under the touring name, Electro Mayhem, AERO has spun at award-winning nightclubs from Bliss (New Jersey) to Stereo (Montreal), Rich’s (Houston) to NASA (Reykjavik), RFK Stadium (Washington DC) to Climate Music Festival (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane). AERO’s tour itinerary grows faster than he can keep track of, and that’s not counting the gigs packed into WMC 2008 in Miami, where AERO will be a presenter at the annual Club World Awards and headline club gigs at Cameo, Nikki Beach, Hotel Gansevoort South and Bed. In fact, AERO debuted as a DJ with LEE on the main stage at Ultra Music Festival at WMC 2004, shattering preconceived notions of what a DJ could be.
As a youth, AERO was influenced by West Coast DJs like Barry Weaver, Doc Martin and Steve Loria. AERO was also a member of the West Coast turntablist crew, the Heavyweights, a collective featuring DJs for SNOOP DOGG, EVERLAST, KORN and DILATED PEOPLES. Turntablists who still inspire AERO today include THE BEASTIE BOYS’ MIX MASTER MIKE, THE SKRATCH PIKLZ and QBERT, and AERO maintains a close friendship with SIMPLY JEFF and supports the latter’s record shop, DJ Culture.
AERO’s dry wit belies an intensely focused music-lover who is the grounding force of his DJ performances with LEE. In the DJ booth, AERO’s and LEE’s gear setup consists of: two Pioneer DVJ-1000 DVD-players, an Edirol V2 video-mixer, a Pioneer DJM-800 mixer, two Pioneer CDJ-1000MK2 CD-players, a Pioneer EFX-500 effects unit, two Apple Mac Book Pro laptops, an M-Audio O2 keyboard, and assorted live performance software including Ableton Live 7.0, Artillery 1.3, Native Instruments’ Traktor 3.3, Komplete 5 and Kore 2. Most recently, AERO and LEE have added the new, state-of-the-art Pioneer SVM-1000 audio-video mixer to their setup, which will replace the other mixers. “I’m using Traktor Scratch with two [Pioneer] CDJ-1000s to control the computer with the music. We used to use a DJM-800 mixer, but now we’re using the new SVM-1000 audio-video mixer, which is a sick piece of technology. Basically, I select the next track to play, send the signal to Tommy, and he does whatever the hell he wants to do with it, and sends that effected signal back to me. I use the mixer to control what the [audience] hears. We are really busy when we’re up there onstage, and we’re mixing and creating audio and video. We’re really busy onstage; it’s not like we’re up there having cocktails and blowing air-kisses to the girls,” said AERO.
AERO has given countless press interviews to prestigious media outlets including: magazines, DJ Times, Big Shot, Remix, Club World, Live Design; newspapers, Miami New Times, Houston Chronicle, Las Vegas Weekly, Newark Star Ledger; radio stations, SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s “Area 33,” KTCL Radio-Denver, WKSE Radio-Buffalo; websites, Clubplanet.com, Raves.com; and TV stations, Canada’s Chum-TV on “A Morning News” viewed by 2 million people.
AERO’s latest project includes original electronic dance music production under the moniker WTF?, the group he helped form with LEE, DEADMAU5 and STEVE DUDA. The first tracks released under WTF? include “Chicken,” “Ceaba55555,” “Redic,” and “You Can’t Afford This.” for DJ AERO, the future is brighter than anyone could’ve imagined.