KoKo and Bayati
The city of Las Vegas has captured the attention and imagination of party goers worldwide. With the reputation of being an adult playground and a dance floor mecca, DJs have been flocking there from all over the world with the hopes of playing under bright lights in the big city. This makes it one of the most competitive DJ markets around. So how did 2 DJs from smaller markets on different sides of the country come together and turn Las Vegas on its head? By being dope, being different, and being determined as hell to make sure they left a mark on the scene. In 2015 KoKo and Bayati came together and realized they could do more on stage together than they could individually. With a mix of drum machines, high energy music, and a Panda, they have put together one of the most exciting shows around. We recently caught up with them to find out more…
Where are each of you from Originally?
KoKo– “I’m an east coast guy from a small town in Rochester, New York“
Bayati– “I’m a west coast guy from Hermosa Beach, California”
How did Koko and Bayati come together?
KoKo– “I’ve been DJ’ing in Vegas for about 8 years now, and 4 of them at Chateau Nightclub. In 2014 Brian moved here and started his residency at Chateau as well. We had met briefly and shortly after both of us were put on the bill to spin the main room on New Years. We both got involved in each others sets on the mic and messed around with song selection and just started winging it, having fun and trying out new things.”
Bayati– “Yea afterwards we kind of both agreed that just getting up there and playing songs was starting to get boring and repetitive, so we decided to team up, put together a show and re invent ourselves a little bit.”
What type of music are you putting out?
KoKo– “For our sets, I don’t think we could be pigeon holed into one genre. I think the best answer would be open format. It all depends on the night and the crowd. Certain nights we could be playing everything from Trap to Rage against the machine to Backstreet boys, and other nights we could be playing straight hip hop and getting ratchet all night. Its all about the people and what they want. I think being able to read the crowd and adapt is one of the greatest assets a DJ can have and something that we pride ourselves on.”
Bayati– “Absolutely, and on the production side of things I guess you could say the same thing. We tend to dabble in every genre. Lately in the studio we have been getting into the melodic, future bass/trap kind of stuff. We both have a guilty pleasure when it comes to grimey drops, but also enjoy music that has feeling in it. Being able to incorporate both of that into a song is something that we’re like to strive for and I think it shows in some of the records that we are beginning to be putting out.”
What is a Koko and Bayati show like?
KoKo– “Energy. I think if we had to describe our show in 1 word that would be it. Our goal is for every single person in the venue to have the time of their life and leave thinking holy shit, who the hell were those guys and where did they come from.”
Bayati– “Exactly, we’re up there getting the crowd involved, giving away T shirts, waving flags, inviting people on stage and taking them on a roller coaster of emotions through different genres. We just really want to turn a regular club gig into a show that people will remember for the rest of their lives.”
How do you incorporate both DJs into the show?
KoKo– “We have a standard DJ set up along with a drum machine loaded with samples on the side. We take turns going back and forth throughout the night, and usually when one of us is focusing on the technical side, the other is focusing on the crowd and how we can keep their attention. As the night progresses we just feed off each other and have fun. To me that’s the most important part, if we’re having fun, so is the crowd and naturally thats when the best moments happen.”
Bayati– “You forgot to ask about the third member of our group, Jeffrey…….the panda”
What is the Panda about? And is the Desiigner song really about you guys?
Bayati– “Well Jeffrey was originally an impulse buy. I was sitting with one of my close friends early in my DJ career trying to come up with ideas to do something different. We thought hey, what’s something that everybody loves………Panda’s. So we got a full panda suit, took the head and laced it up with LED’s. I wanted to make the show more visual and Jeffrey the panda has been a part of the show ever since!”
KoKo– “Yea, he was part of the package deal when we teamed up. As far as Desiigner goes, I’m pretty sure I saw him in the back corner at one of our shows dabbing…………so yea, he pretty much stole the idea and we’re still waiting on our residual check………true story, kinda.”
How has the Vegas scene changed in the past couple years?
KoKo– “As always, new venues are continuing to open up and every year they are getting bigger and more extravagant, thats just the natural progression of Vegas thats been happening since the early/mid 2000’s. As far as the music goes, what I think is awesome is that you can slowly see open format finally starting to creep its way back to these big clubs. The mega million dollar DJ’s are beginning to veer off from playing big room house sets all night and are branching off into different genres. I think this is a great thing not only for music in general, but for the local guys who have been specializing in this style of DJ’ing for years now.”
Give me 2 tips do you have for DJs who play in Vegas.
KoKo– “I would say networking is one of the most important things I’ve learned since being here. It’s something that I think isn’t talked about enough and is super important to understand for new guys coming into the city looking to break into the scene. Being out, being seen, making friends and connecting with people in the industry is the best way to get your foot in the door. DJ’s are a dime a dozen out here and unfortunately talent alone won’t get you that headlining spot that you’re looking for”
Bayati– “That’s 100% true, and on the other side of things, I think being versatile in your style and music selection is huge. People come to Vegas from all over the world and not everybody wants to hear the same thing. Learning how to read the crowd and manipulate your set to make sure everybody has fun is the most important thing when you’re up there. Not only does that keep things fresh, it also opens up more opportunities for different types of gigs as well.”
Thank you KoKo and Bayati for taking the time to chat with us and break down how you guys are breaking out from the pack. If you want to learn more, follow them on social media and place your bets on KoKo and Bayati.