DJ Enferno, you’ve just been selected by Madonna to be the DJ on her Sticky & Sweet tour. What’s next? Well, not a trip to Disney World.
Last year, Eric Jao – also known as DJ Enferno – was spinning in a club in Orlando, Fla., when New Bedford native and ex-Maurice Starr protege Kevin Antunes dropped in to check him out. While standing in line amid a throng of wannabe Mouseketeers at the airport the next day, Enferno checked his messages.
“There were so many kids coming back from Disney World that it was so loud in the security line all I could hear on my voicemail were the words “Madonna” and “Justin Timberlake,” ” said Enferno from New York, where Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet was in the middle of a four-night stand at Madison Square Garden. The tour comes to TD Banknorth Garden on Wednesday and Thursday.
” “Hmm,'” I thought, “That’s weird,” said Enferno. “So I check my texts and see, “Hi, this is Kevin Antunes, musical director for Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Saw your show last night. Give me a call.” I started freaking out right there in the security line. I wanted to pick up a kid and shake them.”
At that point Antunes was already sold on the DJ. But Madonna’s right-hand man knew he’d need to send the right material to the Material Girl to get her on board.
Enferno sent a video tutorial of his live remix project, which uses samplers, sequencers, synthesizers and turntables to remix music on the fly. Her Madjesty was very impressed and Enferno was quickly tapped to join her royal court. The turntable genius made his Madonna debutin August when her tour kicked off in Wales.
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“I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about how that day went,” he said. “I always thought it’d be cool to get onstage in front of 2,000 people. Here I was in Cardiff in front of 70,000-something people. I’d never seen that many people before in the same space. That alone . . . wow. I got goosebumps all up and down my arms and neck. It was mind-blowing.”
The 33-year-old DJ began his musical life as a classical pianist. But, as teenagers are apt to do, experimentation followed. His first forays into mixing involved a boombox, clock radio and two cassettes.
“I would dig certain bits and pieces of songs and record them, maybe a verse or chorus or a few bars, then I would cut to something else I thought would sound better with it,” he said. “I wasn’t even thinking about turntables then.”
A few years later he split the cost of a DJ setup with his parents and paid them back by entertaining at his high school dances. Which is basically what a Madonna show is: the world’s biggest high school dance with a totally cool chaperone.
“Oh god, Madonna’s huge,” he said. “Not just with her old hits, which I still love playing, but you can play her new music and people will still get down. She’s completely relevant in the club music scene.
“You don’t have to come to the show to see that,” he continued. “Just listen to the new album (‘Hard Candy’). It’s Madonna. It’s not Madonna in the ’80s or the ’90s, but it’s her now. And it works. I love the album and think it’s amazing.”
Amazing or not, it’s a hell of a lot better than spinning “Who’s That Girl” for teenaged Disney rats in Orlando.