DJ Day, aka Damien Beebe, may be the hardest-working DJ in Palm Springs.
He’s collaborated with the hip-hop group People Under the Stairs. He’s put out his own records. He’s traveled around the world for live performances. And he hosts the ¡Reunion! show at the Ace Hotel every Thursday night. Because of all of these efforts and more, he’s managed to become a prominent name in the hip-hop community.
His recently released full-length album, Land of 1000 Chances, feels like a throwback to the hip-hop sound during its coming-of-age in the late ’70s and ’80s in New York City. You can feel the inspiration from Funkmaster Flex in his music, melded with modern influences, jazz and funk instrumentals, and vocalists singing soul and classic R&B. It’s a blend of the old-school with some unique modern underground.
The story of Damien Beebe before he became DJ Day starts in Palm Springs.
“I was a latchkey kid, raised by a single mother, and living in an apartment in Palm Springs,” he said. “I got one of those Kmart one-piece turntables with a tape deck. I would teach myself to how to scratch and DJ with that and a little boom box playing in the background. It progressed outside of my house into house parties and going out of town to perform. I just kept going and going.”
Eventually, he crossed paths with Thes One from People Under the Stairs, who has family in Indio.
“We just hit it off; we had a lot of similarities. He asked me to do a remix for the group, and I ended up doing a few remixes for them,” he said.
They eventually decided together to jump ship from the record labels they were on at the time and form their own collective based label, Piecelock 70. “It’s not a record label, per se, but it’s more like an artist collective where we pool our resources to help each other out and get art out around the world,” he said.
As an example of the unique projects that Piecelock 70 has put out beyond music, he tells me about a book called The Mop, by Alan Simpson, based on stories Simpson created after working in a porno shop in Australia during the ’90s.
Aside from his work with People Under the Stairs, and the labor-intensive process of getting Piecelock 70 off the ground, Beebe’s DJing career keeps him busy and traveling all over the world. He’s performed in 16 different countries and has a corporate client list that includes big names like DC Shoes, Adidas, Ray-Ban, Levi’s, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His resume of remixes includes work from Quantic, Alice Russell, Aloe Blacc, Exile, and Clutchy Hopkins, to name a few artists. He was even hired to DJ for Justin Timberlake’s Shriners Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas.
He said he stays true to himself through his music, which is a big part of his Thursday night event at the Ace Hotel.
“We play a mix of everything. It’s what I consider a musically open format,” he said of ¡Reunion!. “There’s everything from current music and underground stuff—classic hip-hop, soul, disco, funk, dancehall and reggae. There’s a little bit of everything.”
If there’s one thing DJ Day wants people to know about ¡Reunion!, it’s that everyone is welcome.
“The biggest thing I think about ¡Reunion! is that we try to be all-inclusive,” he said. “… We just try to provide a good time and a comfortable environment—where you can sit in the booth, have a drink and enjoy the vibe.
“… I want it to be like the show Cheers, where everyone knows your name. That the kind of vibe I want it to have”
DJ Day hosts ¡Reunion! at 10 p.m., every Thursday night, at the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room. 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; admission to the 21-and-older event is free. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings for more information.