After some two decades on the scene, Ernest Maisonet aka DJ Nesto is getting new gigs and becoming even more of a force in NYC nightlife.
Thotyssey: Hello DJ Nesto, thanks for chatting today! How’s your week been so far?
DJ Nesto: Not too bad! Was just here putting the finishing touch for my next SoundCloud mix.
You’re a prolific mix maker! Do you plan out exactly what’s going to be on a mix, or is it more of a “let’s see where this takes me” kind of situation?
Well, it depends on the vibe or theme of the mix. I gather a good amount tracks that goes with the theme, and take it from there. Some make the cut, some don’t, lol.
In general, what do your mixes tend to send like… meaning, what genres or artists do you generally pull from?
When I’m out playing in venues, I pretty much play everything. I try to incorporate old with the new as much as I can. So I can cater to as many people as I can, but I’ve learned you can’t please everyone. My mixes are more house music-based because, it’s what I started with when I began my DJ journey — this year makes 20 years. All of my SoundCloud mixes pretty much tell a story. I think I express what I’m feeling at the moment through the mixes.
Tell us a bit of your origin story: where are you from originally, and was music always part of your life growing up?
I was born and raised in The Bronx. Music has always been a part of me: from being a kid, buying blank tapes and recording songs from the radio, pressing the stop / play button so I could cut out the DJ talking on the radio, lol, ‘Til coming of age, where I could actually go out to the clubs and see how it all worked. I was always the guy who was the first one at the club when it opened at 10 — not only because it was free to get in, but more to hear how a DJ would start the night, set the mood for the crowd, and hear the mixing. I watched a lot of DJs. There and then, I knew this is what I wanted to do.
What was your first time DJing?
My very first “big deal” gig was in 2002, where I opened for DJ Mike Cruz and DJ Merrit at Club Cheetah, for Gay Pride. I was such a rookie; it was so much fun. Wish I could do that night all over again.
What have been some of your favorite DJ gigs over the years?
After almost two years of not working or playing, every gig at this point is fulfilling. I’m grateful to still have residencies; I have been at Monster Bar almost eight years now, and other well-known venues in between. This year has bought new venues and residencies that I look forward too. I love to see people dance.
Tell us about working at the Monster! You’re not just spinning dance parties there, you DJ drag shows (Mondays with Tiffany Anne Coke and Clarice Hart, Wednesdays with Holly Dae and some Fridays with Egypt), and are often surrounded by hot gogo gods!
Yeah, it’s not just DJing any more; it’s all rolled into one. I learned a lot working with drag queens — they put in just as much work on entertaining a crowd as us DJs do. It’s not easy! Nowadays, the attention span is really short… so you have to keep them entertained, whether its the DJ, the drag, or the dancer and the bartender. We all are pretty much a team.; we have to feed off each other to keep the night going. The Monster has taught me that.
And you just started a new residency, Saturday nights at Rise Bar!
Yes! Rise is so a lot of fun; I’m excited to see our future together. They like to dance there. and to me, that’s all that matters. Once the vibe is there, you know you are going to have the best night.
You’re a busy man! Final question: what’s your best advice for a new DJ on the scene?
Best advice… hmm. Never compete with any of your peers; it’s not a competition. There is a piece out there for everyone. If you did not get that gig you wanted, it’s ok… there is a better one out there for you. Don’t get caught up in the drama and negativity of others — it brings you down, and reflects on your work. Remember, the energy you come in with reflects on your work on the dancefloor. Do what you love.
Thank you, Nesto!