DJ Marcel Mendez

Marcel Eclectic Surprises

Marcel Mendez


Interview: International DJ, Producer, Live Musician from Uruguay

When are you playing and what do you think your set will add to the three day festival?

I will be performing on the festival’s main stage, Calverley Park on Saturday, 26th August, and Sunday, 27th August. I am keen on injecting some eclectic surprises and my own exclusive summer edits into the mix for the Local & Live festival. This means spending time in the studio, rehearsing, and testing out new ideas to ensure that my set is fresh and tailor-made for the event.

How do you prepare for the set for Local & Live and do you let the audience’s reaction guide the playlist?

Preparing for a set and curating the playlist at a Local & Live festival revolves around the audience, and I do this by thoroughly researching all the acts that will be performing on the main stage at the festival. I make sure to spend time at the event itself, observing the crowd and understanding their musical preferences.

As the one responsible for setting the tone for both days and building excitement before the live acts, I begin by immersing myself in the music of the bands performing. While I may already be familiar with some of them, I take the time to delve deeper into their styles, genres, and popular tracks. My ultimate goal is to create a set that not only complements the performers’ styles but also establishes a distinct separate vibe that gradually builds in energy, ensuring a seamless flow throughout the event.

During my performance, I focus on the audience’s reactions. Instead of sticking to a predetermined playlist, I continuously gauge the crowd’s response and adapt my music selection accordingly. This freestyle approach allows me to stay unpredictable and generally keep the energy high, as I am continually striving to deliver exactly what the audience wants but I am conveying it in my own style.
If I can make people smile, I know that I have done a good job!

What do you think you will enjoy most about it?

Local & Live is an incredible platform for artists to share their passion and connect with music enthusiasts from all walks of life. I am truly honored to be a part of this event and bring my Summer of Love set to the main stage. I am looking forward to working with the amazing team and talented musicians involved with this event.

When did you get started in music and why?

My love of music came from growing up in Uruguay surrounded by local rhythms and my parents constantly either performing or playing music in the house. I have always been fascinated by percussive sounds, and in Uruguay, we are heavily influenced by Latin and African music, which, in turn, has played a significant role in shaping the way I love the perform.

Have you always been a dance DJ or do you dip into other musical genres?

When I was younger I played in a number of semi pro covers bands which has given me an appreciation of performing with live musicians. I was really lucky to work with a number of talented Musical Directors and Artists from Sylvia Young and Brit School of Performing Arts early on. One of the most exciting gigs was performing at the Perugia festival in Italy. When I was eighteen I held my first DJ residency and back then it was very much about soul and the emergence of house music. Coming to live in the UK exposed me to so many different genres from reggae, soul, disco, house, indie, ska, rock which made me become obsessed with collecting music and trying to learn to mix different genres, styles of music known as open format DJ’ing.

Where do you tend to DJ most? Ibiza? London? TW? Or is it a mix of different places all the time?

It’s a mix really. I enjoy playing abroad and locally. I have played everything from private parties, to performing at corporate events for Sir Richard Branson, playing at the Sweaty Betty fashion show and at Cafe del Mar. My last overseas gig was in July 2023 at Space Eat & Dance in Ibiza which is Pepe Roselló’s (founder of Space) latest dream come true—a fusion of sunset, soul-stirring music, and amazing food, all set against the backdrop of San Antonio’s iconic sunset strip.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the best things about my job is connecting with people. Music is a universal language, and as a DJ, I get to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It’s amazing to witness how music brings everyone together and can create a sense of unity and joy.

I love discovering fresh tracks and artists, keeping up with trends, and surprising my audience with different sounds. As a DJ, I love the ability to control the energy of the crowd and create moments on the dance floor. Seeing people react and connect to the music I play is incredibly rewarding.

Being a DJ allows me to express my creativity and musical taste. With today’s digital DJ’ing I can curate unique sets and experiment with different genres, remixes, and mashups to create a distinctive sound.

I love being a part of special occasions. Whether it’s a club night, a festival, a wedding, or a private party, being a DJ allows me to be a part of people’s most memorable moments. Providing the soundtrack for these events and seeing everyone having a great time is truly fulfilling.

Finally, where can we follow you and check out your sounds?

Instagram @marcelmendezmusic

and you can hear my BBC interview here or listen in via BBC Sounds.