[INTERVIEW] DJ RYAN PULLANO
Chicago based entrepreneur/DJ Ryan Pullano has earned his time in the spotlight. After 10+ years on the DJ circuit spinning at some of the hottest spots in the Americas, Ryan has now branched out, founding two companies and managing more than 40 DJs in Chicago. I recently had a chance to sit down and chat with Chicago’s #1 rated DJ about life, music, and spirit animals. Check it out.
Listen to DJ Pullano’s 2011 Spring Break Mix:
Interview with DJ Ryan Pullano by The Sights and Sounds
The Sights and Sounds: I’m here with Chicago DJ, Ryan Pullano. How’s it going?
Ryan Pullano: Good. Doing well, man.
The Sights and Sounds: You want to introduce yourself to everyone who might now know who you are?
Ryan Pullano: Yeah, my name is Ryan Pullano, sometimes I go by DJ Pullano or DJ Ryan Pullano. I’ve been DJing now for about 10 or 11 years, I don’t even know how longs it’s been now. I’ve done a little bit of promotions, a little bit of DJing, really a little bit of everything.
The Sights and Sounds: Let’s just start with the obvious. You were voted Chicago’s #1 DJ in 2011 by Chicago Scene Magazine. What goes into being Chicago’s #1 DJ?
Ryan Pullano: You know what? It’s more than just the music. I think a lot of people think DJing is just about mixing two tracks together but, sometimes fortunately and sometimes unfortunately, it’s more than just the music. I think you have to represent yourself more as a business, as a brand. There’s so much social media and marketing and networking that goes into being a good DJ. You have to be good with your customers when people come up to take requests I think goes into it. Dealing with managers, bar owners, and bartenders goes into being a good DJ. You almost have to think of yourself as an entity, like a business. That really is what separates just a DJ from some of the top DJs that really do well.
The Sights and Sounds: Now you’re represented by VibeisRight.com and you’re pretty active with that. Can you elaborate on that?
Ryan Pullano: Vibe is Right is actually something I started with one of my roommates in college; we both went to the University of Illinois. We started taking pictures of people and posting them on a website and having them come to this website to see their pictures. Kind of before anyone was really doing it. Then we graduated and came into the city and kind of branched off a little bit. I started doing actual promotions, DJing, and throwing parties so then it became more of a promotion site in sense, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
The Sights and Sounds: So stemming from that, you’ve also created and are one of the partners for ProjectParties.com. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Ryan Pullano: Yeah, Project Parties is an idea that came about from trying to automate the promotions and party booking system. So we built that with my partner, Chris Gershnot, he used to work at Mickey’s at the time. And we’ve been friends all through college, he ran a bar and I ran another bar and that’s how we knew each other. It’s an automated way to book parties, kind of like an aggregated site for booking parties. We took that idea and spun it and now we do something called Project Parties Portal, which we integrate the content management systems into bars and clubs. So if you went to Proof, Bull & Bear, or the Barn & Co. website and click on the “Book your party here,” that’s our system. And that’s something that I’ve been spending a ton of time on because it’s really taking off now.
The Sights and Sounds: So you spin at a number of different bars and clubs. Do you remember the first place you ever DJ’ed?
Ryan Pullano: The first time I can remember really ever playing would be one of my buddies house parties in his basement. I barely knew how to mix and I had some DJ Psycho Bitch mixes, I think I had a Mixin’ Mark mix, and I would just go between each of the mixes and it seemed to work. That was the first time I really remember it. The first time I ever got paid was when I played at a frat house at U of I (University of Illinois). I did an after hours and some kid offered me $100 just to come play, and I was like, “Dude, I can get paid to do this?” Ten years later and now this is what I do.
The Sights and Sounds: And were you just DJing off your laptop to begin?
Ryan Pullano: Actually I was very fortunate. My grandma gave me a gift. She passed away years ago, but one of her things was she gave each of her grandson $1,000 and we had to spend it on something. We couldn’t invest or put it away. And at the time I was just really into electronic music and I saw this DJ stuff and I said, “Dude, I need that.” So I bought it and started my freshmen year just on my floor. I had no idea what I was doing. I just sat there and played, and girls would come in and think it’s cool, stuff like that. So I was thinking this was cool, and yeah, that’s just kind of how it started.
The Sights and Sounds: You’ve done a lot of travelling and a lot of international stuff. What’s been your favorite place to DJ?
Ryan Pullano: You know, I don’t know if there is a favorite place. I think it’s more about the crowd, like my favorite crowd. A Friday at a small place like Century Room with a great crowd can be better than playing at a 2,000 person place with a crowd that’s not into it. So it’s really the energy of the crowd. One that sticks out in my mind is Palladium in Acapulco. That was kind of surreal. I got up there and I didn’t know what to expect. I played at a pool party earlier and someone heard me and wanted to get me to play at Palladium. I had no idea, I think I was kind of drunk, too. So I got up there and played, and this system is just so powerful. It was just a real treat. I think I’ll always remember that as one of the better places. They had everything form CO2, to the fireworks coming down, the devil was there, people on the trapeze. They actually invited me back to play the next night, so I was really lucky and it was really fun.
The Sights and Sounds: So what’s in the future for you, what do you see yourself doing?
Ryan Pullano: Basically my schedule now has been really full. I’ve been touring with Na Palm, I do all the DJing for him, so I’ll be his official tour DJ. I’ll also be doing some spots along the way. I still love playing in Chicago. I’ve been doing some of the more late night spots because I just like the energy there and the music I can play there. I’ve kind of been moving a little bit towards management more. I have about 47 other DJs that I work with, help get gigs, and kind of manage. So I’ve been splitting my time between the two to get a little more longevity because the late night stuff is cool, but sometimes the hours become a little bit much after a couple years. I don’t want to be 40 and still in the club. (He laughs) But when I was 20 I said that I cant be 30 and still doing this, but I am, so we’ll see what happens.
The Sights and Sounds: What are some of your musical influences? Who do you like to draw inspiration from?
Ryan Pullano: It’s funny because some of my friends that knew me before knew me as a rocker. I hated electronic music, I thought it was fake. I played guitar and I was in a band. My brother was a huge influence on me, he used to give me stuff to listen to. So growing up I listened to everything from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre to Led Zeppelin, classic rock. Some of my favorite bands are 311, Red Hot Chili Peppers. I listened to a lot of really heavy stuff like Slayer and Metallica, stuff like that. Recently, all my influences I pull are from Chicago DJs like Mixin’ Mark, Bad Boy Bill, Josh The Funky One, Billy The Kid. DJ Flipside went to U of I and he taught me kind of how to DJ in the beginning. I think the Chicago guys are the best, for sure. And then, you know, all the big talents; the Avicii’s, the Deadmau5’s, all the modern stuff. I mean, how could you not like it?
The Sights and Sounds: Speaking of Avicii, are you going to his concert this weekend? (October 1st @ Congress Theater, Chicago)
Ryan Pullano: I was supposed to be out of town in Pittsburgh for a show and I just got a call saying that it got cancelled. Now I don’t have a ticket anymore, so I may or may not go. I got my Deadmau5 ticket though. I’ve seen him a million times, but it’s just always good.
The Sights and Sounds: Where do you find the music for your sets? Do people send you stuff or do you just spend time browsing the interweb looking for new stuff?
Ryan Pullano: I’ve been really fortunate, I have a really good group of friends and my roommate Eric is a DJ too, he shows me a ton of stuff. People send me stuff all the time too, which is great, because at that point I feel like it’s already been filtered and it’s good. I get a lot of stuff from DJs all over the place that I’ve been friends with. And blogs. Blogs are like the newest thing. It used to be Napster, then Audio Galaxy, and now it’s all moving towards blogs. Which is where I think you get all the good music from. Some people use BeatPort, but I’m not huge on that. Just a lot of good blogging. I also like to go out and listen to people play. I’ll go and hear what other DJs are playing, and be like, “Hey, what’s that song.” And, usually if they’re cool, they’ll tell you. You get some of those DJs that are like, “Oh, this is my jam,” but I don’t really deal with them.
The Sights and Sounds:I like to throw this question in for a twist. What kind of spirit animal do you see yourself as?
Ryan Pullano: Haha, this is like a newly weds question or something. I wish I had a better answer. It would probably be something that’s fast, has a little bit of strength, a little bit of sly, a little bit of cunning. Like a cheetah. I’m not really a lion. Yeah, like a cheetah. I don’t know, I don’t really have a good answer for that. I’m thinking along the lines of some type of cat. Something that’s a little more cunning, quick on it’s feet, stuff like that. Maybe I should have gone with something like a nocturnal owl. That might have been a better answer.
The Sights and Sounds: That’s pretty much all I have for you. Do you have any shout outs you want to give?
Ryan Pullano: Oh man, I could probably do another twenty minutes of shout outs. Just everyone that’s helped me out, my friends, my family, to fans, to people that have been there from the beginning, to people that are here now, people that come to shows, people that come to help promote and stuff like that, all the clubs and venues and promoters that I’ve worked with. Thank you guys for everything.
Powered by Facebook Comments