DJ Profile: Oren Nizri
Israel has given mankind lots of things, among them the Bible, Jesus Christ and the entertainment industry (also known as "Judaism"). In recent years, it’s also become known for some extraordinarily beautiful men -and, oh yes, having one of the most unique and influential dance music scenes on the planet. Among the Israeli DJs who have made international names for themselves are Offer Nissim, Micky Friedmann, Yinon Yahel and Maor Levi. Now you can add to this lineage of superstars handsome, hazel-eyed Oren Nizri.
After jumping the Atlantic to Miami, Nizri has been steadily ascending the ranks with his brand of big-room techno and progressive House. In the last eight years, he has been pounding dancefloors across the United States as well as venues in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Europe and even Asia. Nizri has headlined White Party events in Miami for several years, myriad Gay Pride events across the U.S. and Canada; Brazil’s Hell & Heaven; Sound Festival in Lima, Peru; Summer Sound Festival in Mexico; and Miami’s Ultra and Winter Music Conference. He currently serves as resident DJ at Fort Lauderdale’s Manor Complex.
I managed to catch up with Nizri over the holidays and picked his brain to discover the man behind the addictive beats and sexy stare.
Let’s start at the beginning ...
I grew up in a small town on the southern side of Israel called Dimona, where everyone knows each other. I couldn’t wait to get away from there! I visit my family at least once a year. I’m very close to my family, especially my two younger sisters and my adorable new nephew, Ore, now six months old.
What influenced your love of music?
I found myself drawn to music at a very young age. I would sit next to the radio for hours as a little kid and explore all styles of music. I will never forget, as a kid I took a test with a music teacher and she told my parents I didn’t have any kind of ear for music at all. Guess who’s laughing now! For some reason, I never really connected to what was "hot" back then. While everyone would listen to the typical pop music, I discovered and started listening to artists like Sting, Kate Bush and Suzanne Vega, which I still do today. When I turned 16, my taste really came full circle.
Did you always aspire to be a DJ?
As a kid, I thought I would be a movie director, but that plan didn’t last too long. The minute I got hooked on music, I knew that was what I wanted to do, first as a radio DJ, and which I did successfully for a few years and opened doors for me in important nightclubs in Israel and Europe. When the House music scene exploded, I knew I was meant to be a club DJ. I was so blown away by DJ David Morales’ mix of Mariah Carey’s "Fantasy." Even today, it’s one of my all-time favorite club mixes - 11 minutes of pure magic.
Who gave you your big break?
My business partner and manager, George Coronado, our former business partner Arnold Matteson [now deceased] and I started a weekly party eight years ago in Miami Beach. We held our party in a very sophisticated high-energy lounge that belonged to Cafeteria, the NYC brand that had just opened in South Beach. We had the party for almost a year, and it was a big success. It was really a fun party, and it gave us the opportunity to build up some great relationships and to start getting bookings in different clubs in the South Florida market. Mike Mazer, former owner of the legendary Salvation in Miami, heard me years ago and has been a big supporter of my career ever since.
How do you prepare for your gigs?
There’s only one goal for me: to give the crowd a magical night on the dancefloor so they can forget about everything and join me on a musical journey filled with good vibes. I never plan my sets, and that’s what I love the most about my career. You never know which crowd you will get that night, so I build my sets depending on the vibe and the crowd. You never get the same kind of crowd every night, so it’s definitely a challenge.
How does the scene in Miami compare to Tel Aviv?
Tel Aviv today has a bigger and more diverse club scene in general. People still spend a lot of money when going out, and that of course helps the producers to create bigger and more exciting productions. It’s no secret that the scene in South Florida and all over the States in general has been affected a lot by the economy in the last few years. However, we still have some great parties here in South Florida.