At RISE Club, in Boston, on a recent Saturday night, a DJ known to many house music fans as a fellow fan, but scarcely at all as a DJ, took the decks as opening spinner. It was an emergency cancellation, by the scheduled opening DJ, that gave Michael Lopiano his chance. He took it, and the phone in his pocket hasn't stopped ringing since.
The two-hour set that Lopiano served up that night wasn't his first -- he had debuted at a small club in March of this year -- but it was his first in the "big time." He was on the spot, and he aced the test with a set that met success with the rapidly filling dance crowd almost from its first bars. Groove after groove of deep, thrusting, plush and sultry rhythms -- mostly in techno, tech-house, and deep house modes -- flowed across the floor and up into the dancers' nervous systems. People danced and cheered and, before long called out his name, over and over again -- surprised? Probably, unjustified? Not at all. Lopiano's segues moved smoothly, the sound progressions fully sympathetic, the trippy noises irresistible.
Few opening sets at RISE have sounded better, not many more as sweet. It made Lopiano's a DJ name to notice, to remember, to request of club booking people.
"I've been a fan, a big fan, of the music," says Lopiano. "From the first I heard it, that was at Therapy in Providence -- I recall the night exactly, it was Christmas Eve 2005. Before, all I knew was trance and more trance, going back to my teenage youth. From that night at Therapy, though, it was house music for me, a revelation! I was hooked.”
"I started listening and buying, and buying, seriously, lots of music, for the last few years. I listened to at least 100 tracks a week, every week. I developed my own taste."
The next step inevitably came: Lopiano wanted to move from fan to DJ. "I bought DJ Rafael Belfort's mixer and CDJ players and I started doing it, at home, no PC program. Then at small clubs, wherever -- wood shedding big time. It was an intense experience, lining up tracks, segueing, mixing. I learned from watching other big name DJ/Producers, and most importantly the local community of DJ’s such as: Jeff LeClair, Derek ThePrince, Lonald White, Screwloose(Eric Ferreira), !NSOMNIA(Andre Perry/Sketch One), Brienne, Jared D and many, many more. Always learn at least something from each one. You have to work at it bit by bit. I did that."
Today, Lopiano has a solid base of loving fans, and why not? " I play to their reaction," he says. "What they feel in the music, I put back into it." His styles? "The basics: tech-house, deep house, house, and techno."
He also has built up a stash of 30 CDs full of tracks he's selected plus a USB memory stick. From 30 CDs he's moving to maybe 30 more. "I'm fully committed now," he says. "There's next week’s gig opening for Johnny Vicious at Vanity in Providence, and then who knows? “Sky's NOT the limit.” as his skydiving Mom instilled in him when he was barely 10 years old. Eventually, I want to produce my own tracks. Why not? The music is in me."