Playground to host night of rotating DJs
Hermilo “Herm” Guzman has been around the block, both locally and abroad. The 39-year-old Tucson native has been DJing in the area for the past two decades, and has even made trips to Guatemala and Sweden.
Guzman is a little more seasoned than the crowd he serves, which he said consists mainly of club-goers in their twenties. But he’s OK with that.
“I’m one of the older guys in town, I guess,” he said with a laugh.
But his age, along with his experience, is what gives him his edge, Guzman said. The Tucson club scene veteran is set to play two separate sets on both floors of Playground Bar & Lounge this Friday as part of the club’s weekly Merry Go Round. The event, which features four DJs rotating performances through the night, will also include local DJs Jason E., Bonus and Phatal.
Conceived in June and launched in July, the idea of Merry Go Round came about through a collaboration between the four DJs and Ronnie Spece, Playground’s entertainment director. The event puts two DJs up at the same time — one on the club’s ground floor and the other on the rooftop — and two on deck, rotating every hour for four hours.
The name goes along with the bar’s “playground” concept, Spece said, adding that the bar has seen a positive response since the event’s inception.
“People have responded well,” Spece said in an email. “Attendance on Friday nights has noticeably increased since we started. We are especially pleased since summer can be a difficult time in Tucson to launch a nightlife event.”
In a world where hip-hop music is seeing a decline and EDM is on the rise, Guzman said he feels fortunate to be a resident DJ at a club where he’s free to play whatever he wants. He and his fellow DJs have learned what the local crowd wants to hear, he said.
“I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to play at Playground,” Guzman said. “The crowd might not necessarily be our age group, but we’re still given the opportunity to play music from stuff that we grew up on, the classic stuff that we have grown to know and love, as well as new music that typical 21- to 28-year-old club-goers like to hear.”
Additionally, playing alongside each other has its own benefits for the DJs.
“Everybody gets a chance to see what everybody else is doing for the crowd,” said Jason Ehrehman, who goes by the stage name Jason E. “The main benefit that comes with playing with other DJs is that you know they’re going to keep you on your toes all night. You’ll always be challenged to bring something new that’s going to make the crowd go nuts.”
Having all served their fair share of time in the local club scene, Guzman said the four DJs have grown to be “like brothers,” which has made it easier to perform together. The result for the crowd, he said, is a quality show.
“Before DJs, we’re music lovers,” Guzman said, “so to be able to impress each other and turn each other on to new music, and then get paid for it, is one of the best jobs in the world.”