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|DJ Mike Pope on day jobs, finding Prince Charming and Lady Gaga|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|July 22, 2011 00:00|
Since 2009, Mike Pope has been the resident DJ for the popular Joining Hearts party and HIV fundraiser. This year’s event is set for Saturday, July 23, at the Piedmont Park pool, with Pope and DJ Seth Cooper providing the beats. Pope, 39, also spins at numerous other dance parties, including at the Heretic, where he is the rotating resident DJ, and at Mixx.
Born near Baltimore, Md., and raised in Columbia, Md., Pope moved to Atlanta 14 years ago where the boys love him and his disco house, tribal house and vocal house beats. He took a few moments out of his busy schedule to discuss his swimsuit selection for the Joining Hearts party as well as who gets his top vote in a match between Lady Gaga and Madonna.
Do you have a day job? What is it?
Yep, I'm not a jet-setting international DJ quite yet (but hopefully someday). I am the Media Services Analyst at The Art Institute of Atlanta. I manage the audio and video equipment and recording studios for the Audio & Digital Film-making Programs at the college. I've been doing that for the last eight years.
When did you know you wanted to be a DJ?
I first started dreaming about it in the early ‘90s. I used to hang out with a friend in Orlando who played me all these Sasha and Digweed trance records. Before I knew it, I was hooked on electronic music but was just a club-goer for years before entertaining the idea.
It was actually my background in producing music videos … I was shooting live performances of some of the artists that used to perform at Wetbar and then started chatting with all the big DJs that were booked those nights. Before long, I put the camera down and put on headphones.
Who do you consider some mentors?
Tony Moran for telling me to stop making excuses for my age and just go for it. Others would be Chris Cox, Tracy Young and I've always looked up to Ralphi Rosario for his producing genius.
So, as a DJ, you must have men throwing themselves at you all the time, right?
I love this assumption people make about DJs. Gives us a bad rap. LOL. Yeah some guys flirt and that's fun but it hasn't led to anything long term. I'm single but would love to meet someone special so I'm still looking for Prince Charming.
What's your favorite kind of gig to play? A big party like Joining Hearts or a sexy night at Heretic? How do you select different kinds of music to play at different kinds of events?
It's hard to pick a favorite. I'm very fortunate to get to play all kinds of gigs through my involvement with local charities or relationships with some clubs. I love the feeling when I'm onstage at Joining Hearts in front of thousands of people or when I'm playing anthems to a packed dance floor at Heretic. When I play daytime or tea dance events, I tend to play happy vocal top 40 or classics. I go for a real "hands in the air" kind of happy vibe. At peak hour (say 1 a.m.) I'll pull out the circuit anthems or tribal mixes but still am known for vocals during any kind of set that I play.
What's the one song everyone needs to have on their summer play list?
Last year it was "Happiness" by Alexis Jordan but this year, I've gotta go with "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele. Her new track "Set Fire To The Rain" is a close second but still I'm always asked to play "Rolling In The Deep" and still am not tired of it.
Lady Gaga or Madonna? Why?
Lady Gaga because of what she's accomplished in her short career. I admire her ambition but admire Madonna's pioneering genius. I'm not sure Gaga would be doing what she is doing without Madonna's influence. I guess I admire that in Gaga because there are huge DJs that have been at it a lot longer than I have, but without their influence, I would not be where I'm at today. Gaga and Madonna need to do a song together!
What kind of skimpy swimsuit do you plan to wear to Joining Hearts this year? Are there enough skimpy swimsuits at the event?
I don't really own any skimpy swimsuits but there are always plenty at the event on guys who actually have the time to use their gym memberships. LOL.
If you could have one wish for Atlanta's LGBT communities, what would it be?
That every one of us do our part to support our local charities, non-profits and gay-owned businesses so that they can thrive and not have to close or stop providing assistance to those in need. In my many years living in Atlanta, I'm moved to the point of tears when I see large checks presented to community leaders from all our hard work. It's what makes Atlanta a truly wonderful place to live.
Top photo: DJ Mike Pope (via MySpace)
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