Some of the most popular nights and places for dancing are Wednesday at Casanova and Saturday at Spats. The DJ for both nights, usually wearing baggy pants, glasses and long hair pulled into a ponytail, is DjBlast—a.k.a. Bud Galarita.
It all began when he heard “Planet Rock” by Africa Bambaata. He immediately purchased two turntables from a yard sale, spliced them together and started mixing music. He was 11 years old.
Growing up in Waihee and Wailuku, most people didn’t really appreciate the new music style that interested him. When he was 15, DjBlast started playing at the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens in Iao “as loud as possible.” People would see the lights and hear the music and show up thinking there was a party going on.
When he was a freshman at Baldwin High in 1986, he was hired to play for the Drama Club Banquet. A few years later, DjBlast flew over to Honolulu to hit the under 21 clubs.
“I would shop for records all day,” he said. “Then go dancing all night and catch a flight out. No hotel, nothing.”
Since then, he’s played at Maui Brews, Hapa’s Nightclub, Blue Tropix, Casanova, Spats and others. He’s evolved from vinyl to CD and now DVDs, playing new music through the eras. He’s gone from Run DMC and Salt n’ Peppa to Sean Paul and Beyonce. And he never shows up with a set playlist.
“I make it up as I go,” said DjBlast. “I know my music so I just feel [the crowd] out. I was playing disco earlier for the older people ‘cause they’re not gonna stay out late anyway. So when I put on this shit they cut out feelin’ like they had a good time.”
DjBlast will stop a song short if he sees that it’s clearing the dance floor. To expose listeners to new music, he’ll play stuff that isn’t necessarily top 40. But if the crowd isn’t feelin’ a song, it’s gone (for instance, on the night I went, it was Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie”).
In the DJ booth doorway, one of DjBlast’s crew, Sean Rosette, blocks the entryway while taking requests. Sometimes the requests can be… intriguing.
“It’s not that there are really odd requests,” said Rosette. “It’s more who requests what. Tonight, I had this little white guy come up to me with, ‘Yo yo! Play me some of dat Young Bloodz shit.’”
Girls have even offered sex just to hear their song. Now that’s easy listening. But DjBlast insists it’s not about the booty.
“[You have] all of these people from different walks of life, different ages, different financial standings forgetting all about their troubles and worries to get together and have a good time,” said DjBlast.
His dream is to open an all-ages club that doesn’t sell alcohol. He used to do a teen night at Hapa’s and beams with pride when he talks about all of the young people he met at the time.
“Kids see people going out to the bars and think that you have to have alcohol to have a good time,” he said. “If they spend a night out dancing and have a great time, they know that isn’t true.”
Thing is, DJ isn’t religious and he’s not a recovering alcoholic. Though at age 15 he got so drunk that he fell down behind the turntables and passed out. That was all the alcohol experience he needed.
“The world moves to the power of music,” he said. “Music will save us all.”
For more information on DjBlast, visit www.chilltown.com. MTW