Coronavirus

Still Mixing It Up While Clubs Are Closed: Afrojack, Dillon Francis, CID & More Stay-at-Home DJ Picks

Afrojack
Sander Nagel

Afrojack

Each week, Billboard is polling club DJs with venues shuttered due to the coronavirus.

With clubs closed across the country and Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart on hiatus, we're asking reporting club DJs what they've been listening to lately -- while at home, of course.

This week, we spoke with Denver DJ Craig Christensen, Houston's Riddler and San Diego's Ayla Simone.

Christensen has been moving to UK DJ/producer Mark Broom's "Midnight," telling Billboard, "Whether you're playing for a big room or a smaller, more intimate room, this is a versatile kind of record that's going to set things on fire. The stabs are pumpin' and the hypnotizing piano that weaves in and out, followed by the filtered breakdown and organ finish, will definitely take you on a trip."

The DJ, who plays regularly at Tracks, Trade and Gladys the Nosey Neighbor, among other regional venues, is also into a newly-released cover, by Jasper Street Co., of Change's 1981 Dance Club Songs No. 1 "Paradise." "I always love a classic, and the original by Change has always been one of my favorites," Christensen says.

"Doing a cover can be tricky, but Jasper Street Co.'s performance of this song is top-notch," Christensen raves, adding that he particularly appreciates the remix from Mark Knight and Michael Gray, calling it "another anthem. Their production is always on time and the way they captured the essence of the original while updating this tune makes it a must."

The original "Paradise" (which charted with fellow Change tracks "Hold Tight" and "Heaven of My Life" as one entry, per rules at the time) enjoyed five frames at No. 1 on Dance Club Songs in 1981. "Paradise" (on its own) also paraded to No. 7 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs that year.

Another track Christensen has been grooving to is the Moodena Remix of Chilean deep house producer Massiande's "Dancing Stuff (I Love the Way)," describing it as "warm and sexy" and "another fine production. This track is titled perfectly. The lyric, 'I love it when you shake it,' is spot-on: that's what it will make you do. Shake it!"

Riddler (real name Rich Pangilinan) is relishing Afrojack's "All Night," featuring Ally Brooke, as it jumps 19-11 on Dance/Mix Show Airplay and debuts at No. 47 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. "Afrojack teaming up with Ally is proving to be a nice combo," he says. "I've been playing this during my livestreams and Zoom parties and it's been a great singalong song while dancing in quarantine!"

A Houston resident and frequent DJ at many area spots including Cle, Spire and Bisou, Riddler has also been digging Dillon Francis' "You Do You," featuring Baby Jake. "Being a fan of Dillon Francis, I like his collaborations and productions," Riddler says. "This time, he gives 'You Do You' a vibey house style. The song's message of being non-committal is a total opposite of the actual music video, which features young couples. The video's '90s feel brings me back to my early years." "You" bowed at No. 41 on the April 18 Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and this week ranks at No. 45.

Additionally, the industry veteran, and former director of branding and programming for mainstream top 40s KROI Houston and WNOW Indianapolis, has been reveling in Fisher's latest, "Wanna Go Dancin'," which debuts at No. 41 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. "Fisher has been a dance floor staple in all of my sets, with tracks like 'Losing It' and 'You Little Beauty," he notes. "This one, released right at the start of COVID-19, has definitely made my days and nights go a lot faster when playing. It just makes me want to get up off my ass and dance!"

Both of the aforementioned Fisher tracks topped Dance Club Songs, "Losing" in December 2018 and "Beauty" in August 2019.

Riddler, of Filipino origin, is proud to be included on the all-Asian artist bill at the virtual Jadetopia charity festival for COVID-19 relief tomorrow (April 24).

Meanwhile, Simone says that she's been savoring CID's "Downstairs," featuring Jaquell. "Your neighbors might not appreciate this track as much as you do while its vibrating through their walls with a bass-heavy low end, tech house bounce and well-timed hip-hop vocals, but they'll learn to love it eventually," she muses. "It's the kind of low-key banger that keeps the club, or your living room, moving."

Simone, who spins locally at Viejas Casino, Oxford Social Club and Hard Rock Hotel pool parties, among others, has also been enjoying Cocomo's "Guess," calling it a "good energy builder for any set. I would mix this in at the end of my opening set once I'm ready to pull their attention in a new direction. The breakdown draws you in with a slightly nostalgic '90s dance vibe, then builds into a more serious house drop that makes you want to break it down on the dance floor."

Additionally, Simone, who often travels to play in venues ranging from Reno, Nevada, to New York City, shares that she's been liking Earth n Days' cover of The S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good to Me." "This is a fun, carefree song with a stellar vocal," she says. "It has a great house groove. Hearing it makes me happy and reminds me of pool parties, champagne brunches and deep house sets."

The original version of the classic hit No. 2 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 3 on Dance Club Songs in 1983.

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