Obama’s Go-To DJ Reflects on Four Years of Performing for the First Family
SPIN's Brian Josephs talks with DJ Mel, Obama's go-to DJ, about everything from how he got the job to how he curated playlists and his thoughts on President Trump.This article originally appeared on SPIN
A new White House administration means Austin-based DJ Mel Cavaricci’s time playing music for President Obama’s events has come to an end. For the past few years, Cavaricci—better known as DJ Mel—has gained recognition as “Obama’s DJ”–he was on turntable duty on the night Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney to secure his second term, and he went on to soundtrack the Inauguration Ball and the past four White House Easter Egg Rolls. Fittingly, he played the afterparty to the President’s Farewell Address at McCormick Place last week—the same venue where he DJed Election Night, his first gig for the Obamas.
Cavaricci is well-known outside of his presidential sets; his resumé includes performances at Tour de France, Lollapalooza, and a gig as the University of Texas’ basketball team’s official DJ. Working for the soon-to-be former president is obviously different, even more so because there’s never been a presidential administration this inclusive toward popular culture.
“With an Obama presidency, the music, as a component, was very natural,” Cavaricci said in a phone interview with SPIN. “It wasn’t like this contrived thing where he’s just gonna try to ‘pander,’ if you will".
A few days after his farewell address afterparty set, DJ Mel spoke with SPIN about his stint as Obama’s go-to mixer and its significance beyond the DJ booth. Read the conversation, condensed and edited for clarity, below...