DJ Associates: The Pinstriped RebelEyewear and indie singles are model’s own

Les Talusan, also known as The Pinstriped Rebel, has a vast and eclectic collection of pop, indie, and underground hits, as well as rare, obscure gems that can help craft a uniquely personal sound for your event. A professional DJ with 16 years worth of experience, Les is known for her perfectly crafted mixes and commitment to artistic excellence. Les is currently a resident DJ at DC-based clubs The Black Cat, Marx Café, and is Sulu DC’s resident DJ.

The Pinstriped Rebel spins an eclectic and fun mix of music, maintaining the highest quality control across a freeform blend of soul, funk, disco, and old school hip-hop, even throwing in some 80s freestyle. Born and raised in Manila, Les fell in love with music at a young age, DJing at local clubs and playing in bands. Since moving to DC from the Philippines at age 20, she has continued to develop her talents, performing behind the decks throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Read The Pinstriped Rebel’s blog posts

How long have you been DJing?

Since 1997.

How long have you been DJing weddings?

Since 2002.

How often do you get on the mic?

Not too often, only if the couple requests that I make announcements. I prefer to concentrate on the music, but would gladly get on the mic if needed.

What are some of your all time favorite wedding songs?

  • Prince “I Wanna Be Your Lover”
  • Al Green “Let’s Stay Together”
  • Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams”
  • Gloria Jones “Tainted Love” (not a romantic song but in my experience, it gets people dancing)
  • Jackson 5 “ABC” (or “I Want You Back,” both are crowd-pleasers)

What kind of music do you DJ when you’re not at a wedding?

I have a regular monthly gig, Taking The P*ss at Marx Café, where I play indiepop/jangle. When I DJ at Sulu DC (a showcase for Asian American performance art), I play a mix of world music—everything from Pinoy funk to music from Pakistani films. I also love playing jazz-funk, disco and nu-disco, R&B, soul, deep house, and old school hip-hop, and I enjoy throwing in some 80s freestyle and the occasional obscure pop gem.

What is your philosophy on weddings?

Weddings are about the couple, and it’s my job to help make their day as memorable and enjoyable for them as possible.

What size wedding do you prefer to DJ?

I don’t have a preference in size. I enjoy both large and small weddings.

What makes you different from your competition?

I’m a music nerd and listen to all kinds of music, with a keen appreciation and love for so many genres (and sub-genres) of music. This makes it easy for me to recommend songs that meet the couples’ music preferences. With years of experience behind me, I have also mastered reading a crowd, feeling the floor and paying attention to the energy in the room.

What do you do to motivate the crowd if no one is dancing?

I try make sure the couple is out there dancing with their guests. To motivate the crowd if no one is dancing, I’ll change styles or genres and play guaranteed crowd-pleasers to bring people back to the floor.

What training have you received?

I’ve been DJing since 1997, when I had a residency at a club in Manila, and I’ve never stopped. I’ve DJed in clubs, bars, museums, stores, festivals, events and weddings to diverse crowds with diverse tastes.

What problems have you encountered at a wedding and how have you solved it?

I had a wedding DJ gig overseas and the couple rented the equipment for me to use. Hours before the wedding, while I was setting up the equipment with the guys from the rental company, we realized that one of the turntables didn’t work. Luckily, I brought my own Serato Scratch Live (SL3), and I was able to set it up so I could just mix with one turntable.

Who are your preferred DJ gear Manufacturers?

Technics, Vestax, Shure, EV, QSC

What are your favorite record labels?

él, Factory, Homegrown

What are some of your preferred clothing labels?

APC and Uniqlo. My husband Oscar also makes some of my clothes.

Where are your favorite DC nightspots?

If I want a chill night, I go to Marx Café. If I want to go dancing, U-Hall and recently Tropicalia.

What is the best DJ moment of your career (so far)?

I volunteer at Girls Rock! Day Camp, teaching DJing to girls ages 8-18. It’s such a rewarding experience to be able to share my love of music and DJing and maybe inspire these girls to become DJs or musicians themselves. We teach them everything from setting up (and breaking down) equipment to operating the turntables, mixer, and preparing and performing a DJ set. On the last day of camp, they perform at the 9:30 Club, and it’s always one of my best DJ moments (even though I’m not the one behind the decks).

What is your favorite live show(s) (strictly as a member of the audience)?

  • My Bloody Valentine at Roseland Ballroom in NYC, September 2008
  • Little Dragon at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC, November 2008
  • Os Mutantes at Webster Hall in NYC, July 2006
  • Guitar Wolf at Ottobar in Baltimore, February 2005
  • San Francisco Popfest at Bottom of The Hill, July 2001 (Hideki Kaji, The Aislers Set, The Lucksmiths, Boyracer)

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

In DC: Ercilia’s, Everlasting Life
In MD (Rockville, specifically): China Bistro, A&J’s
In VA: Loving Hut, Lighthouse Tofu

“I can’t hear myself think in here!” Favorite spot for a quiet cocktail?

Our living room.

What are your five desert island discs?

Ask me tomorrow and I might give you a different answer, but today, these are what I would take to a desert island:

  1. The Wake Here Comes Everybody LP
  2. My Bloody Valentine Loveless LP
  3. Moscow Olympics Still 7″ EP
  4. Freeez Southern Freeez LP
  5. A Tribe Called Quest People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm LP

What’s your dream DJ gig?

Every time I get hired to play “whatever I like or want” is a dream gig. Luckily for me, I actually get to live this “dream” on a regular basis.