Having been a DJ for almost 20 years, Dallas-based entertainer DJ Magic Juan has built up a respected business serving the area’s Hispanic community. With a love for music that goes back to middle school and a passion for creative lighting that sets him apart from other local DJs, his story is both interesting and inspiring.
As a child, Juan Hernandez lived in East LA for 10 years, where he attended Lorena Street Elementary. He grew up with his cousins, in City Terrace, right across the freeway from California State University Los Angeles. Then, in 1993, the family moved to Fort Worth in Texas, where Juan attended Rosemont Middle School and fell in love with music. In particular, it was Banda - the brass-based form of traditional Mexican music - that caught young Juan’s ear, which led him to join the school band.
It was playing in the band, which he did continuously from 6th grade until his Junior year in High School, that Juan credits with giving him the musical grounding he needed to become a DJ. “Whenever anyone asks me how I learned to DJ, I always tell them it was from playing in the band!” he told us. “As long as you know your music, everything else just falls into place. You have to be able to hear the beats and rhythms and the flow of songs to be a good DJ, and I picked all that up from playing in the school band.”
Juan’s inspiration to switch from performing music to mixing it came from listening to local radio, “I would tune in and listen every weekend to the live mixing from the nightclubs in Dallas and soon wanted to become a DJ myself”. An opportunity soon arose to do just that when one of Juan’s cousins, who was about to get married, asked him to DJ at his backyard wedding celebration.
While excited by the prospect, Juan had a problem, he didn’t own any DJ equipment! However, he soon worked this out with his cousin, “I told him that if I could borrow the CD Player from his home stereo, I’d also bring along mine too, which meant all I’d need was a mixer. So we went to a radio shack in the mall and he bought me a 2-channel mixer and that was my payment for his wedding!”
At the age of just 16, in 1998 Juan had become a DJ, and that first gig soon led to others, “word got out that I was a DJ and guests from the wedding started to call my cousin asking how much I charged to DJ. After that I DJed house party after house party and eventually managed to buy a proper DJ system.”
Having gained experience and honed his skills as a DJ, Juan was eventually able to fulfill his early ambition of DJing in a well-known local club and having his set broadcast on the radio. It was also during his time as a club DJ that Juan acquired the stage name that he has used ever since. “I was going to start DJing at a club called Desperados along with my friend Jesse Guerrero and the promoter asked what were our DJ names. Jesse went by DJ Kidd and I told him that I was still looking for one, but I had been using DJ Sidekick! He didn’t think that name was very catchy, so we bounced some ideas around but didn’t really come up with anything. Then he started listening to my demo and said there’s something about the way I DJed, ‘it’s like magic’… So, boom, from there he said ‘I got your name, it’s DJ Magic Juan!’ I’ve used that name ever since. Over the years I’ve debated changing it, but never came up with anything I preferred… although one suggestion from a friend that I kind of liked was DJ O-B JUAN!”
These days DJ Magic Juan concentrates on his work as a mobile DJ, running a well-established business known as Funky Town DJs. A versatile performer, Juan provides his services predominantly to the Hispanic community throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In addition to DJing and emceeing, these services include up-lighting, custom monograms, video slide shows and dancing on the clouds.
Lighting plays a big part in what Juan does, as he explains: “I like to make people feel like they’re at a concert or in a club. I think my lighting setups set me apart from others DJs, I always try to do new things instead of using the same old set up all the time”. In order to achieve this, Juan has built up a large inventory of equipment, including a variety of truss sections. This he can setup in a number of different configurations to suit venues of all shapes and sizes, either using the truss to form podiums or a goalpost rig above his DJ booth.
Juan has owned lots of ADJ lighting equipment over the years, although at the moment his favorites are his Inno Beam LED fixtures. “I love the Inno Beam LED because it is super-bright thanks to its 80-watt LED source”, he explains. For lighting control, Juan also turned to ADJ, “From the very first time I used myDMX, I loved it. Being able to control my lights from a computer is essential for the standard of lightshow I like to create at my events.”
Although he plays all kinds of music at the wide variety of celebrations at which he performs, DJ Magic Juan’s personal favorite genre is the Latin dance-oriented music Cumbia. “Who doesn’t love Cumbia?” he enthuses. “It’s so upbeat and gets you moving”.
Juan is kept busy regularly DJing events, but when he is not working he enjoys spending time with his family and dogs. He has recently picked up a new hobby that he shares with his young son: racing radio-controlled cars (although he didn’t let us know who wins the most races!).
Having been a part of the DJ industry for the best part of 20 years, Juan has built up lots of friendships with fellow DJs. “Some I met through social media, like Brandon Steward, while others I met in the real world, like my good friend Luis Mendosa AKA DJ Luis who I met at a local Guitar Center here in Fort Worth. I met my closest DJ friend, Jesus Perez AKA DJ Fenix, through Craig’s List when I was upgrading my lighting and posted an add selling off my ADJ Scan 250s. We became good friends and he is now my backup for when I have two events booked on one day.”
Throughout his career Juan has gained lots of experience, but he feels that the most important lesson that he has learnt is that good customer service is the key to being a popular DJ. Clearly just as passionate about DJing as he was when he first started out in 1998, when asked to give a few words of advice for up-and-coming DJs he said, “Love and care for the DJ business, because it’s not for everyone.” It definitely is for DJ Magic Juan and he clearly practices what he preaches, loving the DJ business dearly!
For more information on DJ Magic Juan or to connect with him on social media, follow the links below.