NYC DJ Brett Oosterhaus has been a RISING star in the music scene for years thanks to his upbeat remixes and collaborations with the best of the best. He has also been a RISING star due to his day job managing Rise Bar in Hell’s Kitchen, spinning there on Friday nights. Originally from San Diego, Brett has lived in NYC for 10 years, after a brief stint in LA and WEHO. Traveling the country and world spinning at legendary parties like White Party Palm Springs, MEAT, UNITE World Pride, PowerVERS, Mantamar Beach Club, Pavilion in Fire Island, Crown & Anchor in PTown, and many more.
Earlier this year, he remixed the Natasha Beddingfield classic Unwritten, one of my favorite songs EVER! Who out there remembers the show everyone said they hated but secretly loved, THE HILLS!
We got to sit down with this man of many talents for a talk about everything from his upcoming projects to what he likes to do in his spare time. (FYI, It was difficult staying focused on the interview because he is HOT AF. And to make it even better (or worse lol) he is very sweet, funny, charming, and personable.)
Hi Brett, how are you? Thanks for sitting down with Instinct magazine. Speaking for myself, and other writers, we are huge fans of yours! Loving the “My Heart is Refusing Me!” Was there a specification inspiration behind this track?
I really connected from the moment I heard the song. It’s about being hurt by the person you loved, knowing you need to move on, but your heart won’t let go. I think most people can connect with that theme.
“Now I wanna leave, but I’m lost. Somehow I can’t break away. And although I’ve made up my mind, my heart is refusing me.”
That heart-wrenching agony of not being able to let go, it’s almost unbearable. And the lyrics perfectly embody that feeling.
I have definitely been in that headspace before? How did you connect with DJ GSP & Audrey Callahan to collaborate on this track?
I’ve worked with both separately on previous projects, but we never collaborated on a song altogether. GSP is one of my favorite DJs and producers on the scene, and I always wanted to release a song together. I approached him about remaking this song, and he was immediately on board. And because the song really requires someone with a big powerhouse voice, Audrey was an easy choice. And she absolutely slayed the vocals.
What was the collaborative process like?
It was actually really easy. Once we decided on the song, I just started working on different melodies and chord progressions. It was like a flood of Ideas. I sent them all to GSP and he chose from what he thought worked best. He was able to take my ideas, incorporate them with his own, and organize the entire project! He’s just a genius. So when I say it was easy, I should probably say he made it easy for me.
Have you always wanted to become a DJ?
I used to be a singer back in the day. I left the industry really disillusioned. It never occurred to me, that DJing was even an option. But when I moved to West Hollywood, my dear friend Andrew Briskin, used to manage some amazing DJs, as well as the incredible Debby Holiday. I used to go with him to all these events, and he really kind of pushed me to give it a try. He saw my passion for music, specifically dance music, and I’m just so grateful he did. He was so supportive, and it really gave me a new outlet for my passion for music again.
Who has had the biggest influence on your music and why?
I would have to say Peter Rauhofer, Abel, Tony Moran, and Junior Vasquez. Not only legendary DJs but producers as well. I moved to New York in the heyday of John Blair, the Roxy, Alegria, Evolve with Victor Calderone… Those parties… The sound of New York, at that time, was so edgy and creative. I don’t know if my music sounds like any of them, but they’re part of the reason I fell in love with what I do, and why I push myself to create.
Who (if anyone) would you love to collaborate with?
Debby Holiday is a muse of mine. She’s so creative and talented, and we just vibe. She’s the best. So that’s always a great time! I would LOVE to work with Becky Hill. Everything she does is just perfection. The texture of her voice just cuts. And VINCINT. His album “There Will Be Tears” was THE Album of 2021. It should have won all the Grammys. To see a Queer artist produce a work of art like that, was just so inspiring.
As far as Producers, I’m working with some of my faves right now!!! I just did a remix for DJ Blacklow, Stephen Jusko & Brian Kent on a remake of “Believe It Or Not” from the Greatest American Hero. Also just did a remix of “Cafe Con Alegria” with my friend Erik Vilar, for the legend, Tony Moran’s upcoming greatest hits album. And some of the remixers for “My Heart Is Refusing Me” include Dan Slater, Dani Brasil, Mauro Mozart, Erick Ibiza, Jace M & Toy Armada, and DJ Blacklow & Stephen Jusko, just to name a few. I’m a lucky man to work with so many talented people!
“Believe it or not I am walking on air…” LOVE that song. Besides music what else do you do outside of that to stay on balance?
Balance? What’s that? Kidding. I try to stay physically active as much as possible. Now that the NYC weather is heating up, I love running along the Hudson River. There’s just something so magical and quintessentially New York about running by the water and looking up at the skyline. And movies. I love going to the movies and stuffing my face with popcorn
Sounds pretty balanced! What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Know your value & worth. Treat others the way you expect to be treated, and when people don’t value you or your time, be willing to walk away.
Finally, what do you love most about the scene?
Our scene is at its best when it’s about community. Music is meant to bring people together, to help express a common bond and a shared experience of what it means to be Queer. We can all come from different places and backgrounds, but music can bring us together. It can help us express our joy, our pain, and our love for one another. When we are at our best, we are welcoming each other into our lives, and we’re all connected through a shared musical experience together. That’s what dance music is all about!
Well said! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, see you on the dance floor. And as an added bonus to Instinct readers here is a link to Brett’s Soundcloud, click here.