Orlando DJ Brian Dawe on local bars, playing around town and dating Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham
Local DJ Brian Dawe, who just spun at our Zombie Ball at Firestone Live on Wednesday night, is kinda famous. He was one of the DJs who starred in this year’s VH-1 Master of the Mix reality show/DJ competition. And this week, he’s become even more kinda-famous as the new boyfriend of another reality TV star – Teen Mom‘s Farrah Abraham.
The gossip rags online are all atwitter about the relationship, posting that Abraham has decided to “go public” about her relationship with Dawe, and publishing pics of the pair kissing in Lake Eola park. Which, whatever, people love looking at famous people making out in public. Here ya go:
Someone even started a Facebook page so you can keep up with the relationship.
But there’s been a decidedly ugly tone to some of the coverage, probably because Abraham released a porn movie through Vivid, and now everybody’s dishing the dirt on her – and trying to dig up some dirt on Dawe. And so far, they’re not finding much to reveal. Wetpaint.com posted a “Who Is Brian Dawe? 5 Things You Need to Know” story on its site on Tuesday, in which they reveal that he’s a cancer survivor and a couple of other random tidbits. But obviously nobody’s that two dimensional. So we asked Dawe, who still lives in Orlando, to tell us a little more about himself.
What’s your favorite Orlando bar?
I really like the Courtesy Bar that opened up downtown. I’d say that’s my favorite local spot right now. It’s smaller and really cozy and different than a lot of clubs I spend my time in. I’m a big fan of that place right now. A good escape from my usual clubs.
Do you still have any local DJ residencies in Orlando?
I do Fridays at Vain, but it’s more like monthly now. I’m out traveling a lot now, so I’m only at Vain once a month. But over the last 10 years, I’ve played every room in town at one point or another. I still love Orlando, it’s still my hometown.
You used to DJ at the infamously rowdy and now-defunct Fubar over by the University of Central Florida campus. That must have been insane.
I definitely spent a lot of time DJing the college bars, and I definitely saw many crazy things, and I experienced a lot of crazy things … so many crazy nights over there. But I’m a little too old to do the college scene anymore. [Ed. note: Dawe is 31 ... not that old!].
Do you have any crazy stories from when you did the college-bar scene?
Well, on multiple nights I’d walk into the bathroom and people would be having sex. And there’s always that one person that can’t handle themselves and ends up throwing up in the trashcan by the DJ booth. But the worst experience I ever had DJing in a college bar was when I played a place that used to be in the same location as Fubar was, it used to be called Liquid Cellar. I was playing a free pitcher night or something, and some girl walked up with a full pitcher to request a song, and she spilled her entire pitcher into my mixer. It’s Friday night at a packed spot, and the music just … stops. The music just cuts off. That was a memory.
You spent a lot of time doing nights over by UCF – were you a student there?
I never went to UCF. I spent about two months at Valencia Community College, then I started doing more of the DJ stuff. I took a quote-unquote “break” and intended to go back but I never did. Maybe someday I’ll go to UCF, though I might be getting too old! But I always felt like I was part of the UCF community because I was always very active over there, and I did a lot of campus events. I was the official DJ for the Sigma Chi fraternity. I did all their parties, I played many a tailgate. I think most people thought I was a student, but I actually wasn’t.
What’s life been like since Master of the Mix?
I’ve been traveling pretty consistently since the show aired. I’ve been all over the country. I’ve played very major city from coast to coast, I’m going to Boston tomorrow, then I’m going to LA. I was in Houston, Texas last weekend and Montgomery, Ala. The weekend before Indianapolis and Philadelphia. It’s been an awesome experience and kind of crazy because I spent so much time playing in Orlando so it was definitely a big change. It took a while to get used to.
And you still made time to play at our party!
I was excited, I was happy to do it. I love the Orlando Weekly. I’ve read it for many years. I think in 2008, I was in the Best of Orlando. I came in second for Best DJ. I had a big rivalry with DJ Pauly Crush back then. He came in first. We’re good friends now, though.
What was the rivalry about?
He had a big night at Firestone called Saturday Thursday, and I was a big fan and supporter. Then Pauly had a big falling out with the owner of Firestone. And there was a legal battle over the name, and I was asked to replace him. So basically, Paul was fired, and they asked me to step in an DJ for the night, which created some tension at the time between us and our fanbases. Mine was more college, his was more the hipster kids. It was a big local thing, people were taking sides. Looking back now, it was kind of funny. Now we’re both older, and he’s very successful up in New York with his many business ventures. I have a lot of respect for him and what he did in the world of DJing here in Orlando. He’s really a pioneer in terms of bringing dance music back to Orlando. For a while, in all the clubs it was all hip-hop and before that, it was all breakbeats. He set the tone with Saturday Thursday and then Crush. Now you walk in, and it’s all dance music in almost every club in Orlando.
So you’re in the news right not because of your relationship with Farrah Abraham. What is the story there?
Well, you know, it’s something I never expected to be brought into. Me and her were dating quietly for a few months. I wasn’t really expecting for it to come out. I mean, I didn’t know when it would come out, or if it would, so it kind of caught me by surprise. But I knew it was a big ordeal when people started calling my mom’s house asking about it.
Some of the coverage hasn’t been very nice to her. I’ve read some pretty terrible things.
I think a lot of people give her a bad rap. She might not have the best reputation in the media right now, but I think she’s improved herself a lot, and she’s fixed a lot of the past mistakes she made. She’s young, she’s made some mistakes, just like everybody.
I can’t help but wonder why, in the whole discussion about her, nobody ever points out the fact that she was basically exploited by MTV. MTV puts these teenagers in these difficult situations and their entire lives on television.
Even though I’ve been on reality TV before, I think the culture of reality television, especially with younger people, is very damaging. The fact that MTV and Viacom exploit 16-year-old girls – it’s clear they don’t care about the long term or the mental health of these people, and it’s a travesty that they are willing to sacrifice integrity for entertainment. These young people, they get thrust out into the limelight, and that’s something that they have to deal with for the rest of their lives. You look at a lot of young people put into the spotlight at a very young age, from Miley Cyrus to Britney Spears to even Justin Bieber, and they act out and they have to deal with this. There’s just this culture of exploiting young people. And it needs to change.
One more thing I wanted to ask you about: Your cancer story. You were diagnosed with testicular cancer and you survived.
Yes, I went through that, and I was seen by a doctor at Florida Hospital, Dr. Lee Zehngebot. I’m grateful to him and to all the staff at Florida Hospital. He’s an amazing doctor, and he turned into almost a role model for me. He was such a caring person, and he made a big impact on my life.
And you talk openly about your battle with cancer. Do you do any work with cancer organizations or charities or anything?
Yeah: I’m the spokesperson for the Sean Kimmerling Testicular Cancer foundation. There was a news reporter up in New York, he was a very young guy who passed away about 10 years ago from testicular cancer, and they established a fund in his name. A lot of guys are embarrassed to talk about it, but that organization has been really outspoken about prevention, about just checking yourself for it and not being embarrassed and that early diagnosis can save your life. … it’s kind of a touchy subject for guys, but I’ve been involved in that organization to speak out and let people know that it’s not something they should be ashamed of. When I was on Master of the Mix show, I was very clear that I wanted people to know that I didn’t just have cancer – I had testicular cancer.
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