DJs Gino and Gio Visitacion turn sibling revelry to a higher tempo
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
KNOWN for their rapturous styles in turning up a celebration, DJs Gino and Gio Visitacion are the new generation music authorities whose names reverberate in clubbing scenes and festivals all over the country. Aside from maintaining resident DJs status in Den, the brother duo have also made it behind turntables in exclusive clubs in Manila and Davao, and in festivals and street parties nationwide.
And for this — Gino, the older of the two, said — their music-loving household is partly to blame. Their dad used to play music every morning at home and during they heyday of cassette tapes was an avid collector, a habit Gino later adapted but this time with CDs, whereas Gio, with mp3s for his iPod.
“In high school, I would save money to buy CDs and that was what I would ask for on my birthdays,” said Gino. “My love for music and being a partygoer inspired me to become a DJ. I would see DJs play music they love and the crowd enjoying it — it’s like they control their energy, putting them on a journey to being happy.”
A sound move
Gino started his own journey of sound shortly after he passed the nursing board exam — his first mixer a congratulatory gift from his parents. Before that, he burned songs to a CD and visited a friend whose family owns a sound system rental company. “My first mixer was small and simple, but that jumpstarted things for me because it gave me something to practice every day,” he said.
Gino started playing for private events around Cebu, and landed his first residency status in the old Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort & Spa. His first major gig as headliner was for the party series, Unite, in Loft in 2012.
Gio then followed suit and entered the scene in 2013. He used to help out Gino in downloading and collecting songs, even tagging along to some of his gigs. But contrary to what one would expect, Gio started from scratch — this was part of a deal he and his brother made when he decided to get on board. “I needed to learn the basics first before he teaches me,” Gio said.
Taking cue from how he himself learned the ropes, Gino stressed how important self-teaching is in becoming a DJ. “If I teach him the technical side, the tendency is he would have the same style as me. But by learning on his own, he gets to define his style, which is totally different from mine.”
“For two years, I was opening (Gino’s) parties and it helped me a lot,” Gio said. “Being an opening DJ is tough because it’s our responsibility to warm up the crowd and start the hype, and conserve their energy for the peak of the party. It was a good opportunity to partner with my brother.”
Gino and Gio have performed in events like LifeDance, HyperCebu, Summer Sunscream, Univercity, Spectrum’s Invasion series, as well as in exclusive Manila clubs such as Prive, Imperial Ice Bar and 71 Gramercy. The two also opened for international act Chainsmokers for their Selfie Tour last June.
“The goal is to always to get connected with the people, know their vibe, their mood — crowd-reading,” Gio said, “because for sure they’ll end the night with a great time and then they’ll talk about it with their friends after.”
Gino and Gio make their own remixes, which they describe as a combination of personal style and crowd preference. “We play what they like,” Gino said.
Outside the party scene, by day Gio, only 18, is in his last year of studies, taking up mass communication, and maintaining a spot in the honor roll to boot. Recently he has also been working on original compositions with singer-songwriter Piero Vergara.
“My week is pretty much divided into books and music. I make sure to have my homework done and then I do studio work. On weekends I have my gigs since our mom doesn’t allow me to accept bookings on weekdays,” said Gio.
Gino, meanwhile, is the marketing head for Den. “As early as 8 a.m. on a Monday I arrange everything for the week: the DJ line-up, collaterals and events. I also update my play lists. But it has never come to a point that it feels like a job, because at the end of the day, it’s something I love to do.”
He also has plenty of out-of-town gigs up his sleeve, yet he said nothing beats playing at home. “I still get nervous, but the comfort is different, especially when I see the people who have been with me since the start,” he said. His most memorable gig in fact was the Sinulog Invasion held earlier this year.
As for Gio, his unforgettable moment was during the massive Kadaugan sa Mactan street party in Lapu-Lapu City last April.
“It was my first time to play for our hometown,” he said. “Our childhood friends were there, our old classmates and teachers. Everyone was celebrating and there were fireworks—that was definitely one for the books.”
Photography: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome | Locale: Den
Assistants: Marymil Cabrera and Bernadette Abangan, USJ-R Mass Comm Interns