After countless days in the hot Arizona sun playing indie league baseball, Ben Dorman was ready for a change.
“I had played baseball my whole life,” says Dorman, who pitched for Paradise Valley Community College and the Arizona Centennials. “I didn’t like the 10-hour days in 120 degrees. Then, I was working as a promoter and I thought I would give this a shot. In November 2015, I had an opportunity where I was able to quit my day job and do music full time.”
DJ Bijou was born. Managed by Relentless Beats, the Tempe native is to play Phoenix Lights in Phoenix and Wet Electric at Big Surf this month.
“I never thought this would happen, to be honest with you,” he says.
Calling from the middle of a U.S. tour, Dorman has brought his G-House sound to the upper echelon of festivals, including Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), Coachella and Holy Ship.
“G-House stands for ‘ghetto house,’ which is a mesh of house music and hip-hop vocals,” Dorman says. “It’s still coming around in the U.S., but it’s hot right now. It’s a sound that I brought to Arizona in 2013 that people weren’t familiar with. I bring a variation of commercial and underground music.”
Music is in Dorman’s genes, as his father was a school teacher who managed bands and hip-hop artists in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“He brought me up with sports and everything,” says Dorman, who counts British DJ, house and techno producer Carl Cox among his idols. “I grew up on reggae, a lot of older rock, like AC/DC, Metallica and that kind of stuff.
“It’s funny, though. The day I was going to quit baseball, I was scared to tell my dad. He was immediately supportive, though—he and my mom, both. I played a show recently at Shady Park and they came out for that.”
The support is wide reaching, not only for him but other electronic music artists, he says. Dorman has released songs on Night Bass, Fool’s Gold and Prep School Recordings, and collaborated with Dr. Fresch on the track “Hello,” which received the support of AC Slater, Destructo, Don Diablo, Drezo, Malaa, Party Favor and Wax Motif.
“The electronic music scene is so strong right now,” he says. “We keep pushing music out and working, working, working.”
Now is the perfect time for Dorman and his alter ego Bijou, who helped create a movement online known as #Hustlelife. He hopes to start his own label, and tour Australia and South America.
“Dr. Fresch, Malaa, Wax Motif and Destructo, they’re all pushing the boundaries of the sound and taking it worldwide,” he says. “DJs are the rock stars of the modern day. The music has been commercialized with all of the festivals. The kids need it. It’s hard to gauge what made that happen. It’s been around forever; it’s just always been underground. The U.S. is a big part to play in that.”
Phoenix Lights, Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. Third Street, Phoenix, phoenixlightsfest.com, noon Saturday, April 8, and Sunday, April 9, tickets start at $159. Dr. Fresch vs. Bijou perform on Saturday.
Wet Electric, Big Surf, 1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe, relentlessbeats.com, 11 a.m. Saturday, April 29, tickets start at $15.