AAC Sound Series Mix #33: Joey Llanos

For our 33rd AAC Sound Series Mix, we’re bringing you a brand new mix from New York City born and raised musician and DJ Joey Llanos. Read our short interview and listen to the mix with Joey Llanos below.

Interview with Joey Llanos

Describe what your influences and what musical inspirations you had while making this mix.
The first music artist that influenced me at a young age was my father Julian Llanos, who was a lead singer in a latin band when I was a child. I became interested in percussion and took up rudimental drumming, leading me to marching in the internationally famous Bayonne Bridgemen Drum & Bugle Corps. Later it was bands, Chic Corea, Earth Wind & Fire, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis Micheal Jackson, Selector Larry Levan. None of whom are around now but they taught me to appreciate different vibrations.  This mix was inspired by the positive vibrations I experienced from a woman named Ali Salas.  A warm, genuine person. A Rare Jewel today. Playing music for over 40yrs, there are many vibrations influencing me, that can be expressed through music.

Who are you listening to lately?
Silk Sonic, Stevie Wonder, Pat Methany, Anderson Paak,  Billie Eilish, Eminem.

You used to DJ at Manhattan’s legendary Paradise Garage, can you tell us a bit about that experience?
This was the pinnacle of my music selecting career.  I was one of the supporting DJs for Larry Levan. The sound system was designed and built first by Richard Long.  Then the room was built around it.  It was the envy of every DJ who was lucky enough to have experienced it.  I have not heard of a system to date that has been able to match it!  You were literally transported to another dimension when on the Paradise Garage dance floor.

What do you think about the club scene in New York City in 2022?
The NYC scene is far from what it was years ago.  The venues are bar sale & door ticket driven.  Not very accommodating to the dancers, who are the real life blood of the scene.

Any words of advice for young musicians and DJs today?
Listen to a lot of all types of music!  Connect with your audience on the floor and share your musical experience with them from your heart!


Joey Llanos was born and raised in New York City.  His love of music appeared at an early age when he studied rudimental percussion.  His skills led him to The Bayonne Bridgemen Drum & Bugle Corps winning many national titles on the Drum Corps International competition circuit.  As a teenager, he frequented the Latin nightclub scene in Manhattan and the Bronx.

His introduction to the “underground” club scene came in 1978 when a friend took him to Manhattan’s legendary Paradise Garage.  It was here that Joey came under the influence and tutelage of famed Garage DJ, Larry Levan.  As an accomplished martial artist, Joey joined the staff as head security consultant for The Paradise Garage. The many hours spent at the club allowed Joey to hone his skills as a DJ.   By 1983, Larry Levan was confident enough in Joey’s abilities to let him do what many DJs only dream about – play the Garage’s monster sound system for the first time.  He became one of Larry’s trusted relief DJs at the Paradise Garage, a position Joey held until the close in 1987.

Guest spots at some of New York’s hottest post – Garage (Mars, Lovelite, and Bassline Sound Factory) bistros were next in his musical odyssey.  By late 1988, Joey teamed with fellow DJ, Richard Vasquez to open The Choice.  It was here that his reputation as an innovator was firmly established.  Joey’s blend of Reggae, Rap, world music and other forms web into a musical tapestry that audience’s love.

New York City’s crackdown on clubs forced The Choice to close after two years.  This time allowed Joey to widen his audience on the national and international scene. Body and Soul, Summer Stage Central Park NYC, San Francisco, L.A., Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Tokyo and Saporro Japan, London are just a few of his frequented appearances.

Mr. Llanos is currently doing 7th Heaven a monthly party at The Goodroom in Brooklyn NY.  audio consultant for M*POWER Productions Inc., Head security consultant for Body & Soul NYC and performing to record breaking crowds with David Depino at the famed Paradise Garage Reunion Parties, which are now a much-anticipated annual event to date.

Watch video about Paradise Garage