Salvatore Lodato has been DJing, remixing and producing for years, but in 2016 things began to really hit for the New York-based talent known professionally as LODATO.
With originals like “Older” and “One Way Out” and remixes for hitmakers like Clean Bandit, Vassy and Tiësto, LODATO began to gain traction at radio and in the clubs. By 2019, LODATO had made a name for himself with his single, “Home,” which hit No. 1 on the Mediabase U.S. Dance Radio Chart for three consecutive weeks, No. 1 on BPM’s “Top 20 Countdown” on SiriusXM for four consecutive weeks and No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Mixshow Airplay Chart.
In May 2020, LODATO’s single, “Good,” followed the footsteps of his previous original and also found its way to No. 1 in the U.S. on Dance Radio. His remix of Dua Lipa’s “Break My Heart” was added to rotation on all the major U.S. Dance Radio Stations and hit No. 1 in North America on iHeart’s RT30 Countdown. In late 2020, LODATO signed a record deal with Spinnin’ Records, and his latest single, “Neon Lights,” is well on its way to a similar radio performance.
A frequent guest and contributor at DJ Expo (DJX) in Atlantic City, LODATO will be back at it again in 2021, as he’ll participate in the show’s annual “Remixer/Producer” panel on Aug. 11. We recently connected with Sal Lodato to discuss his latest moves.
LODATO: It was definitely one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever been in – I was locked down in Queens, N.Y. Needless to say, our entire industry took a hit, but I stayed positive, and I spent most of my time making new records. Despite the pandemic, I still accomplished a lifelong dream by getting signed to Spinnin’ Records, getting some great music out and getting a few No. 1 Dance Radio and Billboard records.
DJ Times: The gigs obviously dried up, so it must’ve affected your bottom line a bit.
LODATO: To me, every gig is important… so I guess the answer would be yeah. I was on the road when everything got canceled. I actually just got by on the last flight back to New York before they grounded the planes. I was supposed to play the iHeart Pool Party for Miami Music Week where my song “Home” was nominated for “Dance Song of the Year.” I doubt I would have won, as I was up against some stiff competition. However, since the event was canceled, I’m cool with “Home” forever being in limbo for that award, along with those amazing artists and songs. [laughs].
DJ Times: Did you find any new opportunities during the downtime?
LODATO: Yes, I have something cool going on with Oculus/TribeXR DJ. You can actually DJ in Virtual Reality now on the Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000 decks. It’ll be at DJX in Atlantic City, and you have to try it! You would swear the decks are really in front of you and fully functional. In the downtime, I learned that you just have to keep working, no matter what gets thrown at you. There is always a way to move in a forward direction.
DJ Times: From the pandemic on, you never stopped releasing music, right?
LODATO: I connected with Paris Hilton during the pandemic and put out a record [“I Blame You”] with her – definitely a lot of fun. All the proceeds went to a children’s charity, Breaking Code Silence. Out now is my current release, “Neon Lights.” We shot a really cool music video for it, directed by Evan Larson in Las Vegas. Check it out – you can catch me battling some futuristic robots and trying to seduce a hot cyborg vixen.
DJ Times: Tell us about your new studio.
LODATO: Yes, I actually just built my studio and used GIK Acoustics to treat the whole room. For speakers, I just purchased Focal Shape Twin monitors. My computer is a MacBook with an external monitor. My DAW is Ableton Live. There are so many plug-ins, but I would have to say my go-to is [Xfer Records] Serum.
DJ Times: What’s your creation process in the studio?
LODATO: I’ve always thought about this question, and the creation process changes every day. But the one consistent thing that I do is always bring coffee into my room and start listening to records that I admire.
DJ Times: What’s your typical DJ set-up?
LODATO: Pioneer all day. I use USBs, so it’s Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000s and a DJM-900NXS2 mixer.
DJ Times: What’s the most surprising thing you realized during the period of social distancing?
LODATO: That I’d been doing it already in the studio… before it was called social distancing [laughs].
DJ Times: Have you gotten involved with live-streaming?
LODATO: I did a virtual festival back in March. It was cool, but I realized that it is more pro-active for me to just focus on making some songs.
DJ Times: What did your experience with the pandemic teach you?
LODATO: I think that it’s the harder moments in life that define us. So, if you are an artist and you didn’t quit during the pandemic, you are automatically already on the right track. To stay positive, I always try to do something productive, even if its small. If you have writer’s block, organize your music or clean up your desktop. If you feel like you don’t have motivation today, watch a YouTube video about something you didn’t know how to do.
DJ Times: Any theme tunes that fit the pandemic/lockdown moment?
LODATO: “Prisoner” by Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa… my remix, of course [laughs].
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