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Navy vet and water polo player Conner Curnick has found his muse in a DJ booth

DJ Conner Curnick is just starting his career mixing house music, playing a set for a virtual dance party this Friday.

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Conner Curnick is already making a name for himself in the DC dance scene and beyond.
Jozsef Daniels

Conner Curnick has been traveling the world attending large-scale dance parties for years. Now the former college water polo player and Navy vet is charting a course that puts him in the DJ booth.

Last summer, Curnick started “messing around” with mixing and producing dance music himself. The passion project has become part of his daily routine, and he’s having a blast with it.

“I’m a creative person and I love creating things, and I love music and I travel around the world to music events,” Curnick said. “And as I talked to DJs, I realized it was something I wanted to do.”

As spring approached, 2020 was going to be a breakout year for Curnick as a DJ. He’d secured gigs spinning parties for the Cherry Fund’s big annual festival, as well as Capital Pride, both in Washington, D.C., where he lives. While those two large-scale events are currently postponed, he’s still hopeful they’ll take place later this year.

While there won’t be a dance floor with a thousand people, Curnick is spinning for the Cherry Fund’s virtual kiki this Friday night, along with DJs Tom Stephan and Steve Sidewalk. The online event will draw thousands from around the world on one big virtual dance floor via Twitch and Zoom.

Now quarantined at home, Curnick has continued mixing and producing. His latest set released on Soundcloud, titled #socialdistancing, exemplifies his style of powerful upbeat house music.

“I’ve spent a lot of the last month producing my own tracks,” he said. “I hop on Facebook and do livestreams.”

Curnick also watches the livestreams of other DJs, which give him a peek into their processes. He’s learned a lot from these unique windows behind the scenes.

He said he pulls inspiration from Israeli DJs Yinon Yahel and Mor Avrahami. The latter recently played Hydrate’s Quarankiki and wowed a largely American audience who wasn’t familiar with him. If he’s going to a dance party, Curnick loves the work of Joe Gauthreaux and Nina Flowers, who he said are particularly adept at matching the energy of a party.

“Every party you go to that they’re DJing, it’s always a fantastic time.”

Yet he says DJ Shane Marcus is his mentor. Marcus calls Curnick his “djbaby”:

Curnick came out publicly four years ago while in the Navy in an article for Outsports.

He isn’t sure where his DJ’ing will take him, but he’s content right now focusing on his local community in D.C. Whatever happens, he just doesn’t want to get to a place where he’s tired working with music.

“My attitude is, I’m just running with it to see where it goes.”

You can catch DJ Conner Curnick spinning this Friday night, May 8, at the Cherry Fund’s Quarantine Kiki, a fun online dance party held on Zoom.

You can follow Curnick on Instagram @cdcurnick, on Facebook @CCurnick, and on Soundcloud @conner-curnick.