Justin Blau—aka 3LAU, the headlining DJ at Drai’s—has created the ultimate live/work situation for his new residency.
Justin Blau veered off the path to a high-powered business career to create the music that powers Vegas’s most successful nightclubs.
With rousing songs like his smash “How You Love Me,” Justin “3LAU” Blau is a globe-trotting DJ superstar. But he’s also very much a grounded Vegas local, close to his family and as comfortable hanging out in neighborhood restaurants as he is in glamorous hotels. And he lives off-Strip, in a sprawling, stylish two-bedroom Queensridge Place condo he recently purchased.
“Since I’m home only half of every month, realistically, it’s really great to come home to what feels like a full-service resort,” says 3LAU, who is still decorating the 2,000-plus-square-foot apartment. He also digs the views, with the Strip on one side and Red Rock on the other. But it’s the apartment’s fully equipped sound studio, which he soundproofed with Sheetrock and an inch of fiberglass wrapped in red cloth, that’s the true centerpiece, even though there’s no view of the outside world. “With the exception of a glass window pane built into the studio door,” he says.
Which is fine, because he doesn’t need distractions when he’s recording with pals like Gordon Huntley of Botnek.
When 3LAU is in town and not making music or headlining shows at Drai’s (where he has unveiled his elaborately produced “3LAU HAUS Party” residency) or SLS Las Vegas, he eats at destinations like SLS’s Cleo and Cosmopolitan’s Blue Ribbon Sushi. He’s also a fan of Honey Salt and Made LV, two off-Strip spots from restaurant mogul Elizabeth Blau (no relation).
It wasn’t so long ago, on the night before his 21st birthday, that Blau celebrated by deejaying at Cosmopolitan’s sleek but low-key lounge Bond. Six months later, he began headlining gigs at the Cosmopolitan megavenue Marquee. Now 23, he’s an ace of clubs.
This local kid-turned-legend’s ascent seems even more remarkable when you realize he didn’t discover electronic dance music until he vacationed in Sweden in 2011. He quickly started creating his own tracks and was so good that his professors at St. Louis’s Washington University urged him to leave school and deejay full-time.
Doing so was a calculated move by a shrewd numbers wizard who had been on a clear path to a successful business career. During high school at Summerlin’s highly regarded Meadows School, he started a microfinance project that loaned money to entrepreneurs in developing countries. “I was really focused on my schoolwork,” 3LAU says. “My goal in high school was to work really hard until I was 30 and married.”
For 3LAU, who geeked out on bands like Radiohead and Sigur Rós in high school and who grew up playing piano and guitar, music had long been a solitary pursuit. But by the time he was creating dance music, Vegas was becoming the world’s top destination for DJs. So he turned down his “dream internship” at the asset-management giant BlackRock to focus on music.
“Probably the biggest motivation for my career was living in Vegas, being so close to what was going on, understanding the potential, and seeing the scene before it hit the rest of the world,” 3LAU says. “My goal is taking the epicness of my favorite indie bands and using that emotion in dance music.”
His parents were leery of his career choice when he left college. Now, after seeing him slay crowds at Drai’s and Electric Daisy Carnival Vegas, they get it.