In This Exclusive Playlist, DJ Joey Santos Wanted To Capture The Mood Of The Year In Music

It doesn't have to be a party for one, we got you covered.

How do you measure a year in music? In this Spotify mix, DJ Joey Santos attempts to define it and make us dance in the process.


If you have been to a set or a party soundtracked by DJ Joey Santos, you know it’s going to be one hell of a good time. Scratch that, great. Whether it’s been the momentary thing of the past like massive clubs or dive bars, and most recently, highly engaged and well attended Zoom parties, the general feeling throughout is euphoria that leads to exhaustion—and we mean that as a compliment of the highest order. Whether it be a rip and roar of nostalgic tracks, the freshest drops, and the requisite appearance of Carly Rae Jepsen, one is not just expected, but compelled to bust out their neck-breaking dance moves and sing out loud as if their lives depended on it. It is this high-octane energy that is what makes DJ Joey Santos a crowd pleaser and major draw. Plus, if you happen to elbow your way near the booth, he will most likely ask you what you want to hear next.

With sweat-drenched bodies dancing it out under the glimmer of the disco ball, it is always a musical journey with DJ Joey Santos, in the sense that his sets are a mind-blowing and well-thought-of mix of what’s current, what’s classic, and what’s charming. It is to no surprise to hear a Sarah Geronimo song or Donnalyn Bartolome insert at a moment’s notice. In his own words, he plays expressive pop music. “It can be anything from rock, hip-hop, dance, R&B, house, electro…anything that has an effect on one’s mood and is catchy.”

Whatever the intent of your expression may be, the goal of DJ Joey Santos, who also functions as a producer, remixer, and composer, is simple: to make you feel. This is perhaps why he was the perfect orchestrator of music to turn to for the introduction playlist we had wanted for our NYLON Manila Spotify account. With music coursing through the veins of the brand, it was necessary to incorporate this much music, especially from someone who not only gets you, but makes you want to just dance and let all those inhibition go—even if it is just for our virtual parties.

But this is all just a warm-up, because one day, we are certain that we will get to dance again—as in scream your lungs out, whip your hair, and throw your bodies around—just like we used to.

NYLON MANILA (NM): Do you feel like there’s a different or shift in the music the kids like to listen to or dance to compared to other generations?

DJ JOEY SANTOS (JS): Yes. Art is a reaction to the world. The world is always changing. If music today sounded like the music I grew up with, I’d be very worried.

NM: In your quarantine parties online, what is that you make sure everyone gets out? What are the songs that is sure to get people to stand up and dance?

JS: It depends on who I am playing for. If it’s for the creative / Today x Future crowd, it’s a mix of TxF classics and newer stuff that was released during quarantine (e.g. Chromatica, Róisín Murphy). If it’s for a more general audience with more varied tastes, it’s a blend of K-Pop, hip-hop and some 2010s anthems. It really depends, but I always make a point to play Carly Rae Jepsen, hahaha!

NM: With the mix you made, how do you see NYLON Manila? What’s the energy that you wanted to capture?

What I’ve been thinking about lately is if there’s still such a thing as a definite “youth music culture” when you’ve got all the world’s music available on demand. New music used to be the purview of teenagers—now you can tap into that regardless of age, identity, or politics, wherever you are in the world. What I wanted to present in the mixtape is a collection of songs that best captures the 2020 zeitgeist.

NM: What’s your favorite new musical release? And what do you feel is the music that people like to listen and look for in the pandemic chapter of our lives? 

JS: My favorite new release is beabadoobee’s Fake It Flowers.

People look for something familiar when faced with the unknown, so I’d say that people are yearning for music that they can relate with more than ever. But this doesn’t mean that music is going to go backwards—the biggest misconoception about music is that it’s linear.