Ansel Elgort Is A World-Famous DJ — You Just Don't Know it Yet

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 1.11.41 PMPhoto: BEImages/Jim Smeal.
Ansel Elgort is having fun. Fresh off the monster success of this summer's weep-fest The Faul In Our Stars, the 20-year-old native New Yorker is enjoying life as a newly-minted movie star. As reporters milled about his Toronto hotel room — where he was perched, ready to promote his role as a jock-with-a-heart in Jason Reitman's anti-tech parable Men, Women & Children — Elgort seems oddly at ease. And, why wouldn't he be? As a graduate of the star-making factory LaGuardia High School in New York City, Elgort was born to be in the spotlight. As his acting career continues to skyrocket, Elgort is about to blow up in a different way — one that you might not expect. Let's just say it involves turntables, laptops, and really sick beats.
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We caught up with the actor in Toronto last month, to chat about his newfound fame, the magic of selfies, and why DJ Ansolo will be coming to a club near you. Just leave the Molly at home .
You grew up in a smart phone world.
I just missed it. I'm 20, and I got my first smart phone when I was 15, a sophomore in high school.
So you remember a world pre-text message, pre-social media?
I had text in middle school, but it was on a phone where you had to press the same button 10 times just to get to the letter you wanted, so I never did it.
Do you ever find yourself wanting to detach from technology?
I’m actually about to do that. And, I think that feeling will never go away. No matter how much technology continues to run our lives, people will always feel the need to take a break from it.
How long do you plan on disconnecting for?
Probably four or five days. I’ll just turn everything off and lock myself in my house.
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That’s going to be really hard.
It will be, but I’ll be with a friend. Our obsession with technology is directly related to our need to connect, so if you’re with someone it becomes easier.
Do your parents monitor your online activities?
My parents are too old to know how to monitor me. My mom’s on Facebook, but she has no clue how to use anything.
Are you a selfie guy? Do you ever find yourself in the bathroom mirror posing?
Not too often, but I have to take selfies with fans everyday. A lot of selfies. I actually prefer selfies to normal pictures because they’re faster.
Have you gotten used to the whole movie star thing yet?
No way have I gotten used to it. It’s great when I can go a day without getting recognized.
Does that ever happen?
Yeah, because I won’t leave the house.
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Take me through what happens when you do leave the house?
Well, I live in Brooklyn, so everyone there is too cool to say something, or they just don’t care.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 1.13.49 PMPhoto: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
What happens when you go into Manhattan?
Thank god the paparazzi leave me alone — because I’m just not famous enough for them to care who I am — but every young person knows who I am and approaches me. Once one person stops me, then I get swarmed, and I’m screwed.
Is your increasing loss of privacy something that concerns you?
Well, I’m already pretty damn famous, so people already want to know who I’m dating. But, the great thing about social media is that I’m my biggest news outlet, and I just won’t post about that. I think that celebrities who are against social media are misunderstanding the benefits of having it. If I never post about who I’m dating, then people will think that I’m not dating anyone. My fans think I post about everything, and I make it seem like I do, but I don’t.
Your DJ career is taking off. Are you excited?
I’ve only played about six or seven gigs, but I’ve been producing music for years.
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How did you get into it?
I was writing music on the piano and singing, and then I heard house music. I realized that what you can do in terms of composing music on your computer is incredible. I can do anything from make house music to hip hop — I can score movies, I can make anything — whereas with piano and singing, I’m very limited. Music always evolves with the world, and I want to be part of the frontier of the new music. I’ve been producing music just as long as I’ve been acting. It just hasn’t blown up yet.
Do you see yourself as more of a DJ than an actor?
I don’t think that just because one has blown up bigger then the other that I'm more of one thing. They're both just as important to me.
Does the genre's close association with drugs make you uncomfortable?
I think music is always associated with drugs; at Woodstock everyone was getting high. Young people will always be doing drugs to music. But, people who are really into a specific genre of music, don’t need to do drugs. None of my producer friends do drugs. I’ve never done Molly at a concert, and I've been to so many. People who say they need Molly to listen to that, I say don’t come. If you don’t like the music, just do Molly in your bedroom.
Men, Women & Children hits theaters today.
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