Texas Decks

D:Fuse helps put Austin's dance scene on the map

Since 1998, D:Fuse has released five CDs of his mixes and sets. His latest, People_2: Both Sides of the Picture, is a two-disc package that pairs a down-tempo mix ("People Chilling") on one CD with a high-energy mix ("People Clubbing") on the other. "I really love chill music and I really love dance music. I thought it'd be a cool idea that you could go to a record store and buy something and get the best of both worlds. And there was a lot of chill music that wasn't getting signed," he explains.

"That was the idea: Give people this variety of CD. When they're cooking dinner or if they're watching a sunset or whatever, put the chill CD on. If they're heading to the club that night, throw on the peak-hours CD and jam out."

The album sets up his sixth release, slated for next year, by featuring his own mixes, compositions and productions for a good half of the album. D:Fuse also relies on his band background in the studio, using live piano, bass, drums, saxophones and even cello--"whatever comes to mind."

When spinning, he also uses a Roland HPD 15 Handsonic drum machine to play percussion as part of his mixes. "It brings it back to that live show I used to do and interacting with audiences," he says, disputing the notion that the electronic element in today's dance music makes it sterile and cold.

"DJing is all about sharing music," he insists. And what turns him on about the dance scene is "that unified vibe of people where everyone is on the same wavelength." He also wants to see the dance crowd coalesce around two causes that he is passionate about: how he feels that downloading and file-sharing are killing music and the way the "rave law" impinges on freedom and civil liberties.

And the cowboy hat? Normally associated with twangers and shit-kickers, it's "always" atop D:Fuse's head when he spins. "It's like my trademark. I was from Texas and I was traveling outside the state, so I figured, why not?" he explains. "It was kind of like a branding thing. As a DJ, people very rarely get on the mike and say, 'Hey, please welcome D:Fuse.' There's rarely a sign or anything. But if I put on a cowboy hat, everybody's gonna know who's on the decks. Who would wear a cowboy hat while they're spinning?"

Only a Texan...

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