This week's DC9er takes you behind the booth with Dallas-based, hip-hop expert DJ A1.
Having been exposed to DJ culture at a young age (back in the day, he used to tag along with his cousin, who was a DJ at the time), A1 entered his first DJ battle at age 16--and he came in second place. Not too shabby, except that he impressed the club owner so much, he was able to snag his first weekly gig.
Since, A1 has accomplished a number of feats: He played SXSW this year; he has weeklies every Tuesday night at Glo Lounge and every Thursday night at Zubar; and you can catch him every last Friday of the month for Top Notch at Zubar with DJ Sober. Oh, and he's a member of Erykah Badu's live beat-making crew, The Cannabinoids.
Influenced by some of the biggest names in hip-hop and pop, A1's personal taste is apparent in his DC9er mix, lush with hip-hop elements and infused with traces of top 40 and indie-electro. Have a listen after the jump.
How long have you been DJing for?
How did you get your start DJing?
My cousin was a DJ back then, and I used to go along when he would go record shopping. And I'd go to all the block/garage parties and help him load his equipment.
What was your first gig like?
I entered a DJ battle when I was 16 at a teen club called Metropolis. First prize was two custom Technics SL1200 Turntables painted and airbrushed by the legendary graffiti artist named Mosquito. I placed second, but the club owner and manager liked my set/music selection way better, so they hired me to DJ every Friday night. The good ol' days! [Laughs.]
Who/what are some of your biggest influences--musical or otherwise?
Definitely James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, J Dilla, DJ Premier, Kanye West, DJ Khalil, and my bandmates in The Cannabinoids (Picnictyme, RC Williams, S1, Jahborn, Rob Free, DJ Big Texas.
Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
I don't really follow any DJs, and if I did It, would be my homies I DJ with on a weekly basis.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
I like everything, but hip-hop is my thing.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
Depends on the venue or what I'm hired for. But I prefer to play whatever I want
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
I pretty much freestyle my set when I'm DJing. I don't prepare any, unless I'm making a mixtape.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
Watch and learn. And have a good time.
What kind of equipment do you use?
1200 turntables, Serato with vinyl and a laptop.
Requests. Love 'em or hate 'em?
Hate 'em! I make 'em pay for a song they wanna here, and who knows if I'll play it. I usually don't hear or pay attention when they come up to me. I always say "Sure!" [Laughs.]
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If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
Playing and touring with my DJ homies around the world
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
What sets me apart from other DJs in DFW? I only know a handful of DJs (friends) in Dallas with a huge record collection--and I have 2 rooms and a closet full of records that I've been collecting since 1986... and it doesn't stop! I feel that's what sets me apart.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2010?
I've been colaborating with a bunch of talented DJ/producers and musicians here in Dallas, working on music and I'm planning on traveling and gigging more. Follow me on Twitter to keep up: @dja1.
DC9er, Vol. 4 Tracklist:
The Knife - Heartbeats ft Kanye West
Amanda Blank - Lemme Get Some ft. Chuck Inglish
Blakroc - Dollaz & Sense ft. Pharoahe Monch & RZA
Reflection Eternal - Just Begun ft. Jay Electronica, J. Cole & Mos Def
DJ Vadim - The Terrorist ft. Motion Man
Radiohead - Videotape
Amplive - Videotapez ft Del The Funky Homosapien
Kidz In The Hall - Jukebox
B.O.B - Nothing On You ft. Bruno Mars