Dallas Observer Mixtape with Junk Food: Frank Ocean, Kaytranada & More

Junk Food serving up bass without the fries
Junk Food serving up bass without the fries
Blake Ward

Junk Food has been making the rounds in Dallas with residencies at Candleroom and Nickel and Rye, and his own monthly gathering, Junk Food and Friends. As a DJ he explores an array of genres, but the common denominator is a funky, groovy sound that's heavy on sub-bass. Junk Food is also a producer who mixes original tracks and bootleg remixes into his set, which he shares on his Soundcloud page.

For this week's mixtape, Junk Food turned in a 38-minute mix of bass-heavy party tunes perfect for the upcoming pool season.

Dallas Observer: What drew you into the world of deejaying? How did you get started?
Junk Food: My first exposure to deejaying was Mr. Hahn of Linkin Park. I was 8 years old when Hybrid Theory was released. There was a song on that album called “Cure for the Itch” that really blew my mind. It featured Mr. Hanh, Linkin Park’s DJ, doing this crazy routine where he scratched and used echo/delay effects in interesting ways. From there on I was always interested in DJ culture. Albums from the X-Ecutioners, Z-Trip, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist were in rotation often.

I wanted to learn how to scratch. I loved the idea of controlling the energy of a room with my music selection. After high school I moved from Houston to Dallas, worked an intense summer warehouse job to save money for a controller and practiced every day.

How did you get the name Junk Food?
A few years ago, a good friend of mine had a confrontation with me. He noticed that our taste in music didn’t align as much as it used to. I was starting to engross myself in club music more while he favored non-electronic music. He told me something like, “The stuff you listen to is like junk food, you can have it every now and then but it’s not good for you in the long run.” My exact response was, “Well, I love junk food.” I decided that it was a cool and catchy name, so I decided to make it my new moniker. I felt like Junk Food is really ambiguous as far as style and genre. My name prior to that was Bear Traxx, which I felt was too brostep-esque and didn’t capture my open format nature.

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How was this mix made and was there a theme behind it?
With my HP Envy Laptop, Traktor Pro, my Traktor x1 and Ableton Live to master. The theme is “Spring Vibes:” a soundtrack inspired by a beautiful day. It reflects my good moods brought on by the recent springtime weather and completely represents my sound/style. I’m ready to play some pool and rooftop parties.

What genre or genres are you drawn to most?
Beat music, breakbeats, club music (Jersey, Philly, Baltimore), baile funk, hip-hop, trap and dancehall. Anything with groovy drums and thick sub-bass.

What music do you dig outside of club music?
Shoegaze, lo-fi hip-hop, metal and hardcore.

Do you produce?
I picked up Ableton Live 8 a few years ago in college. I’ve been using it ever since.

What is your favorite plug-in or studio gear?
Izotope Trash is my favorite plug-in for distortion and saturation. Xfer's LFO Tool is another plug-in I love.

Do you have any releases coming down the pipe?
I have an original track I'm submitting to Brenmar's label, High End Times, for a competition. I'm also releasing a remix of "Ping Pong" by Mighty Mark, featuring my homie Rayburger. We're both really hyped on that release.

Where do you like to dig for tracks? Online or in stores?
Soundcloud is my go-to. Bandcamp and Beatport are secondary. I also hit up my producer friends for unreleased tracks; I love owning and playing awesome music people have not yet discovered.

Which new producers have been getting you excited?
Sente has only two tracks uploaded as of now. They are absolute club bangers. Flybear blurs the line between live instruments and DAW production. I’m in love with his ethereal sound. CLB is a college kid from Chicago who has the club scene on smash right now. I’m constantly lurking on his Soundcloud page for new releases and music he reposts.

Other than that, my friends are constantly releasing quality music and they keep me inspired and on my toes. Shout out to Blain, Whereisalex, Dreamchild, The Hi-Yahs, Kuantize, Medasin, Pass The 40, K-Wash and all my homies at the LAB for keeping me sharp.

What has been your most significant music experience of the past year?
Opening for Cashmere Cat as direct support was easily the biggest moment of my career. I’ve been a fan of Cashmere Cat for years and have aspired to share the bill with him. Having that become a reality was surreal.

Which gigs do you have coming up?
Thursday is my monthly party, “Junk Food and Friends” – “#JFAF” for short. My friends and I play out of Honor Roll Entertainment and live stream the event. I encourage them to play an anything goes, Boiler Room type set. So far the support has been awesome and my friends love playing my party. This month I’ll be playing alongside some of my favorite selectors in the underground club scene: Pass The 40, RayBurger, Owl-B and the cumbia king Shooknite.

Friday is another monthly party of mine called “The Come Up.” It’s every last Friday at Candleroom. This is one of my favorite places to spin. For this party I bring in a guest up-and-coming DJ to play their interpretation of a “house party” set. Candleroom was the perfect place to have this party. The low lighting and cozy space is excellent for unwinding and dancing all night. This month’s guest is Yung Wave. I’m hyped to have him out because his sets always blow me away.

Saturday I’m playing my Uptown residency at Nickel and Rye with the incredible turntablist DJ JC. The theme for the night is “Y2K The Millennium Party.” We’ll be playing 2000s-era pop hits all night. These parties are packed every month. It’s going to be a great time, for sure.

Tracklist:
"Finesse (Hey Baby)" by Flamingosis
"Songs 4 Women" by Frank Ocean
"86 Carat Gold" by Teams vs. Star Slinger
"Keep On Loving Me" by Onra
"Mama Jama (Ness Club Edit)" by Daniel Ness
"ALL NIGHT (KAYTRANADA EXTENDED JOINT)" by Chance The Rapper
"The World Ft. West1ne" by Dreamchild
"Moon Models" by Lil Traffic
"House Bump For Joe Kay" by PYRMDPLAZA
"Chicago w/ J.Robb" by wntr
"Not Letting Go (Rusty Hook Live Edit)" by TroyBoi x Tinie Tempah
"Simbo Vs. JLZ (Simbo Flip)" by Simbo
"El Tiburon (Pazmal Edit)" by Proyecto Uno
"Mirame" by LosXL
"Si Me Dices (Random)" by SpydaT.E.K
"Gretchen Wieners" by Junk Food
"Tennies (Junk Food Bootleg)" by Tkay Maidza
"Medusa" by Sente
"Boog" by Baauer
"Touch It" by Keyboard Chris x ROUND2
"Whine & Kotch" by Juelz
"A Digital Love" by whereisalex
"Too Many Years ft. PnB Rock (Baauer Rewind)" by Kodak Black
"zZz"  by DROELOE
"Runnin" by DJ YUNG VAMP


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