Dallas Observer Mixtape: Special 100th Edition With Wanz Dover

Who is this curator guy?EXPAND
Who is this curator guy?
Alan Masters

Two years ago I approached the Dallas Observer about reviving a mixtape series for the paper. I saw this as an opportunity to create a historical document of what the Dallas DJ scene looks like from the street level. Not the wedding DJs or the Top 40 club DJs, but the unsung heroes still dragging out the vinyl, playing the after-hours party circuit; the somewhat green promoters and multi-decade vets; the bedroom producers; the independent record label owners; and anyone else that has a part in keeping the gears of the Dallas DJ in motion.

In the time since, I've curated 99 of these mixtapes for the Observer. This week's marks the 100th installment, so to honor the occasion I'm offering a mix of my own. The Q&A, meanwhile, revisits the past offerings of JT Donaldson, Gabriel Mendoza and Cygnus, all three of whom return to share their thoughts on the current state of Dallas DJ culture and what may be in store for the future. 

Tracklist:
1. Giorgio Moroder - Utopia (Todd Terje Edit)
2. Melle Mel - Message II (Survival)
3. Chic - Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah) 
4. Prince - America
5. Hashim - Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)
6. James Brown - There was a Time
7. Gary Gritness - Ridin With Runner Joe
8. Moodymann - Technologystolemyvinyl (Jojoflorestherapy Edit)
9. Torch Song - Prepare to Energize (12-inch Version)
10. David Bowie - China Girl
11. Garrett's crew - Nasty Rock
12. James Brown - Super Bad
13. Kraftwerk - Tour De France
14. Claude Young - Samba
15. Jeff Mills - Outsiders
16. Afro Rican - Rican
17. Moodymann - Desire
18. Underground Resistance - Baghdad Express
19. Dexter - Patternmaster
20. Adult. - Hand to Phone(Carl Craig Remix)
21. 214 - Frostbite
22. Channel One - Technicolor
23. Aril Brikha - Bytes
24. Gosub - The Rain Comes Down (Dcast Dynamics remix)
25. Morphology - Information Paradox
26. Blixaboy - Magmite
27. Anthony Rother - Love is for the Hardest People
28. Magnifique - Magnifique Part 1 &2 (Disco Devil edit)

Dallas Observer: From your perspective, how have you seen the DJ scene progress in recent years?

Mendoza: There are definitely a lot more DJs that are doing different and interesting nights. DJs that want to share and introduce different sounds to an audience. DJs who don’t want to be the human jukebox. I’m starting to see audiences become more and more receptive to that.

Where do you hope to see the scene in the not-too-distant future?

I hope to see more DJs from different scenes working together, playing with DJs outside their style and mixing the crowds as well as the music.

Do you have a favorite mix from the Observer mixtape series? What did you like about that mix?

I really enjoyed DJG’s mix. It’s beautifully organic and futuristic at the same time. I love that it made me feel like I was on a journey to the unknown. He had tracks from 1970 thru 2015 and it all flowed seamlessly. He’s a master storyteller on the turntables and, in my opinion, at least in Dallas, I don’t think anyone does better.

Tracklist:
1. 53 Bus - Horizontal DIY
2. Andrzelj Korzy?ski - The Streaptease (Kung Fu)
3.The Bombay Royale - (Give me back my) Bully Bully
4.Can - Deadly Doris
5.Cristina - Things Fall Apart
6.Earth,Wind, and Fire - Evil
7.Nazia Hassan - Boom Boom
8.Rita Lee and Tutti Frutti - Agora È Moda
9.Mascara - Golden Years
10.David Bowie - Sound and Vision
11.Sam Spence - Water World
12.Lyn Christopher - Take Me With You
13.The Clash - Cool Out
14.Donny Hathaway - Jealous Gu

Dallas Observer: From your perspective, how have you seen the DJ and electronic scene progress in recent years?

Donaldson: From what I've noticed, the DJ scene has been progressing rapidly. The number of DJs is higher than ever before and the technology has now allowed the masses to learn and be hands-on quite easily if the interest is there.

Where do you hope to see the scene in the not-too-distant future?

One of the things I'd really like to see in the future from the Dallas DJ scene is for people employing DJs to have their act together. If you're running a bar that has DJs three or four nights a week, have some decent sound and provide the DJ equipment — a proper DJ booth with a monitor, not one of these 8-foot folding banquet tables. The other is for local DJs themselves to be a bit more creative and think outside the box and to take risks. There's a world of music out there; explore it and add things to your set.

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Do you have a favorite mix from the Observer mixtape series? What did you like about that mix?

I really enjoyed Luke Sardello's mix for DC9. He played some incredible records, rare Italo bits and early roots of house music. He's got a couple records.

Tracklist:
1. Fatima Al Qadiri - Shanghai Highway ?
2. Taylor McFerrin - Invisible/Visible feat. Bobby McFerrin
3. BadBadNotGood - Kaleidoscope
4. BadBadNotGood - Kaleidoscope (Kaytranada Flip)
5. Caribou - Mars
6. Theo Parrish - Footwork
7. Flying Lotus - Never Catch Me feat. Kendrick Lamar
8. Sinkane - New Name
9. Kindness - World Restart feat. Kelela & Ade ?Zackey
10. Force Funk - Press Play 
11. SBTRKT - Gon Stay feat. Sampha 
12. Taylor McFerrin - Stepps
13. D'Angelo - Betray My Heart
14. Quadron - Sea Salt
15. Seven Davis Jr. - Friends

Dallas Observer: From your perspective, how have you seen the DJ and electronic scene progress in recent years?

Cygnus: It's evolved quite a bit. It’s mutated also. More people are going out to see obscure techno and electronic music, I feel. Not just the stuff you’d expect people to show up for, but for more strange and harder sounds and vibes. ... It's all spearheaded by a group of people who obviously have techno in their blood, so that’s good. In at least our scene, it hasn't been co-opted by some rich person for their own use, so that's good.

You're pretty active across genres, as well, including in the underground scene.

There’s less and less of a divide between the music subcultures, too, like noise and metal and electronics and DJing. I mean, you’ve got the more popular places, of course, but the underground movement is always going to be underground. I don't want to say too much about the underground scene and what we do and where we do it, but it’s healthy. It’s alive and getting better with the help of some very dedicated people. 

Do you have a favorite mix from the Observer mixtape series and what did you like about that mix?

My fave mix is definitely Tom Strong’s because obviously I'm obsessed with electro, but I think an important arrow to point is at Pintalabio’s (Brenda Rivers) mix with Andrew Barton (M3SA). She is an upcoming DJ in this city and she’s absolutely fucking killing it. I think I've only seen her play like twice, but her taste in music, her mixes and her attitude are fucking spot-on.


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