Dallas Observer Mixtape With Anthony Harwood: Telex, Sylvester & More
Anthony Harwood is a vet hailing from the legendary '80s Chicago dance scene.
Anthony Harwood is a Chicago native who relocated to Dallas more than a decade ago. You can find him playing around town, but only occasionally. Lately he's been busy starting an internet radio station, not just programming the music but actually writing software code, and raising his daughter.
The depth of knowledge he brings to the table for this week's mix should put smiles on the face of a lot of old school dance music fans. It's all classics, mostly referencing the period of proto-house music that led up to the dawn of house music. Jamie Principle, Telex, Phuture, Sylvester, Reese & Santonio — and the list goes on. Open those ears and soak in some summer Chicago vibes.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been DJing?
Harwood: Growing up in Chicago I started listening to "hot mixes" on radio station WBMX sometime in 1982. I was 16, and the music was a mixture of high-energy disco, Italo and early electro. Instantly I became a fan of the hot mixes and I began recording the mixes on my jam box. It had cassette decks and I used them to edit the recordings. I’d shorten some tracks and extend others. Over time I became proficient enough that my edits were undetectable. And soon after that I became a regular supplier of custom mixtapes for family, friends and some of the local breakdance crews.
How did your equipment progress?
In '83 I got my hands on an old 4-track reel-to-reel tape deck. I stopped recording the radio mixes and started buying 12-inch dance records. With the addition of vinyl, over-dubbing and a razor blade, my mixes started sounding pro. In ’84 I got my first DJ gig, mixing at a teenage dance club. The first house records had just been released and I was lucky enough to be mixing at the right place at the right time. It was an experience.
Does anything particular stand out about DJing in those days?
I remember not being allowed to play certain records (mostly Farley tracks) on occasion because there were doubts if the club security could keep things under control.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I made this mix with Ableton Live. I chose these tracks because they are classic and it’s not very often that I have such a good opportunity to share them.
What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?
This summer I’ll be launching the “Lone Star Techno Podcast,” which will be a syndicated podcast featuring techno music mixed by DFW-area DJs. The participation of local DJs has been great. Many have already contributed mixes for the podcast.
What DJs have had a profound impact on you?
I suppose Mickey “Mixin” Oliver, a founding member of Chicago’s Hot Mix 5, has had the biggest impact on me. He has always played such a wide variety of music styles, and he did a lot of tape editing back in the day. He’s both a pioneer and a living legend.
How did you get into production?
I’ve been a computer programmer for a little more than 30 years. I started producing music with the early tracker programs available for Commodore and Atari computers. Music production has been a part of my life ever since.
What do you use for production?
Propellerhead Reason is probably my favorite software because it has virtually limitless creative possibility. But I use Albeton Live more than anything else because its live performance capability is unmatched.
Do you have a preference between DJing and production?
I prefer Live PA most of all because it combines the best of both worlds. But due to some recent changes in my life (notably my two-year-old baby girl), I’ve not had much opportunity to get out and play. And I suppose that, more than anything, provides me motivation for my current project, Deep Space Techno Radio.
What is Deep Space Techno Radio?
DST Radio is a project that I started almost a year ago. It’s an online radio station that features mostly new techno and tech-house music, weekly podcasts from some well-known DJs and some live mix shows. I love operating a 24/7 radio station because it provides me a way to reach an audience whenever inspiration comes to me.
Where do you like to dig for tracks? Any specific websites or stores?
My first choice for music is local artists. Online, I’m getting a lot of music from ektoplazm.com. There are so many good tracks there.
What gigs do you have coming up?
This summer I plan to spend a lot of time working on the radio station. I recently finished developing a custom radio player (DST Radio) for iOS and now I'm considering developing a version for Android.
1. Jamie Principle - Waiting On My Angel
2. Telex - Raised By Snakes
3. Plastic Mode - Baja Imperial
4. Reese & Santonio - Bounce Your Body To The Box
5. Model 500 - No UFO’s
6. Hugh Bullen - Alisand
7. Newcleus - Computer Age
8. Liz Torres - Can’t Get Enough
9. Expose - Dub Of No Return
10. Portion Control - The Great Divide
11. Quest - Mind Games
12. E.S.P. - It’s You
13. Pineapples - Come On Closer
14. Dharma - Plastic Doll
15. Hex Complexx - I Want You
16. John Rocca - Move
17. Mario Reyes - Whatever Turns You On
18. Phuture - We Are Phuture
19. Tyree - I Fear The Night
20. Denise Motto - IMNXTC
21. Rickster - Night Moves
22. Lime - I Don’t Want To Lose You
23. Vicious Pink - Cccan’t You See
24. Mark Imperial - J’adore Danser
25. Sylvester - Rock The Box
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