He is Mark Ridlen by day, but Deejay Mr Rid by night. There are few musicians in Dallas that have earned veteran status, but Ridlen earned the distinction as a member of seminal art and psyche bands in the '80s and '90s. One of the original DJs at the legendary Starck Club, Ridlen has a record collection that takes up three rooms in his house. For this week's mixtape, he offers a tribute to the Moog synthesizer.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying?
Mark Ridlen: Playing my babysitters' records for them and the friends they would invite over to my family's house for illicit dance parties on our patio. Then 20 years later being asked to spin at the Starck Club.
What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?
Unfortunately, over the last several years somewhat limited due to my own conflicting DJ work schedule. There's so much out there now that I want to experience, but end up missing. So I end up mostly listening to their mixes online.
How was this mix made and was there a concept behind it?
About a month ago I had a section of my homemade record shelves collapse. As I was picking up the spilled wax I realized how many dozens of Moog records I'd collected over the years from the '60s and '70s — everything from atonal experimentations to astrological records to Buck Owens songs all played on synthesizers. So I set out to attempt to make a somewhat cohesive mix blending those elements. I ended up with three different versions – one more angular and noisy, one more wacky and childlike, and this one that's somewhat down the middle but with a large dose of funk and some current and local artists who used classic-sounding synths.
Where do you like to dig or research for tracks?
Almost all of these I found many years ago at thrift stores and/or now defunct places like Collector's Records.
How big is your collection?
Lots of books and videos. As far as music, many thousands of discs and tapes. Three rooms' worth. I have no exact idea. I've always liked collecting, sharing and playing a wide variety of sounds – all eras of rock, pop, soul, dance, world, soundtracks, novelty, children's, spoken word, classical, jazz, experimental and the truly unclassifiable have a place in my head. And a variety of turntables and playback units including a wax cylinder dictaphone.
What recent releases have caught your ear?
I've never been more excited by local artists than now! Really too numerous to mention but I quite fancy Street Sects, anything on the Pour Le Corps, Texas Select or Central Processing labels.
You are known for being all over the map genre-wise. Is there any particular genre or concept that you would like to play more of?
I go though phases where I just want to hear instrumental music; no voices forming "words." I'm rediscovering a lot of film soundtracks and library music. I don't know why there's not a resurgence in top 40 instrumentals like Telstar, Popcorn or Outa Space. Thus, this mix here which has very little vocals on it.
What has been the most profound music experience you have had in the past year?
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If I had to pick one so far it would probably be experiencing Tony Visconti's surviving Spiders performance in April. I was so leveled by [David] Bowie's death that I picked up a camera and created a tribute video to him using a mashed-up medley of his tunes that my band Lithium X-mas recorded for the Only Bowie compilation CD many years ago. The final result is called Rebel Skeletal and it's premiering at the Dallas VideoFest on Oct. 22.
What gigs do you have coming in the near future?
I'm currently spinning Mondays at the Armoury D.E. and looking for a new home for my long-running Vinyl Tap nights. Lithium X-Mas is finally recording some new material for the Fruits de Mer label.
1. Signs Of The Zodiac - I Know You Virgo
2. MC 900 Ft. Jesus - Ed's Thing
3. Ataraxia - The Unexplained
4. Bruce Haack - Blow Job
5. Mark Stewart - Secret Outro
6. Ananda Shankar - Jumping Jack Flash -
7. Dauerfisch - Es Lauft
8. The Simonsound - Baker's Dozen/ It's Just Begun
9. Delia Derbyshire & Anthony Newley - I Decode You
10. Jean-Jacques Perry - E.V.A.
11. Manta - Skyclad And Summer Moon
12. Mr. Rid - Third Uncle
13. Homer Henderson - Homer's Acid
14. Jackofficers - Flush
15. IBM 7090 - On A Bicycle Built For Two
16. The Peppers - Pepper Box
17. Voice Of Authority - Fuh Fuh
18. Brutal Juice - Paid Programming
19. Tom Behrens - High Frequency Hangover