Encouraged by his recent trip to Detroit for the Movement festival, Matthew Urbanic delivers an inspired mix that is heavy on techno. As a DJ, Urbanic is mostly associated with house music, but he recently began exploring new sonic pastures.
Choice cuts from the likes of Fred P, Deadbeat, Function, Mike Dehnert, DJ QU and Truncate are sprinkled throughout a selector's choice track list from the deeper side of techno. It's a perfect after-hours playlist.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying? What drew you into the culture?
Urbanic: I started going to electronic music events in Ohio around 1995, and I was enthralled by the music. I would go up to the DJ booth and just watch what the DJ was doing to figure out how the magic was happening. I started buying records that I liked and eventually got a pair of Technics 1200s to practice on. I remember watching Scott Henry play at one point, and I noticed how he lined up eight-bar phrases when mixing, and it just clicked for me after that.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix was recorded in my home studio on Pioneer XDJ-1000s and a Bozak AR-4 mixer. There's no particular theme, but I attempted to synthesize tech house, minimal and techno in a creative manner. I expect more from a mix than smoothly going from one track to the next; my goal is to layer tracks in a way that makes them richer and funkier.
Which genres are you generally drawn to as a DJ?
Underground house and techno — and everything in between — downtempo, and a touch of drum and bass.
What is your relationship with techno?
My relationship with techno is a newer affair, and it is growing. I was always drawn to techy house music, so it hasn’t been much of a stretch to add techno to my repertoire, whether I’m mixing it with house or playing all techno sets. Also, I have a lot of passionate techno fans in my life, so they have been a big influence on me, often exposing me to new techno artists.
What kind of impact has going to Detroit for Movement Festival had on you as a DJ?
Detroit changed me this year; the experiences I had are still driving me to both refine my track selection/sound and work hard toward taking my deejaying to the next level.
What were your favorite performances? Any surprises from artists you did not already know?
Larry Heard with Chad White, Rrose, Function, DJ Deep, Ataxia, Eddie C, DJ Qu and Young Marco. I was familiar with all these artists beforehand, but I had never seen any perform in person before. Young Marco was the standout, mixing with almost a genre-free style and expertly weaving together a wide range of music in a way that was emotionally powerful.
How involved are you in production?
My production has taken a backseat to deejaying for the moment. I have a wife, four young children — all 6 and under — and a full-time job, so my studio time is limited. I plan to get back to producing soon, though, and get some releases under my belt by 2018.
What inspired you to acquire a rotary mixer? What kind of effect has that had on your mixing?
I had never played on one before but heard they are especially well-suited to long, smooth mixes, which fits my DJ style well. So I ordered the Bozak AR-4, a desktop rotary, and I absolutely love it and its rich analog sound and musical EQing.
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What non-dance music has been catching your ears lately?
I collect rock, soul, disco and old-school hip-hop records, mostly just for listening pleasure, but as far as newer artists go, I’m really digging Kelela, who has an incredible voice and star power.
Is there a track that you always come back to as a DJ?
An acid house track by Larry Heard and Mr. White, "The Sun Can’t Compare," which was so fun to hear them perform live in Detroit this year.
What gigs do you have coming up?
I’ll be playing a techno set for Static Interference, which is a Facebook livestream hosted by Nothing But Techno, on Thursday, June 29. Tune in and help us celebrate Corey Spengler’s upcoming birthday.
Break SL — "Witness"
Todd Bodine/Ludwig Coenen — "Concrete Itch"
Fred P — "6AM"
Todd Bodine — "Frequency Toys"
Function — "Burn"
Stimmhalt/Pezzner — "Dreams (Pezzner Remix)"
Ludwig Coenen — "8 Bit Brother"
Camea/Tobias. — "Vanish (Tobias. Remix)"
Mike Dehnert — "LAXWAX"
So Inagawa — "De Facto"
Thorsten Hammer — "Jack Your Time (Kike Mayor Remix)"
Emiliano Martini — "About Time"
Levon Vincent — "UK Spring Vibes"
Reeko — "Basic Sentence"
DJ QU — "Eden"
Truncate/Kamera — "Consignia (Truncate Remix)"
Deadbeat — "Groundation (Berghain Drum Jack)"
Honoree — "Pearls (Evigt Morker Remix)"
Sandwell District — "Speed And Sound (Regis Z-Arts Lab Mix)"