Brian Knowles is a writer, photographer, DJ and all-respectable music nerd. His knowledge of classic tracks goes deep, as does the history behind those tracks. This week Knowles gives a well thought out mix of of deep cuts heavy with vibe and more than a little dance floor friendly. This is the kind of setlist that only comes from guys that can see far beyond the trends of the day and deliver well-mixed cuts that get right down to the deepest soul of the dance floor. Knowles reveals some deep insight into the mind of a true club selector.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Knowles: I've been DJing out and about for about the past five to seven years. Before then I'd say maybe two or three years in the comfort of my hobbit hole [laughs]. Total time about a decade of intermittently trying my hand at the art. I find myself more at home with being called a selector to be honest.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I did take the time to do something I've wanted to do for a while. I always believe that as a DJ we are really telling stories with other people's records. This set is the brave tale of a young man who leaves from an alternate Earth to take up residence at Far Point Station on the other side of the galaxy. I'm an aural omnivore and so I called in some really interesting records and effects to help tell the story via sounds, songs and samples.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
I'm all over the city/state/country/world for choice records. I make it a point to look up record stores whenever I travel and peruse their holds. From the National Beat Swap Meet to estate sales in the middle of nowhere, there are records to be acquired. I can sometimes sniff them out it seems.
Do you still buy vinyl?
Vinyl is a large part of my collection. I fully believe in the joy of the single-grooved, round disc.
What DJs and producers have had a significant impact on you as an artist?
There are a lot, but if I had to name some of my biggest influences it would be David Mancuso (who is big on letting a record play all the way till the end so that you get the full feel of a tune), Mark Farina (who makes blending between genres like hip hop and house seem like nothing), and MAW (Kenny Dope and Little Louie Vega). The latter duo created so many hits from the early '90s (and continue to do so today) in regards to house music that I both have danced and played out to that it is immeasurable.
What is your most memorable music experience of the past year?
Besides DJing I also am part of nightlife by way of my camera for another publication (Central Track) and got to cover both Disclosure and the Deltron 3030 shows last year here in Dallas. With Disclosure I was an arms length away, but with Del I actually got to have a heart to heart and take a picture of the man in a relaxed state and hold palaver with him. That being said, I think Del was the cooler of the two moments.
What is your most memorable DJ gig to play?
Funny enough, playing at my birthday party last year at the Crown & Harp alongside DJ 5D was one of the best DJ nights I've ever had. We had the whole floor shaking, my mojo was working, and I ended the night playing The Last Dragon soundtrack [laughs]. I still have people talk about that from time to time.
What was your most memorable DJ gig to see?
Mark Farina and DJ Heather were on tour to promote the first San Francisco Sessions back in the day at Red Jacket and it was my second time to see him since I'd caught him with a friend back at California. I went in there with no knowledge of DJ Heather or the Superjane Crew and Lord if she didn't upstage him that night. When Tangerine dropped I immediately copped it for my collection.
Do you have any favorite cuts that you always keep in your crates?
I'm known for soul and funk, but I do like to bring a few oddities to spice things up or keep folks guessing at times.
What is your relationship to house music?
I started off after high school as a music snob of the jazz variety. It used to be, "Oh you can't name this Charlie Parker tune in five notes? Get out of my face." When I moved to Dallas and started going to raves and hearing house music I was taken aback because of all the great samples that people thought were original music. As time moved along I got a chance to share those sources (in the days before Discogs) and in turn learned more about House Music myself. All those catchy tunes that I thought were cool on MTV were second rate to what I discovered through partying in Dallas between 1995-1999. As I've grown and changed musically neither my appreciation for House or Jazz has diminished. Garage, DnB, and Electro comes and goes, but those first two? Always a part of my core.
What other genres of music do you enjoy outside of dance music?
As you can hear (if you listen closely to my mix) I love soundtracks and imports. Anime soundtracks, old TV advertisements/serials, Disneyland Records and covers done by the most wayward folks. I'm not talking Ethel Merman Disco or anything, but you get the general idea.
What gigs do you have coming up?
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I'm joining up with Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at Crown and Harp again later this month and have two gigs planned down in Austin later this summer, but that's about it at the moment. I'm pretty good with that as well as it leaves me more time to collect more rarities/remixes to shock and awe with.
Tracklist: 1.M-Flo's "Intergalactic Collection" - The Journey to Far Point Station Begins 2.Charanga 76's "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" - Liftoff to a New Day 3. !!!'s "Theme From Space Island" - Daydream 4. Capsule "AI Automatic" - Cryogenic freeze 5. ATCQ "Midnight" and "The Chase, Part II" - Light Speed 6. Capsule "Antenna" - Deep Slumber 7. Alan Parsons Project "Lucifer" - Malevolent Being 8.Capsule "Endor" - Forest Planet 9.George Benson's "The World Is A Ghetto" - Woe on a Distant World 10.The Stylistics "People Make The World Go Round" - Despondancy 11.The Mothers "Milk" - Water of Life 12. Capsule "Gateway" - Consciousness Expanding 13.Edwin Birdsong's "Release The Beast" - Inner Demons 14. Gnarls Barkley "Transformer" - Vile Metamorphosis 15. Dr. Rubberfunk's "Disco Scene" - NIghtmare 16. i:Cube's "Disco Cubizm" (Daft Punk Mix) - Party Time 17. The Crusaders' "Streetlife" - Past/Future Heartbreak 18. Capsule "I Was Wrong" - Contemplation 19. De La Soul with "Skit 4" - The 4th Wall Is Breaking! 20. Candido's "Thousand Finger Man" - A Million Universes All At Once 21. Madonna's "Erotica" (MAW Remix) - Siren's Song 22. Capsule's "Dreamin Dreamin" - Alarm Clock for Far Point Station 23. Deodato's "Super Strut" - Beyond Far Point Station
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