Dallas is home to a significant number of producers and DJs that are well known internationally but mostly off the radar in their hometown. Demarkus Lewis is very much one of those DJs. It's highly unlikely any other musician or producer in Dallas has more releases under his belt. Lewis has established himself as a respected house producer across the globe. For this week's DC9 at Night Mixtape, Lewis shared his thoughts on how he got started, where he has been and where he is off to next -- plus, of course, a mean mix.
How did you get started DJing?
I was introduced to DJing by a friend of mine, James Oliver, at the age of 16. Music had always been a major part of my life but the art of DJing was foreign to me on all levels. I had a chance to witness it in action from that day on and I absolutely knew that this form of entertainment would be what my life would be based around.
Did you play music before you started DJing?
I did not. I had piano lessons at a very young age and was in choir in elementary school but nothing major.
How long have you been DJing?
I've been DJing for 24 years now. [Pauses] Wow.
How many releases do you have out there?
I'd have to look it up to be sure but as of now on Traxsource.com I have 1,200-plus tracks available digitally and about 150 pieces of vinyl available. I've been releasing music since 1999.
Out of your catalogue of tracks, do you have a particular favorite?
This is actually one of the hardest questions I've been asked to answer. To me every track I write becomes my favorite. It's really hard to just choose one or even a dozen favorites. I am for sure my own biggest fan! [laughs]
Who are some of your favorite DJs or producers?
This could be a very long list but I'll try to keep it short. The list starts with Kerri Chandler, Karizma, Mark Farina, Boo Williams, Dallas' native on Brett Johnson, Gene Farris, Derrick Carter, Atjazz and Mr. G. Seriously, this is just a tip of the iceberg. There are so many talented old-school and new-school guys making serious moves these days.
What do you prefer to use for producing?
I use Ableton Live 9 with various VST plug-ins and instruments.
Do you still buy vinyl?
I haven't bought a piece of vinyl in years.
You are known for house music. What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of house music?
I listen to everything. I mean, I was raised on the radio and my mother definitely paved the way for my love for music. In our house we listened to just about everything from Rod Stewart to Earth Wind And Fire.
Besides your own residencies what DJ nights do you like to frequent?
I like Say Yeah at It'll Do nightclub, Tuesday nights at Sandaga 813 for R.C. and the Gritz. For my drum and bass needs, I frequent Battletech with DJ Phooka, DJ System at Crown & Harp and Two:Tone at Wits End. There are so many events going on in Dallas these days and when my schedule permits I like to go and support our local scene as much as possible.
What projects are you focusing on right now?
I'm focusing on a Grin & Friends tour at the moment. G&F is a monthly residency I have here in Dallas to support my recording labels Grin Music, Grin Traxx , Grin Tech and newly launched Grin & Bass.
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How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix was made as a blog feature for the London's uber-venue Fabric Nightclub. It was made to promote a gig I had there which was one of my stops on a five-city European tour a couple of years ago. I chose to feature a few of my original productions on this mix as well.
Tracklist: 1. Demarkus Lewis - Forever - Artizan Music 2. Fred Everything & Giom - A Better World (Original Mix) - Large Music 3. Azymuth - Jazz Carnival (Global Communications Space Jazz Mix) - Global Communications 4. Toto Chiavetta Feat Kev Kruz - Get Connected To The Underground (Accapella) - Vialocal 5. Demarkus Lewis - Wipe UR Mouth (Original Mix) - Lost My Dog 6. Francesco Tarantini - Push It - Kingstreet 7. Danny Dance - After The Day (Original Mix)- Dance Is a Feeling Records 8. Demarkus Lewis - Rest Assured (Original Mix) - Grin Trax 9. Nayre Wiclef feat. JAMON - Deep Inside ur Love (Carlos Francisco Remix)- Grooveland 10. Gant_Garrard-Dem_Dawgs_(Instrumental)- Cajual Records 11. Jeremy Joshua - Strings Are Tight (Original) - Sampled 12. Jason Hodges Feat William Alexander - Our World (Chuck Daniels Raw Mix) - Sampled 13. Demarkus Lewis - Love 2 Dance (original mix) - Grin Trax
DEMARKUS LEWIS plays Say Yeah! with Samma Lone and DJ Red Eye this Saturday, September 13, at It'll Do Club, 4322 Elm St.