Since mid-spring, Chicago and Dallas resident DJ Boxx and his partner Jasmine Holt have been hosting Deep Inside, a monthly residency at Crown & Harp of the deepest, funkiest and most authentic house residencies in the city. More than just an admirer of the birthplace of house music, DJ Boxx had a front row seat to the development of house and that experience comes through in his mixes. Over the past few years Boxx, has become a regular face in Dallas nightlife and regularly travels between Dallas and Chicago for gigs. He was kind enough to make himself the subject of this week's DC9 at Night Mixtape.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing?
DJ Boxx: After I attended a party (Sock Hop) with my younger brothers. I was 14. I was completely blown away seeing someone play music on turntables and also seeing the equipment being used. I came home and told my dad I wanted to do that. He went out the next weekend and came home with two turntables and a mixer. I took my allowance and began to buy music weekly and practice hours and hours on end. Then came the private parties, then block parties, and by time I was 18 I had my first residency at the Galaxy Disco.
Did you play music before you started DJing?
Yes. Ive always been a music lover. I had a firm understanding of measures and song structure before I started DJing. I thought I was going to be a singer till I found out I couldn't. [Laughs]
Chicago is known as the birthplace of house. How significant has being from Chicago been to your development as a DJ?
Huge. My entire concept, skill set and style is based on the foundations built by Frankie, Ron, Wayne Williams, Alan King, Craig Loftis, Glenn Underground & the HM5. Being able to hear and be a part of the inception set the bar in many aspects. Chi is the birthplace of house -- "The Mecca." We all burned our way through at the same time. We learned together. I walked away in '90 to focus on school and when I returned in '02 many DJs I had taught had had huge successes and in that I find gratitude. I love Chicago: the people, the music, the culture. If you can make it in Chicago as a DJ, you can make it anywhere!
What is your connection to Dallas?
Jasmine Speakerphreaker Holt! My Chi Town Homey (Socially Correct Promotions) and our monthly party every third Friday at Crown & Harp. We hooked up two years ago when she first brought me to Dallas to play at Absinthe. It all worked out because I actually bought a home in the suburbs of Dallas at that time and I spend my time between Chicago and Dallas monthly. Love the house energy here -- and the smooth streets! [laughs] I've met a lot of kool peeps in Dallas.
Who are some of your favorite old school DJ's or producers?
The list could take all your print space but to shoot a few, in no particular order: For DJs, Dj Rush, Dj Reg, Derrick Brown, Bad Boy Bill, Louie Vega, Mike Dunn, Ron Hardy, Donna Edwards, Craig Alexander, Pharris Thomas, Dj Emanuel, Celeste Alexander, Boolumaster, Jihad Muhammad, Steve Maestro, Scott Silz, Alan King.
For producers, Glenn Underground, Terry Hunter, Louie Vega, Karizma, Dj Spen, Spinna, Timmy Regisford, Anthony Nicholson, Quentin Harris, Ian Friday, Josh Milan, Craig Loftis, Dennis Ferrer, Ralf Gum, Atjazz, Gene Farris, Frankie Knuckles, Georgio Moroder, Vick Lavender.
Who are some of current or up and coming?
Deuce Martinez, Black Coffee, Culoe DeSong, 60 Hertz, Brennan Green, Copyright, Derrick Sales, DJ Jermaine, Roland Clark, FCL, Henrik Schwarz and DJ Kent.
What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of dance music?
I'm a DJ first. I still play gigs where I play old school hip hop, reggae, steppers, R&B. I do a lot of weddings and corporate gigs, so I have to stay current in all genres. I'm a music lover first, then a DJ!
Do you still buy vinyl? If so, do you have a favorite record store?
Yes, I will still shop vinyl. I hit Gramaphone and Hyde Park Records in Chicago but I also go to flea markets and second-hand stores to find some hidden gems. Gotta dig, baby!
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How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The mix was recorded in my studio. There was no particular theme. I played what felt good at the time. Most mixes I do will contain many new tracks as well as a few older. I try to build energy as I go then reach a momentum and raise the it again.
Track List: 1. Its You - FCL 2. Live In Me - Ian Friday 3. The World Is Love - Steve Silk 4. Let Me See You Clap Your Hands - Michele 5. Breathe - Blaze 6. Nuffin Else - Karizma 7. Baba Yagas Revenge - Jay Rags 8. Whuup - Roland Clark 9. Hit That - Andre Harris 10. My Baby Loves Me - Viola Sykes
DJ BOXX plays Deep Inside Fridays this Friday, September 19 at Crown and Harp and plays this Saturday, September 20 at Absinthe Lounge.