Dallas' DVK, known as Dustin Van Kleeck when he's not performing, loves house music and his energizer rabbit level of enthusiasm reflects that. The mix he submitted for the DC9 mix has his personality written all over it. It's an upbeat and high-energy house mix that features the work of more than a few local producers. Folks like Denarkus Lewis, John Walker, JT Donaldson, J.Caprice and his partner C-rod (a.k.a. Chris Rodriguez) all make appearances.
DVK's deep love for Dallas house music culture also comes through in the Q&A that accompanies this week's mixtape. You can catch DVK dropping house bombs this thursday at Sandaga 813 for his Seven Deadly Sins party.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJ'ing?
DVK: I started messing around on a pair of 1200's and a two-channel Pioneer mixer back in '99, when my roommate had a friend from Austin who needed storage space for his decks and dropped them off at my crib. Lucky me! He had an Aphrodite vinyl compilation pack that included the boot "Drowning" and one House cut: a bootleg of Bob Marley's "Sun is Shining." So, I learned how to mix with drum & bass records, on the clap, not the first beat. Many don't know this, but I've always had a soft place in my heart for Atmospheric Jungle beats and, learning to match beats on the second 'click', not the first 'beat', I think has helped define my sound, phrasing, and mixing.
How long have you been DJing?
First touched a turntable when I was about 4 years old, watching my pops place the needle on his old classic rock LPs, but as mentioned, in '99 I first attempted to blend two tracks --terribly, I might add! I started playing out in Dallas in 2010 under Slattery and DVK. Joshua Slattery has been a friend since the late '90s and we decided to take our living room jam sessions [out] live.
Did you play music before you started DJ'ing?
Unfortunately, I am not classically trained, nor a tenured "musician" in the classic sense. But as Left/Right encouragingly pointed out, "I have seen you on the decks, don't sell yourself short." But short answer? No. Turntables were my first instrument to get my hands on, although I mess around with the keyboard quite a bit and have written lyrics, poetry and prose since I was very young. Depends on how moody I get!
How many releases do you have out there?
I have two releases out right now, the Sticky Fingers EP on GRIN Traxx, with tracks by myself, a colab with J.Caprice and I, a lil booty boot of a 90's classic by DJ iNDO, and DeMarkus' re-work of iNDO's cut that hasn't left the Top 10 in two months! I have another single out on Sugar Shack Records, with my studio partner, C-Rod. It's a sample-free, organic track that took two months to make, [featuring] the beautiful vocals of Lacey Jane... We have several other projects n the works and due out this summer, along with some potentially rewarding remix projects we are still awaiting word on for multiple labels. Fingers crossed!
Out of your catalogue of tracks do you have a particular favorite?
It's a toss up between the self titled track from "Sticky Fingers" that J.Caprice and I worked on together, inspired by a record another mentor of mine, brother Greg Watton, gave me the first time I met him and the "Monarchy" single that C-Rod and I released. I lean towards the latter, in that it was a sample-free, organic, ground-up track that simply came together for us last summer.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
As for gear, I used Serato SL3,Technic 1200s and a Pioneer 600 mixer. I can play on any medium, but at home, I enjoy Serato, since I can rock my digital collection with the feel of traditional Wax. As far as programming, I never plan out my sets, as I feel the art of working a crowd should be improvised and on the fly. That being said, I wanted to show as much love and respect as I could for my hometown, without forcing things.
You are known for House music. What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of House music?
Jungle. Breakbeats. Downtempo. DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, Blockhead, Miles Maeda and of course a dear friend out in Pacifica, California, brother Ivan Ruiz and his downtempo Podcast that commands respect. And I love some Tribe Called Quest, Chubb Rock, De La Soul, Bel Biv Devoe and on the heavier tip, bands like Tool, Rage, System of a Down. I like the angry stuff on occasion, but not for too long; life is about balance and embracing all emotion -- even the darker side of things.
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What gigs do you have in the near future?
If all goes well, I have a mini-tour of the West Coast on the horizon. Other than that, my monthly at Sandaga, "Proper," every fourth Thursday, a night I host that is guided by a battle format - pairing up two DJs who may have similar tastes, but may not have taken turns before on the decks.
Run Away - John Walker Who Do You Love - Lurob One Woman (Original Mix) - ABack Morning Wood (Original) - B.F.A.M. A Better World - Fred Everything & Giom Dead of Night - Ryan Truman What's Going On - Manjane Tonight - De'Markus Lewis I want Blood (Original Mix) - Small Pyramids Sticky Fingers - J.Caprice vs Main & 2nd aka DVK Free Musique - Harold Heath vs JT Donaldson Still Maintaining - Mel Rosario Monarchy (C-Rod 'More Love Mix) C-Rod vs DVK Puzzle - Left / Right