There are veteran DJs and then there are guys like Michael Todd. Todd has been a constant force in the Dallas DJ community for 26 years. At one point or another, he has played almost every spot you can play in DFW thanks to a variety of guest slots and weekly residencies. Some of his notable old school haunts include the upstairs at Club One, Mick's, Nervosa at 8.0 in Fort Worth and Liquid. Nowadays he can be found at his monthly Ellumental event at Red Light Lounge that he throws with his partner JWho. For this week's mixtape Q&A Todd gives touches on his favorite music and his DJ grind.
How did you get started DJing?
I started buying records at a pretty young age, around 8 or so, but didn't start DJing until I was 18. I saw a DJ play live for the first time my first semester in college and was hooked from then on.
What other types of music are you into outside of dance music?
I really like old school hip hop, and even some of the newer, underground stuff that's coming out. And any old '70s rock stuff is always good to listen to as well. My mom took me to see Elvis when I was about 5 or 6, so anything from the late '60s I can always appreciate.
Do you still buy vinyl?
Not too much, but I do pick up a bit now and then. I just couldn't get into shopping online for vinyl, it's just not the same as crate digging. I'm really excited to check out the new Josey Records place, and I'm glad to see vinyl gaining popularity again.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
Most of the standard places like Beatport, What People Play, Traxsource, etc. Soundcloud is always a good starting point too, and of course mixes and podcasts and an occasional blog.
Who are some of your favorite producers and DJs, locally or otherwise?
I really like the local talent we have here, it's second to none in my opinion. The Soundslike, Proton, PCP, Love Rich, Trillwave, Motif and Our house guys always put on some great shows and each has their own style and group of DJs that are always a joy to watch. And the It'll Do shows always bring in some talent you may not otherwise be able to see unless you travel a bit. Producer-wise, I've been digging Marlon Hoffstadt, Thee Cool Cats, Catz n Dogs, Kolombo, Purple Disco Machine, Vanilla Ace and Fur Coat. There's really too many to name, I like a variety of stuff to be honest.
Who have been some of your favorite DJs to share a bill with?
The Nervosa weekly back in the mid-'90s was always fun, playing with Britton. We could do crazy things like play out of each others crates or decide just to play B sides one night. It always kept things interesting. And playing with Edwin Watson at our Mick's weekly was fun too, we kind of had different styles so I got exposed to even more music. And of course J Who always keeps me guessing as to what he has up his sleeve.
How did Ellumental come about?
J WHo and I had been at Boiler Room from about Feb to June, and while it was doing OK, we wanted to do more in relation to bringing in out of town talent. Anthony was really supportive in what we were doing and understood what we had in mind. Leo from Red Light was there one night and we ended up talking to him and Anthony suggested that his new place with Don would be perfect for us. We met a few more times and started in September, and we're really happy there. It's really a great fit for us and the first few shows have been well received, they treat us very well there.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
Two Pioneer CDJs, Pioneer 500 mixer and Serato. No particular theme, just stuff I've been into the last few months. I like to play a bit of a variety sound wise in mixes and gigs, I guess it's from playing in the past in clubs where it was expected that you play four- or five-hour sets, definitely not the norm these days.
What gigs do you have coming up?
The next Ellumental is on Dec 26th at Red Light with Matthew Parks. I'm really looking forward to hearing him play. Our Ellumental monthly is every fourth Friday at Red Light in Deep Ellum and we have some really good headliners that are yet to be unannounced coming next year. Also, the PCP Glitz n Glow II NYE party on, well, New Year's Eve at Sandaga is on Dec 31st.
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