The ChURcH has been Dallas' go-to spot for all sounds dark for nearly two decades now. And while the DJs, musicians and various performers who call the twice-weekly event at the Lizard Lounge home prefer to keep the sounds of the night decidedly sinister, the overall vibe is simply one of good ol' fashioned revelry -- with maybe a ghost or two, as well, as the building is supposedly haunted.
Every Thursday and Sunday night, party-goers experience an industrial, goth-type dance party -- think an '80s rave meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Two of the many masterminds behind such debauchery are long-time DJs and ChURcH residents, Joe Virus and Wild Bill Stanley.
Both men are undoubtedly experienced when it comes to DJing: Wild Bill Stanley has been behind the tables for 35 years; Joe Virus for 25. So it's quite the honor and treat, then, that for this week's DC9er we got both of these long-standing DJs to offer up exclusive mixes for us.
Check out both mixes, and read our Q&As with both of these DJs after the jump.
Download Wild Bill Stanley's mix here.
Stream and download Joe Virus' mix:
For how long have you been DJing?
Wild Bill Stanley: 35 years.
Joe Virus: I've been DJing and remixing for about 25 years, the last 13 of them have been at my bi-weekly at The ChURcH. I have been VJing for about five years now.
How did you get your start DJing?
Wild Bill Stanley: I grew up in roller rinks and started working in one that was just opening in South Arlington. Since I was the head floor guard, I got to play DJ by selecting the 45 RPM singles to stack on the spindle. I also did all the announcements and controlled the flow of the session. When the disco craze hit, the rink upgraded to two turntables and a mixer. There was no pitch control or slip mats, but we could do "blends." We now 12 "train wrecks."
Joe Virus: I was twelve when I got a dual deck cassette recorder, and I used a record/pause/rewind/record technique to make stuttering and glitchy remixes, and then I would change songs at the breakdowns. I bought my first turntables at a thrift store when I was 13 and learned to beat-match soon after that. I made mixtapes for friends in middle school and I started DJing parties in high school. I scored a few gigs at raves in the early '90s. From 1996 to 1997, I co-hosted a radio show called "The Hideous Couch Show" on KNON-89.3FM.
What was your first gig like?
Wild Bill Stanley: In '82, an old skating friend had moved from San Antonio to Arlington. He had made the transition from DJing at roller rinks, to spinning at clubs. I became his roommate and picked up on some of his mixing techniques. Soon enough, I felt I was ready, and answered an ad in the paper. I faked my way though the audition and got the job. It was in a very rough part of town in Grand Prairie called the "County Line." I worked there for a year, five nights a week, learning club programming and fine-tuning my mixing skills.
Joe Virus: My first real gig was at a rave back in 1993. I had a 30-minute set, so I pulled out some crazy tribal/techno and when I got to the gig everyone else was playing breaks and house, so my mix was pretty different. It was really cool to see people moving to my mix. I was addicted to it after that.
Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
Wild Bill Stanley: I've been heavily influenced by my tenure as a DJ/Programmer with '80s mega club chain, McFadden Ventures. Don Nedler, owner of The Lizard Lounge/The ChURcH, was the corporate program director for the chain. Some of the best DJs, then and now, came up through the chain. This was back when a DJ worked full-time for the one club, spinning all the various formats and specialty nights. McFadden Ventures gave us all the tools we needed to excel, but also gave us room for creativity. We used to have an annual conference where all the company's DJs would meet for several days. We got to exchange ideas and meet our fellow DJs from across the country.
Joe Virus: Musically speaking, Skinny Puppy and Joy Division are my two biggest influences. All of the early industrial and deathrock music really resonated with me in my teens. I started writing industrial sounding music at 15, trying to emulate Skinny Puppy's horror electronics and Joy Division's dark ambient sound. As far as DJing goes, my three influences are Jeff K. during the Thud Slap/Video Bah! days, DJ Voodoo (R.I.P.) from Ritual at Baja Beach Club in Arlington, and DJ Stereotype (R.I.P.) from The Grey Zone on KNON.
How would you describe your personal style?
Wild Bill Stanley: Energetic. I enjoy performing short mixes, precisely counted, so the incoming song "pops" with the recognizable hook. It catches the crowd by surprise and I often get screams from them. That's fun.
Joe Virus: Post-Industrial Deathtronik.
Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
Wild Bill Stanley: I really don't follow too many DJs. If I'm out, my favorite is the one that's rocking the crowd that night. We have this saying, "You're only as good as your last mix."
Joe Virus: I love cEvin Key, Andy LaPlegua (Combichrist), Deadmau5, Deiselboy, and local DNB/Dubstep master DJ Titan. Titan does some amazing things live and I think he is on the frontline of the next era of DJ/Performers.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
Wild Bill Stanley: It's hard for me to give a favorite genre since I both listen to, and play so many, but I would have to say my favorite night currently is my Sunday gig at The ChURcH.. Some of my other weekly gigs are at bars and lounges, not dance clubs. Well, The ChURcH. is a dance club and the crowd definitely does (dance).
Joe Virus: I tell people that there are truly only two genres of music, good music and bad music. I only listen to good music. Sure, that is totally my opinion, but I don't let anyone dictate what I should play or listen to. If I have to label what I like to play, I love to spin Industrial, EBM, Synthpop, Dubstep, and old school Rave Techno.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
Wild Bill Stanley: I just have to wait and see what kind of crowd shows up. I'm very good at reading the crowd, so I just fly by the seat of my pants.
Joe Virus: Well, I usually have a six or seven hour set, so I have time during the night to read the crowd, see who is there and what they are biting on. I usually start out a night with some older tracks that were bouncing around in my head all day. Then I let it flow, building up an atmosphere, whatever mood is right for that moment.
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
Wild Bill Stanley: I don't prepare for each individual set, but there is a lot of preparation work with my music library. Like most other DJs now, I'm fully digital. That's great because I can bring such a variety of music to each gig, but keeping the music organized is a job in itself. Making sure the MP3s are tagged properly is essential. It doesn't do any good to have a great song if you can't find it or are not reminded of it by having it in its proper virtual crate.
Joe Virus: At The ChURcH, I try not to plan out the nights too much, because if I put together a rocking set but the crowd isn't into it, I just wasted their time and my time on the decks. I have several sets in my bag that I know make the crowd go crazy, so the real preparation is in filling the gaps. When I play gigs on the road, I plan a couple of two hour sets filled with the newest tracks and biggest crowd-pleasers.
What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
Wild Bill Stanley: Seeing as the club is paying me to entertain, that's my main objective. If I can educate them as well, that's a plus.
Joe Virus: Entertain and educate, for sure. But, more important, I am trying to create the soundtrack and atmosphere for everyone's movie in their minds. You know everyone thinks they are living their own reality TV show, so I am trying to play the music that someone is breaking up to, someone's having their first kiss to, the first time he/she sees that girl/guy. I want to make their nights memorable and intense.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
Wild Bill Stanley: They should expect an energetic and entertaining night that is customized for the crowd that's there that night.
Joe Virus: If it is your first time to come see me at The ChURcH, it will be an eye/ear-opener. Not every song I play has a 4/4 beat, no Auto-Tuned voices, no radio hits. You might hear a song about serial killers, you might hear an old '80s track sung through meat grinders. There is a possibility you may even convert to the dark side.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Wild Bill Stanley: I'm currently using a Sony VAIO laptop, nearing the end of its usability cycle, spec wise. I'll hopefully be getting a Macbook Pro. I use an M-Audio Xponent midi controller mapped to control Traktor Pro DJ software. I've also been testing the waters with the native software for the Xponent, Torq. They just came out with a Torq2.0 update that looks promising. After breaking three separate pairs of expensive so-called DJ headphones, I've gone back to the '70s and picked up the reissue of the classic Koss Pro 4AA. They are delightfully retro-looking, and work great. Plus, they have a lifetime warranty.
Joe Virus: For DJing, M-Audio Xponent MIDI controller with TORQ software, Hercules RMX MIDI controller with Virtual DJ software. For VJing, Three (3X) Pioneer DVJ-X1 DVD decks with two Edirol V-4 video mixers.
Requests. Love 'em or hate 'em?
Wild Bill Stanley: Intelligent requests (not demands) are always welcome.
Joe Virus: I like requests that are in the format of what I am playing. If I have it and it fits in the set, I'll play it. I don't like being hounded all night about a request that was already made. It takes time to go from a song that is 135 BPM to a slow track that barely hits 90 BPM.
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
Wild Bill Stanley: Can I transport back to 1985? Starck Club with Rick Sqillante.
Joe Virus: I have already DJ'd with cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy and Peter Hook of Joy Division, so I think I'm good. Maybe doing a glitch/dub set with cEvin Key, Otto Von Schirach and Skrillex at Stonehenge.
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
Wild Bill Stanley: I guess it would be my experience along with my ability to read a crowd. Also, my knowledge of so many genres.
Joe Virus: Diversity. I don't just spin one style of music. My DJ sets can (and often do) go from ambient to new wave to metal to industrial to trance to synthpop to dubstep. I also spin from open-to-close as opposed to a one- or two-hour set, so I have the freedom to transform the mood of the night to wherever I see fit.
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When/where will you be playing next?
Wild Bill Stanley: I play four nights a week at four different venues. Check my Facebook fan page.
Joe Virus: Every Sunday and Thursday, you can hear me spin underground music in the main room of The ChURcH from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. On Wednesday nights, I spin at Reno's Chop Shop Saloon in Deep Ellum, playing "Rockstar Retro" from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2011?
Wild Bill Stanley: Keep on keepin' on, as they say. I would like to find a night that I could play a little more house than I'm currently able to.
Joe Virus: I'm talking with Bastard Mike about doing a guest spot at Pubstep in Denton sometime soon. More remixes. More mix CDs. My band Solemn Assembly is finishing up our new CD, as well as my first full-length CD with my new Deathrock band Broken Ghosts. So be on the lookout and come see me at The ChURcH.
Wild Bill Stanley's DC9er Mixtape Tracklist:
1. Harley David (Son Of A Bitch) - The Bollock Brothers
2. Master And Servant - Depeche Mode
3. Major Tom (Coming Home) (Special Extended Version) - Peter Schilling
4. Working In A Coal Mine - Devo
5. Take On Me - A-Ha
6. Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
7. Hippy Chick - SOHO
8. How Soon Is Now - The Smiths
9. Sadeness- Part 1 (Extended Trance Mix) - Enigma
10. Faith - George Michael
11. Chains Of Love (Unfettered Mix) - Erasure
12. Goodbye Horses (Extended Version) - Q. Lazzarus
13. Welcome To...Headhunter (Razormaid Remix) - Front 242
14. Din Daa Daa (Us Mix) - George Kranz
15. Here Comes The Rain (Extended Mix) - The Cult
16. Add It Up - Violent Femmes
17. Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show
18. Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
19. Everything She Wants - Wham!
Joe Virus' DC9er Mixtape Tracklist:
1. Destroid - Lucretia, My Reflection
2. The Razorblade Dolls - The Wrists
3. Orgy - Blue Monday
4. Dope - You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
5. Zeromancer - Send Me An Angel
6. BIT ROT - Girls & Boys
7. Mindless Self Indulgence - Never Wanted To Dance (Tommie Sunshine Mix)
8. Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko (Tommie Sunshine Mix)
9. The Faint - Glass Danse (Paul Oakenfold mix)
10. VNV Nation - Chrome (Joe Virus ThRe:Emix)
11. Ferry Corsten with Howard Jones - Into The Dark (Ferry Fix)
12. Franz & Shape Feat. GD Luxxe - This Is The Way
13. The Knife - Pass This On (Dahlbeck & Dahlbeck Mix)
14. Solemn Assembly - Fallingt (Lthrboots Club Mix)