Michael Todd is a seasoned DJ who has been on the frontline of dance music culture since the '90s. In that early era, he helped launch the Groov-e Company crew with Britton Schweitzer, DJ Merritt of Edge Club fame and Rob Vaughn. The crew hosted a who's who of '90s Dallas DJs as guests of its residency.
Next Friday, the gang will get back together for a reunion show at Hyena's in Fort Worth. It's the perfect holiday event for old-school scene-heads. For this weeks's mixtape, Todd delivers a mix of tunes inspired by his time with Groov-e company. It's a lovely warmup for the big event next week.
It's been a few years since you have done a mixtape for us. What have you been doing since then?
I've been pretty busy with gigs, even without having a monthly event. There are so many crews doing things pretty regularly, so I decided to concentrate just on guest spots, and it's worked out perfectly.
What is Groov-e Company, and how did it start?
My good friend Britton Schweitzer came up with the concept and asked me to join right after its inception. He wanted to do events in Fort Worth, and we started with our Sunday night weekly at 8.0's in Sundance Square with Nervosa in 1994. It took about three weeks to really get going but ended up being successful beyond our wildest imagination. I'm pretty sure every DJ in Dallas that was playing regularly came out to play.
Who has been involved, and do you still keep in touch with the crew?
DJ Britton and I were the original two; then we added Gary O, Rob Vaughan and DJ Merritt as the events grew. We all still stay in touch quite regularly.
How did the reunion gig come about?
We hadn't done a reunion event in quite a while, and we thought Christmas was the perfect time since some of the DJs and patrons live out of town but still come in for the holidays. Plus, the new Hyena's club in Fort Worth ended up being the perfect venue. The owner, Randy Butler, also owned Club 604 just down the street and was always a big supporter of our Nervosa night. He was excited to let us play, and we loved the location.
What should we expect from the reunion gig?
We're gonna play stuff from that era, '94-'99, when we had our two stints at 8.0's. I'm looking forward to digging out all the old classic breaks and house stuff. It was really a great time to get into underground dance music.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The mix is all vinyl, on 1200s and my Pioneer mixer. To be honest, I just started digging through my collection and grabbing stuff that reminded me of that era. I whittled it down from about 50 tracks to what you hear on the mix.
What was your most significant musical experience of this year?
Two gigs really stand out in my mind. I did a tag set with Craig Howell at Wit's End for the Frequency night started by Josh Kynd and Aiden. I had never tagged with him before, and we just decided about an hour before the event to do a tag set. The crowd was really into it. And a few weeks ago, I played at the Psychejelic party, opening for Eddie Spettro at the warehouse. It was absolutely ridiculous. The energy was through the roof, and I got to play a lot of stuff that I don't play very often.
Which tracks have caught your ears lately?
I really like the new Cari Lekebusch stuff, and the last two Dole and Kom records have been very good. And pretty much anything on the Toy Tonics label is a must-buy for me.
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Where do you like to dig for new tunes nowadays? Online or in stores?
I'm usually getting stuff from What People Play, Traxsource and occasionally Beatport. I honestly like podcasts and mixes to help find stuff I like. That helps me get acquainted with new labels and artists as well.
What other gigs besides the reunion do you have coming up?
I'll be playing the House of Champagne event on New Year's Eve with Justin James and some yet-to-be-announced artists. The locals on that lineup are some of my favorites as well.
Any big plans for the new year?
Just the above mentioned NYE gig and getting to ring it in with all of my closest friends. That's really the best part of starting a new year.
1. "Miss Me Blind (Ramp's Return to Gender)" — Culture Club (Virgin)
2. "U R The Best Thing (Sasha Dub)" — D:REAM (FXU)
3. "Feet (Wrong Side of Town)" — Sandals (FFRR)
4. "Some Lovin'" — Liberty City (Murk)
5. "This Is A Shout Going Out (Into The Future Mix)" — Central Fire (Twitch)
6. "Show Me The Way" — Saige (Freeze)
7. "One Voice (Dub Mania & Philth Beats)" — Brothers and Systems (IRS Records)
8. "Chemical Beats" — The Dust Brothers (Collect Boy's Own)
9. "Trouble Down Remake (Bassbin Twins Rmx)" — Anoesis (D*Fusion)
10. "Rescue Me" — Nu Generation (Utopia)
11. "Bbbrrr Go Go" — DJ Icee (Zone)
12. "I'll House You (Houseapella)" — Jungle Brothers (Idlers/Warlock)
13. "The Feeling (Powertools Acid Funk)" — Sugar (Aqua Boogie)
14. "I'm Ready (Remix)" — Size 9 (Ovum)
15. "The Witch Doktor (Possessed Mix)" — Armand Van Helden (Strictly Rhythm)
16. "Excuse Me" — LSDJ-E (TCX)
17. "Bells of NY (Xen Mantra's Beefy Bells Mix)" — Slo Moshun (6x6 Records)
18. "All Funked Up" — Mother (Bosting)