DC9er Mixtape, Vol. 2: Five Easy Pieces

Last week's DC9er brought you behind the booth with disco-guru Schwa, but, this week, we're going to slow it down a notch and coast into the atmosphere with 24-year-old, Denton-based DJ Five Easy Pieces. With an extensive music background not limited to spinning tracks, Five Easy Pieces, a.k.a. Nick Amendola, has been in a number of bands including Almost Famous, The Kinetic Sense, Bob White & The F-Electrics, and Goldilocks & The Rock. And he's been DJing since 2007, with influences ranging from, in his words, "ska-pop punk-emo-hardcore-noise-skronk to art pop-stoner rock-lo-fi pop."

He doesn't currently have a residency, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly due to other obligations--by day, he teaches science to kiddies--but Amendola says he's not ruling out the possibility of playing regularly come summertime. As for upcoming shows, you can catch Five Easy Pieces in Austin later this month for Spune's Day Party at SXSW.

In the meantime, have a listen to his DC9er mix, 27 minutes of miscellaneous indie and Top 40 tracks mashed together with two-step garage and downtempo elements. It's posted after the jump, along with an extended Q&A.

[Note: Full tracklisting posted at the bottom of the Q&A.]

How long have you been DJing for?
I started in 2007, so about three years.

How did you get your start DJing?
I went to The Party in Dallas a long time ago back when it used to be all three guys and got really inspired. I would go on Fridays or Saturdays and spend the rest of the weekend downloading the songs they played. 

What was your first gig like?
I brought my ancient laptop, external hard-drive, and ridiculously heavy single speaker P.A. to a Halloween party at an apartment. The whole night, I felt like a photographer at a Mormon wedding.

Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
I guess I should start from the beginning. My mother and father really influenced me during my younger years. I used to listen to Billy Ocean, Bobby McFerrin, and Michael Bolton with my mom. My favorite memory is driving to YMCA swim camp and listening to "Steel Bars" with my mom. The key change in that song ranks highly in my top 10 musical moments. My father and I have, unofficially of course, "Don't Stop Believin'" as our song. This came before Laguna Beach featured it and Glee had some sort of synchronized dance that accompanied it. It always reminds me of his '85 Honda Accord and Taco Bueno. Next comes my best friend Will. He and my wife really pushed me towards electronic music. Will tolerated me in high school and when we saw The Rise and heard their song, "An Automated Response If You Will." I think both of us realized that electronic music didn't just belong to those dudes who drove Del Sol's with neons underneath and had every mix of "Sandstorm." Kids with asymmetrical haircuts and Lopez Zavala type hair could take what we liked and meld it with synthesizers and drum machines and pro-tools fooling and get a really distinct and, to us, revolutionary product. Lastly, my wife has really influenced my interest in electronic music. She lived in Germany for a while and came back talking about Ellen Allien, Global DJ's, Erlend Oye, and dancing. I, on the other hand, thought the world of Dead Meadow, The Black Angels, Interpol, and Nick Cave. She and Will kept putting on tracks like, "E-talking" by Soulwax, "Kokomo" by Black Dice, "Pulse Demon" by Merzbow, "Way Out" by Ellen Allien and Apparat and I just didn't get it. Needless to say, they were ahead of the curve.

Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
It changes with the wind.  Right now I like: Phaseone, Nosaj Thing, Flying Lotus, Burial, King Midas Sound, Joy Orbison, Zomby, Actress, and Nicki Minaj.

What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
I like all kinds of music. It depends, for the most part, on the weather. If it's a nice day, I'll listen to some African music, "chillglofiwave," or something with bad recording quality. If it's a horrible day--cold, gray, out of sorts--I'll put on something with a lot of synthesizers and reverb. I like my music to reflect both my feelings and my surroundings.

How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
I like my sets or mixes to have a cohesive feeling. If something feels too happy or too sad, doesn't flow with the music pre- or post-, then I switch it. I read a lot of blogs and listen to the radio and try to keep my "finger on the pulse" so whatever seems au courant at the time usually has a little pull as well. 

How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
I don't play out much so I'd say about a couple of weeks. My wife has heard every incarnation or transition about 54,072,341 times and she has a great ear for what sounds terrible or doesn't, so she lets me know ever so kindly.

What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
I DJ for selfish reasons. I have a bad control problem and want to hear what I want to hear when I go out. I've come into a bar and thought to myself, "Am I at Zara?" I don't want to hear your typical "Night at the Roxbury" type music if I go out with my friends. That irritates me to no end. So my first objective is to please myself. My second objective is to please the crowd. If I'm out, I want to hear at least one song I like. I won't play Bialas Bogdan's "Branislav (Straight From Kiev House Fix)" because no one knows that song and I just made it up. I don't troll the bargain bins looking for "lost choice cuts." I usually just download whatever people rate highly on the Internet and play that. I like nice calm songs and booty shakers equally. I want to see people enjoy themselves and I want to ensure their good time. 

What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?

What kind of equipment do you use?
My laptop and Virtual DJ. I want to get a Kaoss Pad and a Voicetone Synth for live effects soon.

Requests. Love em or hate em?
As long as they request something I already plan on playing or have.
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
I would do a turntable set with Louie Armstrong and Darth Vader on the Moon.

What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
Quality over quantity.

When/where will you be playing next?
The Spune Day Show at SXSW.

What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2010?
More gigs. More vibes. More "hypnagogic pop."  More dancing like Bez.

DC9er, Vol. 2 tracklist:
1. Animal Collective -- Daily Routine (Phaseone Remix)
2. Drake - Forever (Nosaj Thing Remix)
3. Lil' Wayne -- I Feel Like Dying (Flying Lotus Remix)
4. Kollosus -- Breakin' Bread (Phaseone Remix)
5. Zomby -- U Are My Fantasy (Street Fighter II Theme Remix)
6. The XX - Islands (Nosaj Thing Remix)
7. Staygold -- (ft. Spank Rock and Robyn)-Backseat
8. Robyn and Diplo -- No Hassle
9. Joy Orbison -- The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow