Dallas Observer Mixtape with Johnny Leake

As a member of the Our House Crew, Johnny Leake is at the forefront of the house music scene in Dallas. DJing sets around town on fairly regular basis, Leake and his cohorts have thrown some of the better underground parties in Dallas. Driven by a deep love of house music, Leake plays the role of both producer and DJ, though leaning heavier on the side of the latter. For this week's mixtape Leake delivers an upbeat and soulful house mix that sits comfortably on the deeper side of the genre. It's a perfect soundtrack for a late-night summer party, complete with a Talking Heads sample re-appropriated as a house anthem.

Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been DJing?

Johnny Leake: I was at school in central Louisiana and I met Ant Robinson, who is now my best friend. He was into dance music and I dug what he was listening to. Long story short, I was hooked and shortly after this I began finding my sound and buying records. This all took place in the '99 to 2000 time-frame. I've been DJing ever since.

How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?

This was done using Traktor with the Kontrol Z2 mixer along with two Technic 1200s. No particular theme for the mix; these are tunes that I am currently into at the moment that i feel describe my sound.

What DJs or producers had a profound impact on you?

Danny Tenaglia, Mark Farina, Derrick Carter, Mark Grant, Quantic, MadLib, Demarkus Lewis, JT Donaldson, Brett Johnson. Also, all the Our House guys. I am beyond impressed with the guys that we have in our crew. If you’re curious: Josh Kynd, Jason Ramirez, Samma Lone, Craig Howell, Joe Holmes, Brian Knolley, Matt Parks, Aiden Hafezamini, Handsome Rob, John Walker, Joe Holmes, Matt EP & Samuel L. Waxin.

What is your relationship with Our House and how did you get involved with them?

We all met or knew each other some way or another and decided that we needed to do our own thing. We are a large crew but there are three of us that do all of the planning and behind the scenes stuff. It’s Josh Kynd, Jason Ramirez and I. 

What is your preferred genre or genres do you prefer to operate in?

House music and its many subgenres.

Do you buy vinyl?

Not like I used to. I partially moved over to the digital world in ‘07 and was fully there in ‘09. I still pick up stuff here and there but nowhere like i was 10 years ago.

What is your most memorable music moment of the past year?

I’d have to say the NYE event with Our House. Played for a packed house right after Samma Lone tore the roof off the place.

Where do you like to dig for tracks? Any specific websites or stores?

Mostly Traxsource with a little beatport thrown in. I cruise Soundcloud for up-and-coming stuff.

What other genres or artists do you like to listen to outside of Dance music?

Hip Hop. Black Milk, MF DOOM, MadLib, People Under the Stairs, Blu, Finale, Devin the Dude... I could go on.

How long have you been producing music?

On and off since 2006. I’ve had two releases with Handsome Family Records under JLeake. I really plan on ramping that up in this year. I am surrounded by great producers and DJs so the juices are certainly flowing.

Do your have a preference between DJing and production?

DJ first. There’s nothing better than rocking a crowd.

What do you like to use for production?

I work in Ableton and love all of the Native Instruments stuff. I originally worked in Pro Tools but moved over to Ableton around 2010.

What are your thoughts on the state of house music in Dallas?

I believe things are really good. We have a slew of crews that I think are really exploring the different sounds of house (Our House, Trillwave, +Prime+, Soundslike, et cetera) and I really hope that things continue to thrive. Hopefully we are doing our part at Our House!

What gigs do you have in the near future?

Our House has been really busy lately so we are taking some time off the next couple months. We have DJ MES on June 26 alongside Demarkus Lewis. Not sure if this will make it out to the people before that!!

Tracklist (track - artist - label):

1. Back on the Boulevard (HNNY edit) - Purple Velvet - Local Talk
2. Special 4U - Ben Sun - Delusions of Grandeur
3. Lefty’s Bar - Fouk - Heist Recordings
4. Give it (Deephope remix) - Soul Academy - Haute Musique
5. Make Me Feel This Way (Kamero Remix) - Ryan Padley - DTD Records
6. I Feel For You (David Penn Remix) - Jochen Pash - Urbana recordings
7. Let’s Freak (Hector Couto Remix) - SanXero/Mr. V/Louie Vega - Strictly Rhythm
8. Let Me Show You The Way - Studiohesit - i! Records
9. Soul Talkin - LTS - Luvbug Recordings
10. Forever - Groove Assassin - Delve Deeper Recordings
11. Underground Girl ( The Deepshakerz Remix) - Eddie Amador - Safe Music
12. My Beautiful House - Harry Ramero - Bambossa Records
13. Roots - Jesus Nava - Futura Groove Records
14. One Live - Fernando Campo - Strictly Rhythm Records