Amy Payan is the name on her birth certificate.
She's has been on the front lines of the vinyl resurgence, slinging vinyl at Josey Records since it opened its doors three years ago. In an environment surrounded by DJ veterans and librarian-esque music nerds, Josey Records has given Payan access to music of all flavors. Like so many before her, this immersion in vinyl culture set her on the path toward the DJ life.
Under her DJ alias, AY.MZ, she has cut her teeth behind the decks and has been a regular face at the DJ residencies of the New Math and Dolfin Records crews. She also secured a happy-hour residency at Standard Pour.
For this week's mixtape, AY.MZ delivers a deep and soulful journey into the deepest of house, reaching into Chicago roots by way of Chez Damier and Ron Trent and more modern artists such as Body-San. It's the kind of mix you would expect from someone who works in a record store.
What drew you into the DJ world?
JT Donaldson. He threw the idea out to me a couple of times, and I would kind of laugh it off. Once I started to work at Josey Records and I met Waric Cameron, Luke Sardello, Wil Brooks and some of our really cool regulars, it kind of hit me: “Damn, maybe I should try this DJing stuff.”
How long have you been at Josey Records, and how has that influenced you from behind the decks?
I’ve been at Josey for a little over three years. Josey Records is definitely the getaway place some people need. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to work at a place where I can also learn so much. My coworkers, the regulars that come in and my bosses show me a lot of artists that I would've never known about. They’ve also showed me the importance and value of vinyl.
How has your perspective on music changed after working in record store for three years?
Music is magic. Regardless if you're a metalhead, classic rock person, house-head, or whatever type of musical preference you have, there's always something for you in a record store. Keep an open mind and try to listen to a whole album through. You just never know if there's one killer song on a not-so-great album.
Do you have a preferred genre?
My favorite is house/deep house music. I love the way it kind of takes you on your mind trip. You just get lost in it. As a DJ, I try to make sure everyone is having a blast. It's a good feeling when I look up and people are dancing with their eyes closed, smiling and just totally in the moment.
Are there any genres that you would enjoy playing that you currently enjoy more as a listener?
I love any type of feel-good music. I'm a big fan of boogie, funk, disco. I sometimes think I was born far too late in time. Roy Ayers is a huge inspiration for me. He just has such happy and fun songs. I’m currently on the lookout to one day have his whole LP collection.
How was your SXSW showcase experience, and how did you approach your set?
It was a great time. Dolfin Records got invited out, and I got to open up for Liv.e, Rami, Lord Byron and David Morgan (all Dallas artists).
I played a little bit of everything in my set. I started off with your classic "Ain’t No Fun" by Snoop, then slowly just took it to Zackey Force Funk and, of course, ended up spinning a few house tracks — definitely played Les Sins’ "Grind." That song always grabs attention.
Dolfin Records has a variety of different acts. Liv.e performed some of her EP called Frank
, some low-fi alternative R&B. Rami played and DJed his Pyjama
album, which is definitely on more of a deep house/house side. Lord Byron performed ... his newest album, Sora
. Rami DJed for him as Lord Byron rapped and jumped with the crowd. Shoutout Dolfin Records.
How was this mixtape made, and was there a theme behind it?
I recently just got a new Pioneer SR2 controller, and this mix was the first thing I got [to] play with on this controller. Not really a theme behind the mix. I usually don’t get to play house music on my gigs, so I had some new stuff I was excited to share.
Working at a huge record store like Josey, I would imagine you get to hear a bit of everything. What were some of your favorite releases from 2017?
Moon Rocks: Extraplanetary Funk, Space Disco and Galactic Boogie
[and] Timothy Mcnealy’s Funky Movement
What was the last record you picked up?
Bobbi Humphrey’s Fancy Dancer.
What else have you been feeling musically as of late?
Anything on Doomshop Records, anything on Church and Palm, and Acid Carousel. I saw them at Josey Record’s Black Friday RSD. They have such high energy. They definitely got the crowd super hyped up, and overall, they looked like they were all having fun. They sound like ... they practice a lot. Fun band for sure. They have a couple of tapes up at Josey right now.
What was the most significant musical experience you have had in the past year?
Jon Bap. I’ve seen him perform numerous times, but every single time, it gets more beautiful.
What gigs do you have coming up?
I do a happy hour gig 4-7 p.m. at The Standard Pour every Friday. Also, Hannah Hammond and I are doing the next New Math Monday on March 26.
Les Sins — "Bellow
Closed — "Paradise Secrets"
Andras and Oscar — "What They Say"
Doc Daneeka — "I Promise feat. Seven Davis Jr."
Body — "San Central Casting"
DJ Aakemael — "Beautiphul"
Grant — "Bend"
Rache — "Socks Soxxx"
Breakbeat Lou — "Do You Believe"
Vilete — "September"
Luvless — "Misunderstood"
Chez Damier and Ron Trent — Untitled
Mall Grab — "Cant"
Well Being — "Sky Mall II"