DJ Bradlee's face is one many will recognize; he mans the bar at Beauty Bar and It'll Do. But there was a time when Bradlee spent more time behind the decks than the bar. His night jobs give him a front-row seat to the best of local DJ culture, and coupled with his crate-digging DJ background, he has a very developed take on house music. That taste is front and center in this week's Dallas Observer mixtape.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying?
Bradlee: I met a DJ through work named Doug Coakley. We started partying and listening to music together. He had a full setup, and he was nice enough to show me some things. I'd come over with my records, and he would set traps for me to figure out on the equipment. The master would be muted, effects button left on, etc., to see if I could figure it out. He taught me to beat match using two of the same records. He was a good teacher.
How long have you been at it?
I started deejaying around 2003 when I bought a set of Technics from a classmate at UNT. My friend Doug came with me to make sure I wasn't getting hustled.
What drew you into the culture?
In 1996, a co-worker of mine was going to raves in Little Rock and Dallas. We would get off late form work — 11 p.m. — and he would say he had to get to a party. What kind of parties go all night? Raves. I also dated someone who had friends involved in the rave scene in Arkansas.
What were you into before club music?
Late '80s/early '90s R&B, '90s hip-hop, punk/emo, the Grateful Dead
How was this mix made?
I put the mix together at home first. To say my equipment is dated is an understatement. I burned some CDs and arranged it using Pioneer CDJ-200s. Chris Rozier helped me record at his place with Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus/DJM-900 Nexus, and basically it was recorded on a piece of hardware, Zoom H4n recorder, that runs out the back of the mixer. I also had it mastered to boost the sound a bit.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
Not really. I just pick tracks that I like, that I've collected along the way, and put them together.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
I'm surrounded by great DJs all week, and my ears are always open. Any DJ that plays in the clubs I work at has caught me trainspotting them on numerous occasions. They already know when I'm coming in the booth with my phone out that I like the track and I'm about to snake it.
What was your most significant musical experience of the past year?
JMSN performed at Club Dada. He's an R&B guy. His voice sounded so good live; I was impressed.
Is there a track that you always come back to as a DJ?
There are just too many to name but there are two that have come back into my life recently:
Christian Falk — "Make It Right"
Pacha — "One Kiss (White Label Remix)"
What gigs do you have coming up?
I'm planning to play a Tuesday at Beauty Bar in the near future. Stay tuned.
Subb-an — "Self Control (feat. Isis Salam)"
Pardon Moi — "Inside the Outside (Dombrance Remix)"
Kasper Bjørke — "Deep Is the Breath (PillowTalk Remix feat. Tone of Arc)"
Insomnia — "Afterhour Ambition"
Max Chapman & George Smeddles — "Zulu"
Demarkus Lewis — "Groove Theory — Tell Me"
Umami — "White Rabbit Edit"
La Tuerie — "Jenny"
Lance DeSardi — "Straw Hats"
Black Loops — "Sex"
Basic Operators — "The Thick and Thin of It All (feat. The Lazarus Man)"
Still Going — "Still Going Theme"
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