Dallas Observer Mixtape with Christy Ray: Kaytranada, Solange & More

Christy Ray has had a front row seat for the DJ world since she was a child. Exposed to the inner workings of the DJ booth by her mom, DJ Spinderella, she is prepared her for her own career. In the past year that journey has seen her pop up for guest slots all over town as well as her own weekly residency at Off the Record. For this mixtape, Ray drops a brief, but potent mix of upbeat pop tunes to lighten the day.

Dallas Observer: How did you get started behind the decks?

Ray: My mother, DJ Spinderella, was definitely the biggest influence. When I was younger, I’d always watch her practice with my uncle, who’s also a DJ, and see her carry her turntables and all those crates of vinyl to gigs — it was super fascinating to see as a kid. I was about 11 years old when I actually asked her to show me how to DJ and it’s just been something I’ve been interested in and have wanted to do ever since, really.

What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?

I feel like my relationship with Dallas DJ culture is fairly new — I’ve been deejaying in this city for a little under a year. So far, it’s been a really positive experience. I’m always in awe of how many really talented DJs there are here and I’m really just happy that I’m able to contribute to the culture in some way.

How was this mix made and was there a concept behind it?

I think it’s more like a feeling behind this mix than a concept. When I got asked to do it, I was actually driving with all my windows down. It was the most beautiful weather outside that day. And I was just feeling really fun and kind of dance-y. On top of that, I was really excited about being asked to do this mix so I was feeling very upbeat, too. I really just wanted this mix to capture all those vibes. I made it in my bedroom with my Pioneer controller and a laptop.

Where do you like to dig or research for tracks?

Soundcloud has been the real MVP thus far in finding new music for me. I also like Apple music and Spotify. Those are actually pretty good tools to use in finding new sounds and their playlists are usually always on point. There are also some other obscure websites and blogs I end up finding cool stuff on, too.

What new music has been catching your ear as of late?

I’ve had Nao’s and Yuna Zarai’s latest albums on loop for the last few weeks. I think I’m like a year late, but Alina Baraz & Galimatias’ Urban Flora album has been in heavy rotation, as well. And of course, I’m also on that Solange’s A Seat at the Table wave.

What has been the most profound music experience you have had in the past year? How has that experience affected you as DJ?

I played an all-'90s show with like 2 Live Crew, Vanilla Ice, Young MC, etc. at The Bomb Factory back in September and I would have to say that was the craziest music experience I’ve had in recent months. That was the largest crowd I’ve played for to date and I don’t think I can fully articulate how nervous I actually was before going on. Of course by the end of it, the nerves went away and I felt awesome, but as a newer DJ playing for that many people and doing well, I think that experience was more helpful than anything. It gave me a lot more confidence that I don’t think I really had before and now it doesn’t really matter to me if the party is big or small, but how I feel going into it.

What gigs do you have coming in the near future?

I got a few things in the works coming up. Nov. 13, I’m spinning for the Oak Cliff edition of Decks in the Park at The Foundry. A week after that, I’m at House of Blues for this show called “Beats by Her." It’s an event that showcases the talent of some of the different local female acts and I get to spin between all the sets. Weekly, you can catch me at Off the Record every Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. with DJ NiroWho, and I also throw a party called YAAAS! at Beauty Bar every third Wednesday of each month.

1. Alina Baraz x Galimatias - Fantasy
2. Solange - Losing You
3. Bondax - All I See (Darius Remix)
4. Future - Bipolar Sunshine ft. GoldLink
5. Anderson Paak ft. Schoolboy Q - Am I Wrong
6. Phony Ppl - End Of The niGht (Louis Futon Edit)
7. Logic ft. Jhene Aiko - Break It Down (Louis Futon Edit)
8. Pharrell ft. Jay Z - Frontin’ (Disclosure Rework)
9. Sky Ferreira - Everything Is Embarrassing (Krystal Klear Remix)
10. Kaytranada - At All
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