Cle Acklin is about as old school as it gets in Dallas DJ culture. As a member of the infamous Hazy Daze Collective in the '90s, he laid down some of the basic roots for the scene we have today. Although largely associated with house, DJ Cle is versatile and consistently manages to surprise with his track selection, backed up by technical abilities behind the decks that can only come from decades in the trenches. For this week's mixtape, Cle reveals a bit of what he has been up to since he left Dallas and delivers a distinctly underground take on an '80s theme.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying?
I first started getting into house when going to the Starck Club in '88 and '89 to hear Go-Go Mike DuPriest. I sat by the DJ booth, not even knowing him, with a pen and bar napkin writing down all my favorite records he was playing, then going out to Bill's Records to spend all my money on these records. I eventually got a pair of belt-driven Technics turntables and a tiny Realistic mixer. From there, I was introduced to a more specific type of underground house from Luke Sardello, Tim Shucker, Derrick Wright and Gerard Hanson. I learned all the hot labels from Nu Groove, Strictly Rhythm, Trax Records, Underground Resistance, Club House; the list goes on.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix was made with all vinyl, original Technics 1200s and Pioneer DJM 600 recorded with a Tascam digital recorder. The theme is going back to '80s underground, splashed with some popular new wave. I wanted to express my roots that led me to house music.
How did you get involved with the Hazy Daze Collective?
After deejaying in some of the local bars for a year or so, I was soon discovered by Ian Collingwood and Sean Holland and asked to become a part of the Hazy Daze Collective. From there, I would DJ all of the events Hazy Daze threw and tour all over the U.S. and in the United Kingdom. Through networking, such as Sunset in San Francisco and DIY in United Kingdom, I would carry on my DJ career and eventually move to San Francisco to play Sunset parties with Solar and Galen.
What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?
I still keep tabs on all the events going on there and support as many as I can. I like to travel back to Dallas once a year to play with the Our House crew. I will be playing this year for Rick Simpson’s classic Disco Revenge party.
What’s new in your career in recent years?
I have deejayed a few parties in the bay area this year. WERD, thrown by Maki Noguchi, was a really great party and I also got to play the main stage at the Sunset Campout in 2015. I also have started my own radio show called Obscurities For Home
, which is broadcast monthly from my home. It's really fun because I have my whole entire library at my finger tips. I mix it up with all music genres. I have also started making some connections overseas and plan on getting out there soon to play events.
How involved do you get in production nowadays?
I have not been in the studio as much since '07, but last year I worked on a remix of Convextion with Lance DeSardi. That got pressed and I was very happy with the result. It made me realize that I still have it in me and I should get in the studio more.
What other music do you get into outside of dance music?
Almost all genres. I really like what indie rock has been doing these days. My roots are still alive in dark wave and new wave. I have also been recently introduced to a lot of '90s Brit pop bands that I am really digging now. I like almost anything obscure.
What has been the most profound music experience you have had in the past year?
Melvin aka Traxxx. Wow, that guy is insanely original and super dope. He blew my mind. Also Ms. Honey Dijon from Chicago blew my socks off this year. She really represents the house sound I believe strongly in.
What’s in your near future musically?
I would like to get more involved in production rather than engineering. I want to produce either a current indie rock band or an electronic artist.
1. Art of Noise — Opus 3
2. Belious Some — Imagination
3. The Sisterhood — Rain From Heaven
4. Frankie Goes to Hollywood — Relax Dub
5. Queen — Radio Ga Ga (Remix)
6. The Clash — This is Radioclash
7. Shreikback — Spine is the Bassline
8. Ministry — I Wanted to Tell Her
9. Morgan Gheist — Lullaby
10. Tin Tin — Kiss Me
11. Ebn Ozn — Aeiou
12. Laid Back — White Horse
13. Sax — Don't Turn Your Back on Me
14. New Order — Fine Time
15. Inner City — Good Life
16. Front 242 — Wyhiwyg
17. Yes — Owner of a Lonely Heart (Instrumental)
18. The Cure — Just One Kiss
19. Tame Impala — Be Above It
20. Wayne Chung — Dance Hall Days (Remix)
21. INXS — Not Enough Time
22. Azymuth — Country
23. Malcome McClaren — Madam Butterfly
24. Chat Conversation End