Daniel Cortez is a recent transplant to Dallas from El Paso who is making waves as half of production duo Prototype. He's had a hand in putting together some of the most exciting techno parties to pop up in Dallas recently, for which he brings in international artists from boutique techno labels such as Cocoon, Drumcode and Dirtybird. For this week’s mixtape, Cortez shows off his techno chops. In the Q&A, he reveals his journey from metal drummer to techno DJ.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying?
Daniel Cortez: I ran into an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in years. This was around 2010. At the time I was playing in metal bands and wanted to try something new. With being a musician, there is always a hunger to learn more music. My homeboy had started working where I worked and immediately we started catching up. He got me to go to my first rave. It was M.A.N.D.Y. that was playing that night. I will never forget the vibes and energy that was in the room that night. From that point on, I thought, “Yeah ... I wanna make people dance. This is awesome.”
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
When I put a mix together I have one thought in my head: Tell a story. I guess being in band for eight years really helped mold the whole process when it comes to performing music. It taught me patience. With music, you can’t just throw everything together all at once. That’s why there are movements in live performances. You have to take your time and really build up to where you want to go. The crescendo and decrescendo are beautiful dynamics and if used right, they can lead to some powerful experiences. I keep that mindset with me all the time when I pick my tracks. Playing banger after banger ... gets boring real quick.
What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?
Well, I just moved here from El Paso. From the time that I have been here, I can feel that this city is coming up on bringing quality acts to this town. I like the fact that the underground scene is beginning to lay its foundation to what will surely become a truly unique experience for those who attend. The people that I have met here, we share the same vision, focus and determination. That’s a key to success right there. It will only expand and enforce the DJ culture that is growing here in Dallas.
How did you get involved with the DJ crew Cross Border Warriors?
When I moved here, the first thing I started to look for were people who shared the same values in dance music as I did. I had no luck for a couple of months until my homeboy Sergio tagged me on their latest show at the time. I looked them up, noticed whom they had booked, and immediately knew that this was something special and I wanted to be a part of it. I sent them some emails, chatted with them for a bit, sent in some mixes ... and here we are now. Everyone in Cross Border Warriors is genuine and I truly feel blessed to be where I am now.
Do you produce tracks?
Yes. I’m part of Prototype, which is a DJ duo under Cross Border Warriors. Xavier and I plan to have a couple of tracks ready in the near future. Work schedules are a tad hectic, and we don’t work on our music unless both of us are present. It will be a slow process, but we are on the way. Stay tuned.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
I am on YouTube all the time. I am addicted to music so sometimes I come across music by accident, which I think is great. I love those surprises. I like to search for record labels and visit their websites, listen to their podcasts, and read about the artists. When I was first mixing, I just wanted to play all the big name producers. But where is the fun in that? There are thousands and thousands of talented producers out there. Now I make sure to dig deeper and explore spaces and sounds that I never heard before.
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Which new producers have been getting you excited?
There are so many. We [Cross Border Warriors] just brought David Gtronic last Saturday. I have been a diehard fan of his ever since he came out. It was great meeting him. He is definitely one of my favorites. I also like Christoph as well. For me, if it has a groove and a sick bass line, I’m all for it. But those two are on the top of my list.
What has been your most significant music experience of the past year?
Becoming part of Cross Border Warriors. The amount of love and respect behind this team is what it should be about and I am proud to call them my family. When you come from a city that is saturated with techno, it becomes a grim realization that everyone is trying to outdo each other; everything becomes a competition, which is sad. There is something magical in the air here, and everyone is on the same page; we help each other and work on bringing quality DJs. Dallas is getting its first taste of real underground dance music, and the excitement behind that is enough to keep this going.
What gigs do you have coming up?
Well as far as our gigs go, I would like to recommend that everyone go and give us a like on the Cross Border Warriors’ Facebook page. We have all upcoming gigs posted. Anyone is more than welcome to give Prototype a like on Facebook as well and any gigs coming up will be posted there as soon as they are confirmed.
Sasha - "Rivaldo"
Neverdogs - "Go Back and Listen"
Carlos Sanchez - "K15 (Detlef Remix)"
Paul Ursin - "Shadow"
Ismael Rivas - "Hy"
Pirupa - "Demons"
Montel - "I Can't Remember"
Christoph - "Closer (Hot Since 82 Remix)"
Tyler Rouse - "Icebound"
Pan-Pot - "Fugitives (Joseph Capriati Remix)"
Luca Gaeta - "Fusis (Tony Dee Remix)"