For the third year in a row, DJ Santa gifts us an Observer mixtape filled with deep cuts. In the off season, Santa travels the world playing techno, electro, disco and the strangest of niche genres, "elf house." Santa recorded this mix a few months ago, right after finishing up his much talked about residency at Rex Club in Paris. For this week's Q&A, Santa reveals details about his life as a globe-trotting DJ and gift giver.
Dallas Observer: What is new in your DJ career since last year?
DJ Santa Claus: I finally gave up my residency in Ibiza and moved to Berlin. 2016 has been a moody year with so many musician deaths and political upheavals. Playing upbeat tech house on the beach just didn’t feel right, so I started gravitating toward the gloomy underbelly of techno. I think the kids call it post-industrial techno or something. After getting lost in Berghain once again I ended up spending more time with the dips, chips, chains and whips crowd at the club and they prefer the really dark techno stuff. It rubbed off on me. Last time I was at the club, Rudolph went in with me and then ran off with a DJ and some models. I don't think he ever left the club. We are gonna have to go pull him out of there for our upcoming midnight Christmas run.
How was this mix made?
It was made on three turntables and a pioneer DJM2000 with specialized Ortofon candy cane stylus for extra sweetness in my mix.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
I used to Shazam DJs in Ibiza and check the Beatport top 10. I have evolved as a DJ over the past few years. Although I started out as a digital DJ, I am all vinyl now and have spent many hours in Berlin shops like Hard Wax, Record Loft and Space Hall. There's so much new music to be found there. Outside of those spots I tend to go to the mixes.db website and check out what tracks my favorite DJs are playing and then cross-reference what labels those tracks are on.
Who have been some of your favorite DJs to share a bill with?
I had the great pleasure of playing with Claude Young and DJ Stingray in Detroit last year. It was a dream come true. Those guys are true legends and truly inspiring. They are both getting special presents for Christmas. Before my techno binge started a few years ago I got to play with DJ Harvey. He played everything from Can to super obscure disco. It was a real treat.
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What is your take on holiday music in general?
I've been deejaying Christmas music for the past century. I know those tracks so well I only listen to them once a year during the Christmas season. I have had an internal struggle about over-exposing myself to too much Christmas music, but that is resolved when I start playing. I quickly remember how much I love the seasonal music. At least the seasonal music I play.
Admittedly there is a lot of crap Christmas music. Who are some of your favorite DJs?
Rudolph is the most amazing DJ I've ever seen when he is sober. He even has his own light show from his nose when he plays. Rudolph has a "Special K" problem so that holds him back as an artist. Hopefully we can sober him up so he can get back in the clubs.
What are some of your upcoming gigs?
I am finally playing a few sets in America outside Christmas season. I’ll be at Output in New York in the spring and I'm working on a booking in Dallas at It’ll Do. I've heard so many great things about that club.
Binky Griptite - "Stone Soul Christmas"
Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings - "White Christmas"
Charles Brown - "Please Come Home for Christmas"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
Don Smith - "Black Christmas"
Donny Hathaway - "This Christmas"
Caetono Veloso - "In the Hot Sun of a Christmas"
Clarence Carter - "Back Door Santa"
Electric Jungle - "Funk Funky Christmas"
Darlene Love - "Winter Wonderland"
David Bowie - "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"
Prince - "Another Lonely Christmas"
James Brown - "Soulful Christmas"
The Jackson 5 - "Frosty the Snowman"