Dallas Observer Mixtape With DJ Santa Claus: Esquivel, Sharon Jones and More

This has been a banner year for DJ Santa Claus. During his off time from his day job (really more of a night job), Santa dug his heels into his craft and toured relentlessly on the underground circuit.  He released a string of 12-inches as anonymous, candy-cane coated white labels that were available only at Hard Wax in Berlin before revealing he was behind some of the most in-demand cuts for the dance floor this year.

Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing?

DJ Santa: Several years ago, after a particularly busy holiday delivering gifts, I decided to take some time off in Berlin. I went to a club called Berghain and discovered the most amazing techno music. I ended up running into a bunch of elves that were surprised to see me there. Apparently the elves spend their off time bouncing around to the best dance clubs in Europe. They showed me the ropes and introduced me to a lot of DJs.

How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?

I prefer old school methods. I spin dub plates made out of melted down candy canes. Turns out the elves also press vinyl when they are not making toys. I tried a new beat matching technique where I match the records off of the jingle bells instead of the hi-hat. Most DJs prefer to beat match off of the kick; the elves showed me the hit method. I adapted that to "Jingle Bells."

Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?

I travel a lot for work, which gives me the opportunity to crate-dig at some of the best spots in the world. Hard Wax in Berlin, Josey Records in Dallas, Peoples Records in Detroit, Aquarius Records, Amoeba Records and the secret spot in Finland that specializes in rare Bing Crosby 45s.

Who have been some of your favorite DJs to share a bill with?
I got to play modular synth with Moritz Von Oswald once. That was deep. He's not a DJ, but I have been blessed to share a stage with Bing Crosby way back in the day.

What other types of music are you into outside of Christmas music?

Although the biggest part of my collection is Christmas music, I also love Detroit techno, old school funk, Norwegian black metal, bebop, UK grime and classic punk. That being said, I think Bing Crosby's whole discography kills it.

Who are some of you favorite DJs?

Dasher, Donner, Vixen, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Dancer and Blitzen were all huge influences on me when I got started, but Jack Frost is the best post-industrial techno DJ I've ever seen. He plays Techno at 140 bpm using hip-hop turntable skills. I saw Jack and Rudolph do a tag set that was next level. Jack Frost filled up the room with wintry fog and Rudolph lit up the room with an impromptu light show with his nose, all while mixing on four turntables at the same time. Bonkers.

What are some of your upcoming gigs?
After the holiday I will be joining Rodhad for Sunday afternoon at Berghain for a one month residency and then a few gigs in Paris at Rex Club.

Esquivel - Jingle Bells
El Vez - Feliz Navidad
Sharon Jones & The Dapkings - Just another Christmas Song
Stevie Wonder - What Christmas Means to Me
Otis Redding - Merry Christmas Baby
JD Mcdonald - Boogaloo Santa Claus
Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas
Clarence Carter - Back Door Santa
The Poets of Rhythm - Santa’s got a bag of Soul
Jimmy Smith - Baby, It’s Cold Outside
James Brown - Soulful Christmas
Rev. T.L. Barrett (Featuring The Youth For Christ Choir) - Jingle Bells
Spectrum - Santa Claus
Meco - R2D2 We Wish you a Merry Christmas
Richard Cheese & Lounga against the machine - Holiday in Cambodia
Jacobites - Teenage Christmas
Cheap Trick - I Want You for Christmas
The Fall - No Xmas for John Quays
Crass - Merry Crassmass

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