Ho Ho Ho. DJ Santa is on the decks.
Ho Ho Ho. DJ Santa is on the decks.
JJ McKey

Dallas Observer Mixtape with DJ Santa

For the fifth year in a row, we are pleased to have DJ Santa drop a set for the holidays for the Dallas Observer Mixtape series. He's out once again to prove that Christmas music does not have to suck. It can come in the form of punk, funk, dance and more traditional fare — not necessarily the stuff blaring from overhead speakers in brick and mortar stores during the season. No one knows the hidden gems of Christmas quite like Santa, and for this week's mixtape, he is dropping holiday cheer from a motley assortment of tunes that includes Cocteau Twins, James Brown, Tom Waits, Peter Murphy, Frank Sinatra and even the Star Wars droids.

What is new in your DJ career since last year?
The North Pole has been melting. It’s a lot more slushy than it used to be. My main house and headquarters are located on Christmas Island. Whole sections of Christmas Island have been sliding into the ocean. It’s kind of depressing to watch, so I've been staying on the road more than before just to not be home. This has sent me to more European festivals in the summers and South America and Asia for the rest of the year. Planning a trip to Australia for a few weeks soon and then off to Detroit to scope out some housing. I hear they have brutal winters, and I already love all the music that has come from that city over the years. Seems like a good plan if we can't save Christmas Island.

How was this mix made?
I went old school with two turntables and special candy cane stylus that I started making after Shure decided to cancel the 447s I had been using for years. Like every year I'm on a quest to prove that Christmas music does not have to suck. I even included some Hanukkah songs to be more inclusive. The mix is heavy on Christmas funk as usual, but I've been in a real Carpenters mood lately, so I ended the mix with one of their lovely renditions of "Silent Night."

What is your take on current Christmas music trends?
Now that Christmas-themed EDM songs are falling out of favor, it’s been nice to see dance floors gravitating back to house, techno and drum and bass Christmas tunes. Still scratching my head over this new melodic Christmas genre. There are already tons of Christmas songs that are melodic. It’s not all jingle jingle, untzuntz and industrial stomp. Seems to me Beatport just invented a new genre so other holidays could call their music Christmas music and be easier to market to the masses.

It’s been hard to not notice Rudolph missing from your reindeer posse. What happened to Rudolph?
Rudolph branched off from the other reindeer and got heavily involved in the Berlin scene. He ditched Christmas house music for all of these new gloom and doom post-industrial Christmas tunes. He started clubbing at Berghain every weekend and eventually just stopped leaving. I'm a little worried about him. Last I saw of him, he had been sucked into a little clique of supermodels, techno DJs that look like they should be in Goth bands, and techno-zombies. The drugs, the leather parties and all the other trappings of Berlin club life kind of sucked him in.

What was your favorite festival in 2018?
They finally started doing Movement Festival North Pole edition. It was amazing to see all of the OG Detroit legends on my home turf. They are used to lots of snow in the winter, so they all felt right at home. We spent the whole weekend getting sugar highs off candy and cookies to fuel our nonstop dance floor workouts. This was our first year throwing events with our new function one system. Our main room rivals Fabric as far as quality sound goes.

What gigs do you have coming up?
I'm throwing a little 24-hour rager that starts as soon as I finish delivering presents. I have a ton of vinyl I've been sitting on waiting to get played when I get back home. The elves are warming up the party with all this grime and trap music that they have been getting into. Not really my thing, but they seem to enjoy it. I made a special 30-minute remix of "Jingle Bells" that I can’t wait to drop that night.

Solomon Burke - Presents for Christmas
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Jaga Jazzist - Yo! It's Christmas
Tom Waits, Peter Murphy - Christmas Sucks
David Bowie/Bing Crosby - Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
Richard Cheese & Lounge against the machine
James Brown - Go Power at Christmas Time
Sharon Jones & Dapkings - 8 Days of Hannukah
Otis Redding - Merry Christmas, Baby
Frank Sinatra - An Old Fashioned Christmas
Cocteau Twins - Frosty the Snowman
Meco w/ R2D2 & C3PO - Christmas in the Stars
Rev T.L. Barrett - Jingle Bells
William Shatner w/ Iggy Pop - Jingle Bells
Was (Not Was) - Christmas time in the Motor City
Joe Tex - The Christmas Song
The Pogues  w. Kirsty Maccoll - Fairytale of New York
The Carpenters - Silent Night

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