S.O.U.L.Jah has been an ever-present force in Dallas DJ culture over the past decade, holding down a string of residencies in a variety of genres at some of Dallas' most beloved DJ haunts. S.O.U.L.Jah has deep roots in Dallas drum and bass, but has never been one to play it safe genre-wise. Pulling from a diverse palette of music, he is well studied in the sometimes lost DJ art of reading the crowd. For this week's Mixtape, S.O.U.L.Jah recorded his set live at SXSW.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing?
S.O.U.L.Jah: My DJing adventure started in the late '90s when I was living in Puerto Rico, where I'm originally from. I started getting involved in the underground rave scene in Puerto Rico during '98 and through to 2000. The first time I stepped into the DJ booth at a party and saw what the DJs were actually doing, I was instantly hooked; I knew right then and there that that's what I wanna do for the rest of my life.
How long have you been at it?
My DJ career started in 1999. I became a full-time, self-employed musician in 2005.
How was this mix made?
I wanted to do something different from the other mixes you've posted throughout the years. I recorded this live at the DJI Showcase at SXSW this year. I tried to incorporate the aggressive style of bass music I like to present when I perform.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
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My theme for this mix was to take heavy influences from one of my current favorite artists, Mr. Carmack. All the tracks are pretty much unheard of artists that deserved the spotlight. I tried telling a story with all the different bass lines I threw in there. For me, this sound is what I wish more clubs and parties would start delving into.
How did you start getting involved with Dallas DJ culture?
It all started the first night I walked to into the now defunct Royal Rack Club on a random Tuesday night in 2000 for the famous Battletech drum and bass weekly... After a couple of years of proving myself and doing the rounds I decided to start my own drum and bass weekly, Two:Tone, with the help of Thomas Allen and Alyx C. I'm glad to say it's going on its eighth year.
You dabble in a lot of areas genre-wise. Do you have any genres that you prefer spinning most?
I love the future bass sound that's been put out these days. In my perfect world I would have a two-hour DJ set where I would start nice and slow with instrumentals and new music people have never heard of, then I build up progressively to a point where you can't help but dance and sing along.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
I'm a music ninja! I dig for music all the time. Whether it's going to Half Price Books and buying a bunch of cheap vinyl or sitting in front of my computer and doing the download olympics where I go to my routine sites and blogs to see what other people are bumping. My greatest, secret digging weapon the last couple of years has been Soundcloud. Ninety percent of my DJ sets consists of music I've discovered surfing Soundcloud. And the best part: Most of them if not all of them are free downloads.
What was the most profound musical experience you have had in the past year?
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Easy: It was our performance at South Side Music Hall. I performed with my new project, theDJvsViolin, and was able to truly show what my team has been working on. Seeing people just in awe and partying [along] was truly one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. We have an amazing production act that finally this year will see the light of day
What gigs do you have in the near future?
You can catch me weekly every Friday and Saturday at Nickel & Rye and every Sunday for Too Futuro at The Whippersnapper. I have a huge drum and bass show featuring Commix on April 8 at The Drugstore Cowboy. If you're a golf fan you can catch me at this year's AT&T Byron Nelson where I'll be the featured performer on May 19.
1) Cray - Infinity Signs
2) Senojnayr - Fluster
3) Singularis - Wowowo
4) DJ Shadow - Swerve
5) DieMantle - Damagement
6) Noer The Boy Ft. Zero Tep - Send Help
7) Enschway - Papercut
8) Gylzey - Repose
9) Oshi - Pink
10) Zephyr - Soul Trumpet
11) Dr. Derg - Vol. 130
12) Rage Logic - Green Hat
13) SoySauce Ft. Lil Aaron - Bout Time
14) Herzeloyde - Damn
15) tails.- 100Hammers
16) Blanda - Sinquistive
17) Big Makk - Jenga Ft. City Tucker
18) ??? - Give it to the moment skirp remix
19) Rockwell Ft. Breakage - Technoir
20) Rockwell - Me
21) Enschway Ft. Tsuki - Trust Me
22) Sweater Beats - Young In Love