Brian Knolley has spent nearly three decades in the trenches of Dallas' house music scene. He can be seen laying down sides as part of the Our House crew or as a guest at parties all over the city. Knolley's experience comes through with every needle drop, every mix, every track selection and every release.
For this week's mix, he delivers a solid hour of grade-A house, including tracks from Detroit Swindle, Fred Everything and Kink. He also throws in one of his productions under his alias, Fantum.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying? How long have you been at it?
Brian Knolley: I was introduced to house music by my best friend, Luan, when he purchased turntables and set them up in his bathroom in the tub on a table. This was way back in 1990. We learned together and have been playing house ever since. House music and being around other likeminded people was like nothing I had ever experienced. It was nonjudgmental, and everyone was there for the same reason — house music — and I’m still friends with a majority of the people I met then.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The theme was a mixture of house and techno. I just played what felt good. House is a feeling.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
For brick-and-mortar shops, I frequent Josey Records and Retroplex Records. For the digital outlets, I frequent Traxsource.
What is your relationship with house music?
We got married back in 1990. It was love at first listen. My best friend got into house by way of hip-hop and exposed me to it. I was always a Prince fan. And I always loved those chords Doc Fink from Prince's band the Revolution was playing on the Prince records. I was hearing those same chords all over early house music. I made the connection in my head, and I was in.
How involved in production are you?
I have tracks on Audiophile Deep, Grin Trax, Gets House, Casa de Disco. I love producing music. There is a special place in my heart for creating music that makes people happy. I took a break for about a year, and now I’m back at it. I will be releasing several tracks this coming fall. So stay tuned.
Do you have a favorite piece of studio gear or software?
Axiom 49, Emulator II (old school — 1986) and my Pioneer XDJ-RX. I use Ableton Live 9 for production and way too many plugins.
What non-dance music gets you excited?
Alternative, R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco. I also have a love for death metal, yeah, the hard stuff. I like classical, too. Sepulture, Coroner, Death out of Florida — started listening to them in '87. I like the speed, the classical chops. True musicianship.
What was your most significant musical experience of the past year?
Oh man, where do I start? This has been an amazing year for music, clubbing and concerts. Some of the gigs that I have played this year have been awesome. The house music crowd has grown so large in the past year, and the love they give back to the DJ has been phenomenal. But I have to say that playing SXSW was so much fun.
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Is there a track that you always come back to as a DJ?
Any Pepe Bradock track. His production has an organic quality that sets him apart from most house producers. Matthew Herbert also has a similar aesthetic. These are guys that produce tracks purely from an artistic perspective and not just dance floor utility. I appreciate the sincerity and technique that goes into their productions.
What releases do you have coming up?
I'm working on a project with Demarkus Lewis that should be released in the near future alongside some tech-house tracks that I have been working on. [Next year] will be gangbuster for getting my name out in the music scene and making my mark. Keep an eye out for Fantum.
I am happy to be joining Motif crew for their end of Summer Soireee this Saturday at Nora's on Lower Greenville. As always you can catch me at various Our House events.
4004 and Sebastien Vorhaus – "Room Sections B"
Andy Hart – "MYLNY"
Fred Everything – "Winter Tones"
Detroit Swindle – "The Break Up"
Camelphat – "String (Remix)"
Kink and Mathias Kaden – "Detunator (909 Drum Queen Remix)"
Gel Abril – "Midnight Cocktail"
Jullian Gomes featuring Sio – "1000 Memories"
Sneak – "Disco Cubism (Daft Punk Remix)"
Joskie – "Necessary Evil (WD2N)"
Deetron – "Searching"
Ron Carroll – "The Sermon (Tobi Kramer Remix)"
4004 and Sebastien Vorhaus – "Room Sections B"
The Journeymen – "Let the Record Show"
Fantum (Brian Knolley) – "Morning Glow"
Jimpster – "English Rose"
Lars Wickinger – "Fake You"