Gabriel Mendoza is a DJ's DJ. A crate digger's crate digger. From punk to metal to psyche to funk to Britpop to disco to Krautrock and beyond, he is a hard man to stump. Mendoza has the keen ability to find infectious funk and catchy hooks in the unlikeliest of places. Even the most hardcore music nerds need to Shazam to trainspot his sets. For this week's mixtape, Mendoza takes us on an exotic world tour of groovy music that explores a wide variety of genres.
Dallas Observer: You are an extremely busy DJ. Did you ever imagine being this busy as a DJ?
Gabriel Mendoza: When I started DJing years ago I never imagined being this busy. At first it was just Lollipopshoppe and that was bi-monthly. It all happened naturally. People just started inviting me to guest or do their events, and before you know it I have a gig, sometimes two or three, a week. I am very grateful that I do get to do a variety of styles, so I keep it fresh and I always feel excited about playing out.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix was made the old-fashioned way, with two turntables and a mixer. As far as the track selection, I wanted to do something more exotic, spacey and weird, but still groovy. I picked out records that I’ve been listening to a lot lately, but not so much playing out. I also included tracks of three legends we lost in a month’s time: David Bowie, Maurice White and Sam Spence.
What residences do you currently hold down?
Currently I’m part of the Stoned Soul Saturday rotation, Away From the Numbers with Sam Ramirez and Punky Reggae Party with Ben White. All of those are at Single Wide. I'm also at Gathering Dust in Fort Worth at the Boiled Owl Tavern (also with Sam). Last but not least is Electric Mud at the Midnight Rambler at The Joule with the right reverend Jeff Paul. Plus me and my OG partner Patricia Rodriguez are planning another Lollipopshoppe freakout sometime in the near future.
Where are your fave places to dig for vinyl?
Josey Records, Dead Wax, GrooveNet, Good Records, any of the Half Price Books locations, Recycled Records in Denton and Doc’s in Fort Worth. Plus thrift stores, garage and estate sales. Sometimes pickings are slim but sometimes I get lucky and find that one record that makes me go “OH SHIT!” [Laughs] Online I always go through Dusty Groove, Juno.UK, Discogs, Musicstack and a few other online shops.
What sources do you use for discovering new (and old) music?
One of my favorite ways to discover new music online is Juno.UK. Their site is an endless journey of discovery of old and new music. Their site has pretty nice, long track previews of almost all the music they sell. I love that option. It’s not like it was back in the day when I ordered stuff from catalogs and the record finally arrived and it just wasn’t that good. I like getting more bang for my buck. The other way is recommendations from fellow DJs, musicians and friends. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people with really great taste.
You are best known for playing classic cuts. Is there newer music that has caught your ear?
One of my absolute favorite new bands is She Past Away, a new Turkish post-punk band. My homie Hampton Mills posted a song of theirs and I was blown away. Bought the record before the song finished playing. I’ve also been digging Brown Sabbath (Austin’s Brownout alias). They play classic Black Sabbath tracks but turn them into fuzzed-out, Latin psychedelic funk.
What are some of your current go-to cuts?
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The Living Legend record from Baby Huey, Selda self-titled record, The Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, Serge Gainsbourg Les Années Psychédéliques, the first two Betty Davis records, Mustafa Özkent's Genclik Ile Elele, Pastor TL Barrett Like A Ship (Without A Sail), Jean-Pierre Massiera Midnight Masseria and the Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul 7-inch box set are a few that rarely leave the crate.
Are there genres of music that you would like to spin that you don’t get to as often?
I would love to spin more international disco and dance records. I love disco and dance records from India, Turkey, Iran, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Brazil and Africa. Pretty much disco and dance records from places that people don’t think of when they think of that scene. A lot of those records (especially those made in Eastern Europe before the collapse of communism or in the Middle East before their revolutions in the '70s) were sponsored by the government. Besides being really great music, there’s a really interesting history behind those records.
1. 53 Bus-Horizontal DIY
2. Andrzelj Korzy?ski-The Streaptease (Kung Fu)
3.The Bombay Royale-(Give me back my) Bully Bully
5.Cristina-Things Fall Apart
6.Earth,Wind, and Fire-Evil
7.Nazia Hassan-Boom Boom
8.Rita Lee and Tutti Frutti-Agora È Moda
10.David Bowie-Sound and Vision
11.Sam Spence-Water World
12.Lyn Christopher-Take Me With You
13.The Clash-Cool Out
14.Donny Hathaway-Jealous Gu