Hunter Vaughan has been a fixture in Dallas DJ culture over the past decade with stints at clubs like Zubar, Lizard Lounge and Crown & Harp. Vaughan shows a level of genre flexibility that has played in his favor, while also proving to be an active producer. He even has a new EP coming out next month on Audiophile XXL. For this week's mixtape he delves into a micro genre known as techfunk.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Vaughan: I was around 16 and a sophomore in high school and one weekend I ended up at this dodgy-looking teen club called Afterlife. I had heard about it long before first going, but never took an interest until I was taken there by some friends. It was honestly unlike anything I had ever seen before ... I would go to Afterlife around noon on a weekend to help set up an event for that particular night, and then ask to practice on the CDJs until the doors opened. After a little convincing, Joe [MxMind] put me on the rotating lineup. Fast forward 10 years later and here we are.
How was this mix made?
I used a Kontrol X1 and an Akai MPD24 that controls Traktor, paired with a Komplete 6 audio interface connected to a PC I built. I like intros, so I used a Jackson Kelly 3 for the guitar loop at the beginning of the mix.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
This mix is all about the techfunk. It's dark and brooding, and while I thoroughly enjoy and consider other genres of dance music just as viable, techfunk, in my opinion, expresses what quality peak-time club music should represent in terms of groove, energy, creativity and overall production quality.
How did you start getting involved with Dallas DJ culture?
After I started producing my own music, doorways that were previously locked were now open. I used to submit mixes to the residents at Lizard Lounge but never got a solid answer about playing there until I gave Raydar a track and in exchange he booked me for a 2R party at Lizard Lounge. I eventually met Jeremy Word and started opening for a range of Prototype/Full Access shows that brought some of my favorite DJs as the headlining acts.
How did you get into production?
Around 2009, I picked up a copy of Ableton Live and toyed around with other people's tracks and crudely spliced them together like a bad mash-up until I found a random sample pack with some drums. I installed a cracked copy of Massive until I could afford it ... I managed to sign my first release to a fidget label in South Africa called Flexual Records. Since then, I have released tracks on over a dozen record labels around the world including a couple labels based in Dallas, most notably 4Peace's Juiced Music, and Jimmy Freer and Robert Pennington's Audiophile Imprints.
Do you have a preference between production and DJing?
Personally, I get equal amounts of satisfaction on either platform, whether it is building up to that "eureka" moment when working on music or the feeling of performing on a stage. I don't think I can pick one over the other.
What releases do you have coming down the pipe?
There's a new track called “Oblivion Calls” in the mix that will be the title track of my new EP. I'm finishing up some other originals and if they don't see a release date, they will probably end up available as a free download somewhere. You can get my latest release, a remix of Nine Inch Nails, as a free download on my Soundcloud. I've been working very hard on my first full-length album for about a year now.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
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I still use Beatport and other retail sites when purchasing new releases, but Soundcloud, despite its rapidly declining reputation, has proven to be most helpful in downloading directly from the artist over the years.
Soulseek is an amazing little program for finding older tracks in full 320, WAV, or even audiophile quality formats.
What's the most profound musical experience you've had in the past year?
Writing an album was without a doubt the most challenging thing I have ever done musically ... I discovered how to take the fear of doing something terrifying and turn it into this wave of creativity. [It] motivated me to just sit in a dark room by myself and invest all this time and energy into something that didn't have clear results.
2. Elite Force, Dan F - Right On (Elite Force Mix)
3. Mike Hulme - 100mg
4. Rektchordz - Lush
5. Ian Pooley & Zoo Brazil - Reader (Tonka Mix)
6. Hunter Vaughan - Oblivion Calls
7. Felix Luker - Mechanical
8. Nine Inch Nails - Slipping Away Into The Void (Hunter Vaughan Mix)
9. Pro7 - What Did You Say (Introspective Mix)
10. Bassbin Twins - The Lock
11. Zodiac Cartel - Klappyn (Hunter Vaughan Mix)
12. Telepopmusik - Breathe (Peo De Pitte Mix)