Dallas Observer Mixtape with JT Donaldson: Omar S, Dam Funk and more

JT Donaldson is one of Dallas' most accomplished DJs. With releases on a wide variety of labels including the legendary Chicago house label Casual, he has maintained a steady output. Along with his heavy involvement in Josey Records, Donaldson has been busy with his new record label New Math, which has led to his New Math Mondays showcase with Ben Hixson at Off the Record. Recent guest appearances there have included DJ A1, Cygnus and SPK. For this week's mixtape, Donaldson drops a healthy dose of forward-thinking future funk for a mix that connects the dots between various strands house and soul.

Dallas Observer: What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?

JT Donaldson: I grew up in Dallas in the '90s and basically took in as much as I could at an early age.
I started working at Bill's Records when I was in high school, moved over to Spinmasters and helped them launch from being a DJ supply store to a full-fledged record shop. Shortly thereafter I went to IGS in Exposition Park where Amsterdam Bar is currently. I made a lot if not all the Fairpark Records releases during that time. Those were my first records and ended up sorta what got me started in the global music scene.

What is your take on the current atmosphere of house music in Dallas?

Not a lot of support and a plethora of talent. Same as it ever was.

What is new with your DJ life in the past year?

Not a lot new, just maintaining really. I’ve been traveling here and there. Lots of L.A. and West Coast gigs over the past 12 months.

What is going on with your production life?

Man. About to release some new bits. House, disco, jazz-influenced stuff. I’m thinking of doing a side label aside from New Math to release some house jams.

How is your label New Math unfolding? What are your future plans?

It’s going really well. We’ve gotten notice from Gilles Peterson, Benji B, KCRW in L.A. Things are going well. The first release is from Norvis Jr., the second from SPK. Both are Booker T. graduates, so I’m excited about their growth and to know they came from the same place in that regard. Booker T. has a serious “gang squad” success rate.

How did the New Math Mondays residency come about?

Desperation. I wanted/had to do something creative musically. I have been DJing in Uptown for a while and as good as the money and co-workers are, I needed to have a night where I/we could play all these records we’ve been buying. Luckily, Moody Fuqua had a night open and I jumped on it immediately. We’re there every week and have a hefty guest DJ line up going for the remainder of 2016.

What’s new at Josey Records?

So much, mostly the record manufacturing plant. That is the most exciting aspect in my mind, anyway.
But the retail is striving and we’re very blessed to be able to have a store of our own in a city that we’ve grown up in. It’s a lot of work for the guys, but it’s a true blessing to be able to be a steward of music in that way.

What has been the most profound music experience you have had in the past year?

It was when I took a trip to NYC this time last year. I played Mobile Mondays with Natasha Diggs, Just Blazer and the crew. Le Bain at the rooftop of the Standard Hotel where my peers Geology and Twilite Tone showed in support. Then went on to a park party in Corona Park in Queens, where I met Biz Markie, GM Caz and so may others through Breakbeat Lou, who was my gracious host and also told me to GTFO of Queens when the sun went down. Genius weekend. 

1. Byron the Aquarius - Cosmic Shit
2. Al Dobson Jr - In the Lobby
3. Perlair Ft. Sharka - Dance With Me
4. Mr. Fingers - Distant Planet
5. Deep 88 - Yo House (Andras Fox Remix)
6. Brazilectro - Miracles (Recloose Remix)
7. Shina Williams & His African Percussionists - Abgoju Logun
8. Metro Area - Lullaby
9. Omar S - Seen Was Set
10. Flying Lotus Ft. Erykah Badu & Thundercat - See Thru to U
11. Dam Funk - Mirrors
12. D'Angelo - Betray Your Heart
13. Rek Champa - Feel You
14. Roisin Murphy - If We're in Love
15. Silicon - God Emoji
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