Matt Haag is a perfect example of the hardcore music nerd primed for the ritualistic music selection behind deep-crate DJ-ing. Armed with a breadth of knowledge that stretches from the outer regions of techno to the primal thump of punk to the downtempo vibes of trip hop, Haag has led a life of musical adventure, exploring music for music's sake regardless of genre confines. It's no surprise that he used to work in record stores. For this week's mixtape Haag has chosen to go the mellow route by way of an eclectic mix of downtempo selections perfect for the autumn season.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started behind the decks?
Matt Haag: In 1996, I was working at a small record store called Hot Dog Records & Tapes in Jonesboro, Arkansas. A couple of friends owned turntables and the owner of the record store allowed us to set up the decks in the back of the store. After closing the store, we would practice. Jonesboro isn’t a large city, so we ended up playing a lot of small house parties.
What is your relationship with Dallas DJ culture?
My relationship to the Dallas DJ culture is pretty new. I’ve only played a few gigs around town the last few years. They’ve always been a positive experience. I go out sometimes and support friends when I can. There is a lot of humility in the scene, which is awesome and makes it easy to talk to other people about what’s going on in Dallas. I like that there is something for everyone out there no matter what kind of music you enjoy.
How was this mix made and was there a concept behind it?
I wanted to make a mix that gives people an idea of the music I will be playing at Independent Bar & Kitchen. When Josh Florence approached me about deejaying, he stated he wanted music with a “laid back” vibe. I wanted to incorporate jazz, electronic and lounge music to create a fun atmosphere that people can drink, eat and converse to.
Where do you like to dig or research for tracks?
I mainly look for records at Half Price Books, Good Records and Josey Lane records. Online I go to Dusty Groove, Forced Exposure, Juno UK and Discogs. The Doublewide Flea market has a lot of great vendors also.
Are there any genres you prefer to DJ in more than others? Or genres that you wish you got to play out more?
I do prefer playing jazz, lounge and more downtempo music. It's not stressful. I normally like playing music as if I was making a huge mixtape for the listener regardless of genre. I would like to play more electronic/techno-based music if time permitted. That is the downside of working a day job and living far from venues — 7 a.m. comes early.
What new music has been catching your ear as of late?
I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient music lately. My day job is kinda stressful but allows me to listen to music all day. Artists like Porya Hatami, Christina Vantzou, Derek Rogers, Woob, Loscil and Gas along with the label A Strangely Isolated Place. I also DJ with my friend Hampton Mills, as Cold Cuts. He’s been turning me on to a lot of new minimal wave and synth stuff.
What has been the most profound music experience you have had in the past year? How has that experience affected you as DJ?
It was a little over a year ago, but seeing Kraftwerk was pretty profound. I really do find all my music experiences in the last year to be influential in some way. I have a lot of friends that have different DJ nights and play in bands around town. I enjoy supporting all of them when I can and enjoy hearing their opinions about music. That has shaped what I like to play.
What gigs do you have coming in the near future?
RBC - Friday, Dec. 9 (Cold Cuts)
Independent Bar & Kitchen - Saturday, Dec. 19
Doublewide - Friday, Jan. 13 (Cold Cuts)
Independent Bar & Kitchen - Saturday, Jan. 14
1. Kammerimmer Kollektief - Lichterloh
2. Herbaliser - Sensual Woman
3. Boozoo Bajou - Under My Sensi
4. David Holmes - Rodney Yates
5. Bjork - All Is Full Of Love (Plaid Mix)
6. The Stylistics - People Make the World Go Round
7. Astrud Gilberto - Fly Me To The Moon
8. Sade - Love is Stronger than Pride (Mad Professor Mix)
9. Gus Gus - Ghetto Belief
10. A Tribe Called Quest - Get A Hold
11. Lamb - Angelica
12. Les Hommes - In Spring
13. Rosalia De Souza - Bossa 31
14. Massive Attack - Safe From Harm
15. Mr. Moods And Darkside - Inside
16. A Forest Mighty Black - Tides
17. The Roots - Silent Treatment
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.