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Dallas Observer Mixtape with Michael Duncan

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Splitting his time between Lubbock, Houston and Dallas, Michael Duncan has seen his share of DJ decks. Coming from a largely alt-rock background, he discovered house music in the '90s and never looked back. Stylistically Duncan is not limited to house music and can be found DJing everything from new wave to industrial music. For this week's mix Duncan covers a variety of house and techno-related territory. The mix was recorded at Absinthe Lounge earlier this year. In the Q&A Duncan goes into detail about his foundations as a DJ and where it has led him.

Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing, and how long have you been doing it?

Duncan: I would have to give that credit to Greg Watton. After I left Lubbock and moved to Houston in the '90s I met Greg at 2826. As he was the club's resident DJ I would visit with him in the DJ booth and ask him about the tracks he was playing. I was hooked on house music at that moment. I would be at Record Rack the following Saturday or Sunday searching for those tracks that I had fallen in love with the night before. It has been a work in progress but I have been DJing ever since. I did infact get my first mixer from Greg Watton on my birthday back in the '90s so that is how it all started for me. 

How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?

This session I recorded on May 2, 2013 when I played out with Hulon Pate at his Deep After Dark event at Absinthe Lounge. I was playing on a NS7 with Serato DJ. I knew Hulon was really into techno so I wanted to play something that was progressive yet dark. We had played out together previously and created a friendship, plus we have very similar tastes musically. I have always enjoyed John Digweeds' label Bedrock and centered this set around a couple of tracks I selected from that label. Was always a big fan of his Northern Exposure collaboration with Sasha. 

What DJs or producers had a profound impact on you?

I think one of my favorites DJ's to watch from a skill set standpoint is Jeff Mills. He blows my mind every time I watch him spin. He is so talented. I'm a huge Razormaid fan as well. Great songs remixed and edited by Joseph Watt and Art Maharg... As I am a huge synth-pop fan as well I was always influenced by Vince Clarke and I was fortunate enough to be able to open for him during his Texas Tour here at Lizard Lounge. I did some promotional work for Moonshine Music and was exposed to some very talented DJ's. Charles Feelgood and Donald Glaude were two that I enjoyed listening to. Charles is a very cool cat.

What is your relationship with house music?

I love house music because of the way it makes me feel. It just takes me places that I can not get to from other music. It also takes the crowd you are playing for to the same exact place.

Do you still buy vinyl?

Absolutely. I love the whole process involved and spending time searching for that hidden track that you may only have on mp3.

What is your most memorable music moment of the past year?

I think being able to see the Pet Shop Boys finally. Someone I had wanted to see for quite some time but just never got the chance.  

Where do you like to dig for tracks?

I get quite a bit of music from record pools via digital download. I look on Beatport and Discogs every once and in a while. Turntable Lab if I am looking for a re-issue. I visit Half Price Books quite often to search as well. Josh Kynd and Bryan Coonrad seem to have a big inventory here locally. When I go back home to Lubbock I always make a stop at Ralph's Records and Tapes. 

What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of dance music?

I am am huge fan of Depeche Mode, New Order and Erasure. I also like Miles Davis and love old blues. When I say old I mean like Robert Johnson old. 

What gigs do you have in the near future?

I am actually playing out in Houston on June 20 at Etro, which is 100-percent retro. All '80s synth pop, industrial, techno, house and anything else electronic from that era. Just had an event on Continental Bridge this past Sunday with my buddy Israel Marcano. We are looking to continue a monthly called Streetcorner DJs. This is something that Israel put together and asked that I be a part of. 

1. John Digweed & Nick Muir - Trezzz Intro
2. Eagles & Butterflies - Kolleckt
3. John Digweed & Nick Muir - Raise (Electric Rescue Remix)
4. Stelios Vasslloudis - What's That?
5. Maxime Dangles - Unsteady Curve
6. Christian Smith - The Judgement
7. Guy J - Mish Mish
8. Ian Pooley - Organic
9. Robert Babicz - Eastside
10. Mike Dunn Presents The MD X-Spress - God Made Me Phunky (Aaron Ross & Alex Alvarez Remix)
11. Quivver - Yeah Yeah
12. Todd Terry & The Gypsymen - Babarabatiri (Copyright Remix)
13. Frankie Knuckles Presents Director's Cut Feat. Jamie Principle - Your Love (Director's Cut Signature Mix)
14. Marco Van Erpen - Addicted To Soulful Music
15. Guy J - Lamur (Henry Saiz Remix)
16. Hush - Think (The Hush Vocal Mix)
17. Suicide Sports Club - Black Dog (Gutterstylz Remix Alternative Dub)

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