DJs come in all shapes and sizes, varying from casual weekend raver to the career, full-time DJ. Mike Stewart is the latter. He makes people happy for a living by pulling from a wide variety of genres in the two DJ businesses of which he is part owner.
Stewart is a multipurpose DJ who knows how to curate a track list for every occasion or dance floor. For this week's mixtape, he put together a diverse, fun and funky summer track list filled with fast cuts.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started deejaying? How long have you been at it?
Mike Stewart: In 2001, I had a roommate that bought some Numark turntables. My friends and I all started buying vinyl from Bill’s Records and Tapes and trying to mix. Everyone that I started playing with lost interest over the years, but I never stopped, and then I starting playing clubs around 2003.
What drew you into the culture?
The music for sure: Rabbit in the Moon, Paul van Dyke, Diesel Boy, Paul Oakenfold — all the greats that were smashing clubs around the world. Everything else was secondary.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I’ve always been against Ableton mixes; however, I decided to do that for this one for the first time.
I don’t have a particular theme. It’s more of a vibe: heavy and melodic with a lot of soul.
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You are a more-than-capable DJ who can play all over the map. Are there any genres you lean toward?
I DJ almost any event requiring music that you could think of. During the college semesters, I’m all over SMU, TCU, down to Austin and everywhere in between, playing for rowdy college kids as well as playing for corporate events and about 20 weddings a year.
Being that I’m required to know that many different genres very well, I keep an inclusive musical palette. I think being able to reach many different genres in each set that you play makes you more desired as a DJ since you’re able to connect with more people. I’ll play the Beatles and the latest Kendrick Lamar in the same set. Good music is still good music, no matter the decade.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
I used three different subscription services, but I’m also sent a lot of tracks from friends in the industry. It’s a way different world now than when us DJs would spend hours in record shops finding gems; now it’s spent behind a computer screen scouring the edges of the internet. There’s great music everywhere; it’s just harder to find, and I think that’s the one thing that has never changed.
Who are some of your favorite producers and DJs and why?
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by some of my favorite DJs and producers right here in Dallas. Left/Right, Black Frames, Zander, AFK, Junk Food — the list goes on and on for talent that we have. The Audiophile Live label, which has now added Deep and XXL, has blown up over the last few years and have been providing some great tunes lately. DJ Titan will probably always be my favorite Dallas DJ. Throttle, SNBRN and James Hype are a few that I’ve been digging nationally.
What was your most significant musical experience of the past year?
Most of my favorite events this year have been kinda smaller underground parties. I’ve seen Kastle and, more recently, Destructo with a lot of the Shipfam crew (track shoutout on the last song of my mix), and that’s been an experience. SXSW was also great this year. I got to be involved with Prime, throwing a massive house party, and got to see lots of friends deejay all over Austin.
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How much do you dip into the production side of things?
I’ve been using Ableton for about 10 years to do edits and produce some originals. I’m a big fan of everything that Native Instruments puts out as I deejay on Traktor, so I use a lot of the VSTs from NI Komplete. The biggest edit I’ve done was with Fashion Replicas, and it was Stardust — "Music Sounds Better with You (Dallas Jersey Club Bootleg)."
it seems you are heavily influenced by Dallas DJs. How did that come about?
Everywhere I go in the business and in musical endeavors, I try to build a network of people around me. Dallas has a lot of talent, tons of venues and many, many industry professionals. We all have to support each other to make the scene work, and I try to show that in the work I do. I like to work on a regional scale with my team that we’ve built up over the years. The key to accomplishing most anything is to surround yourself with the right people. None of us can do it by ourselves.
Is there a track that you always come back to as a DJ?
Not particularly, but I’m always looking for the newest remixes of all the great classics. I’ve always played more remixes than originals.
Hotfire – "Ya Right"
Luca Debonaire – "Walking on Clouds (Croatia Squad Remix)"
Chris Lake – "I Want You (Cutdown)"
Flux Pavilion – "Bass Cannon (Cazztek Remix)"
Yo Majesty – "Club Action (Smookie Illson Booty — Keith MacKenzie and Fixx Edit)"
Malaa – "Diamonds"
Throttle – "Money Maker"
Destructo & Volac – "What I Got"
Chris Lake – "Stranger"
Scotty Boy – "Game on Lock"
Big Boi Feat. Trozé – "Chocolate"
Crazibiza & Santa Cruz – "Something on my Mind (Crazibiza Remix)"
Alfred Azzetto and Ian Carrera – "Music Selecta (Ian Carrera Club Mix)"
D-Bass – "Show Me What You Got (Stanton Warriors Edit)"
Zander & Left/Right – "Can’t Stop"
CLB – "Rock Them"
Chocolate Puma & Moksi – "Hippo"
Joel Fletcher – "Phantom"
Brenmar – "Hula Hoop (DiscoTech Remix)"
Destructo & Bot Feat. Anna Lunce & Sgt. Buzzkill – "Shipfam (Subset x Dusty Bits Remix)"