Omar Mustafa is part of the younger class of DJs that have come up in Dallas in recent years. Mustafa has made the rounds as an audience member and as a DJ, playing at many of the key spots for the city's key promoters. Mustafa is always able to adapt his sets to the party, a skill most likely gained from seeing how this stuff works up close during a stint working at Afterlife. He breaks his DJ education down for us in this week's Mixtape.
Dallas Observer: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Mustafa: I started a little over six years ago as I was finishing up my first semester at UT Arlington. I managed to get the Numark CD DJ In a Box. For the next semester I took on the role of college student by day and dorm room DJ (aka most annoying roommate ever) by night, trying to get the basics down.
My buddy Rehan Ellahi (who lived a floor below me in the dorms and is the one who convinced me to buy the equipment) got himself the Numark CD DJ In A Box at about the same time so we were both starting at square one. From time to time I would walk over to his room (since he had better speakers) and have little practice sessions. We’d swap useful tutorial videos and articles, mess around with tracks and eat snacks.
How did you connecte with Afterlife?
Joe MxMind, who was in charge of bookings at Afterlife, asked Rehan and I to do a mix for the online radio show he was doing at the time. Somehow we managed to put together a short tag-team trance mix over the course of a weekend, which ended up getting broadcast. Fast-forward to September 2010, the weekend of Nocturnal Festival down in Austin, and MxMind offered me my first real gig, the 10 to 11 p.m. opening slot at Afterlife... He had me listen to demos and find new DJs to book at Afterlife. In return, he taught me about proper DJ etiquette and how a night progresses musically from open to close. He later on books me for my first gig, officially allowing me to be a part of Dallas DJ culture.
How did you start getting involved with Dallas DJ culture??
I got my first taste of Dallas DJ culture in 2009 when a friend from high school took me to Afterlife. Fascinated by the whole ordeal I immediately started going every week. It didn’t take long before I started befriending the Afterlife DJs and staff. Tim Schoenberg (DJ Tymeless) was the first DJ I got to know. He gave me a nice rundown of what DJ culture was and introduce me to other DJs like David Ringel and Josh Cavanaugh (who was in charge of lights and sound at Afterlife). I began helping with setting up/tearing down sound and lighting equipment shortly thereafter since I was already at the club every Friday and Saturday.
How did you make the transition to performing at Afterlife?
Eventually, I met Joe MxMind, who was in charge of bookings at Afterlife, and started assisting him with bookings. He had me listen to demos and find new DJs to book at Afterlife. In return, he taught me about proper DJ etiquette and how a night progresses musically from open to close. He later on booked me for my first gig, officially allowing me to be a part of Dallas DJ culture.
How was this mix made?
Pair of Pioneer CDJ 800mk2’s, a DJM 700, and about a week of fiddling around with tracks.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
There wasn’t really a theme. For the most part this mix is comprised of tracks that I’ve stumbled across in recent months. I also managed to fit in my all-time favorite track by Carlo Lio near the end of the mix, which I have been sneaking into my sets from time to time since 2011.
Do you have a preference as far as genres go?
Tech house and techno are my main genres. It’s what I enjoy mixing the most and have the most experience with. I also really love drum and bass. You can usually find me at Wits End on Thursday nights for Two:Tone’s Drum and Bass weekly.
Where do you like to dig for new tracks??
Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of new tracks on SoundCloud. I usually throw on a mix while I’m driving or walking around school. If I hear something I like, I’ll check to see if the track list is posted or I’ll use Shazam to try to ID the track. Shazam is surprisingly accurate and works more often than not. I also try to go through Beatport for new releases at least once a week.
What was the most profound musical experience you have had in the past year?
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I’m going to cheat on this question a little bit and go with an event that happened a little over a year ago: the first Crème de la Crème party at the end of November 2014. Dance Spirit performed an absolutely phenomenal live set. The duo had amazing control of the crowd from start to finish. It felt like the whole room was moving to the techno during the duration of their set. After that night I had a new level to try to obtain in terms of reading the crowd and set programming.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
March 19 I’ll be playing over at the Green Elephant for Love Rich Presents: Get Lucky 8! I'm super excited to be on the massive lineup this year alongside some of the most talented DJs Dallas has to offer. After that I’ll be playing at Wits End on Saturday, March 26 for Two:Tone’s multi-genre night. Lastly, I should be playing at Drugstore Cowboy’s Thursday weekly, Resonance, sometime in the beginning of April.
1) Booka Shade, Fritz Helder - Love Drug (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
2) Icarus, Aniff Akinola - Ride This Train (Icarus Basement Mix)
3) Animal Trainer, KANT - Dyster (Animal Trainer Remix)
4) 12 Tones - El Viaje (David Delgado 'Roundtrip' Mix)
5) RXE feat. Swagger - Void
6) Alex Ground, Joor Ghen - Alive Again
7) Andhim - Spayce
8) Frankey, Sandrino - Fornax
9) Booka Shade, Yaruba - Black Cow
10) Mr. Jefferson, Peter Crunch - Prank
11) Piers Crozier - TNT (Leftwing & Kody Remix)
12) Sam Paganini - Rave
13) Carlo Lio - Stuck In A Dream
14) Maceo Plex - Wash Away My Tears
15) Rodriguez Jr. - Mistral
16) Maribou State - Raincoats