Gavin Guthrie has a gift for the follow through. Just a few years into his career as a dance music producer under the name TX Connect, Guthrie has more vinyl releases than most of his veteran peers in Dallas. In the past year alone, he dropped releases on European labels Lower Parts and Horn Wax. On Record Store Day earlier this month, he debuted Texas Recording Underground, a record label dedicated to getting Texas producers onto vinyl and out to a wider audience. A DJ committed to playing vinyl sets, his Q&A this week provides a glimpse into the mind of a serious crate digger with a depth of knowledge powering his studio productions.
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Dallas Observer: How did Texas Recording Underground come about?
TX Connect: Ever since I started being granted the opportunity to play music in front of people in some form or fashion, dating back to around 2006, I've met such a large amount of unique and talented musicians here in Texas. Since that time, I've forged so many great friendships and learned so much from these people and have always wanted to find a way to give back to them. To this day, I still find myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to release music on various labels from around the world. Someone once helped me get my start and now I want to do the same.
What other labels have you worked with over the past year?
In 2015 I was a part of the Hott EP on Run Out Run, and at the tail end of the year I released the Replacing Memories EP on Greece-based Lower Parts. In 2016 I've released a split EP on Horn Wax, a various artists compilation on Tusk Wax, and next week will see the release of my Untimely Emotions EP on Belfast-based Computer Controlled Records.
How was this mix made?
I used two Technics 1200 turntables and a Xone23 mixer in the comfort of my apartment.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I wouldn't so much say there is a theme for this. But as is pretty often the case with myself, recording mixes is an experiment in sifting through records recently purchased, records that have been sitting on the shelves for far too long needing some love, and continually finding your unique voice as a DJ.
How has your approach to production changed over the past few years?
I've essentially been tackling production in a similar way for about three years now. I can only place myself in the studio when an urge to create is there; I won't ever try and create music for the sake of it. I'll sit down, eye the synthesizers and drum machines up and down, choose my weapons of choice and start creating melodies, bass lines, drum patterns, et cetera. The overwhelming majority of my equipment was made in the 1980s and there always seems to be some technical issue with something, but that is just kind of the nature of it.
Is it a problem to have to troubleshoot like that when you're trying to work?
I wouldn't and couldn't do it any other way and I like working within the limitations of what gear I have, how well I know how to use it, and what musical abilities I may or may not have. Tracks are always recorded straight from the mixer in stereo to cassette deck or on a reel-to-reel. I've always been in love with and fascinated by the different levels of character these units add to your sound. Even using a different brand of tape can have a dramatic effect on the final output.
Do you have a preference between DJing and production?
I love both and could never imagine life without either of them. I love to produce in the comfort of my own home whenever inspiration arises and love to DJ to share my love of music with people. I spent many many years playing live and it got very taxing after a while; oftentimes it was a lot of work for very little reward. However, I plan to start playing live again on occasion with the acquisition of some new equipment that makes performing fun and engaging again.
Where do you like to dig for tracks?
I've been championing Josey Records for a little while now and always end up with some records I didn't expect to find, records I've been hunting for years, and records that I knew nothing about but now will hardly ever leave my crate. When it comes to buying online, I typically go with All Day Records in North Carolina for new stuff or Discogs for those records I know I probably have no chance of stumbling across in the wild.
What was the most profound musical experience you have had in the past year?
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I'd probably have to say a gig I played in Pittsburgh at a place called Sonny's Tavern. I had never been to that city before and was 100 percent blown away, as it was nothing like what I had envisioned. I got to play with some people I've known and respected for a while now, Ben Jenkins and Chase Smith. I was always very much into their productions but their DJ sets were nothing short of incredible.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
As of now, the T.R.U. Release party will be this Friday at a DIY spot in East Dallas. That'll be me alongside the Deep Shade crew, Cygnus, Vectorvision and E.R.P. This Sunday, May 1 I'll [also] be playing the Vice Palace two-year party [at RBC].
1. Bill Converse - Inward Fathoms
2. Blues Control - Tangier
3. TRASE - Unrequited Rock (1983 Inst.)
4. Red Rack’ em - Exhalt
5. Gemini - Memory
6. Joe Montana - Black Flava Theme
7. Random Ass White Label
8. Rockwell - Tokyo (Instrumental Version)
9. Chocolette - It’s That East Street Beat (Dub)
10. Que Tal America - Two Man Sound
11. Slimline - If You Can Dance You Can Do it
12. Cloud One - Spaced Out
13. Howard Johnson - So Glad You’re My Lady
14. Master C&J Ft. Liz Torres - We Were Meant To Be
15. Fresh - Dum-Dum
16. TX Connect - Jackin’ Like There Ain’t No Tomorrow Y’all