For close to a decade, Nick Cassiani -- performing under the DJ name 4-D -- has been a regular face among area bass DJs. Originally carving out his niche with the infamous Pubstep residency in Denton, he eventually relocated to Dallas, where he can be found guesting at different parties. Cassiani is a rare bird among local DJs because, in addition to pursuing DJing, he's also played in punk rock bands. His open mind and true selector ear is reflected in the music and thoughtfulness of his mixes.
For this week's DC9 at Night Mixtape, 4-D created a unique hybrid of Memphis rap and U.K. grime. In the Q&A, 4-D dives into the thought process behind his chaotic bass.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
4-D: I bought a pair of Numark TT-200s in '06, I think. I realized that I tended to monopolize control over the music wherever I was, and I figured I might as well start DJing.
How did you get involved in the dubstep residency in Denton?
I started Pubstep at Campus Pub right next to UNT in '09. My friend was working as a bartender there and was looking to replace some DJ who, according to her, "sucked." Over the next three years, it went from me playing all five hours of it out of my vinyl collection and violating fire code in a 33 max capacity bar for free beer all night to a nicer bar, collaborating with Welsh Embassy, Cyberina Flux, Replicant, DJ Vivid and Bastard Mike, and drawing people up from Dallas on a Wednesday.
What is your take on dubstep jumping the shark?
I can't think of another genre of music that went from open, fresh, exciting and interesting to banal, formulaic, uninspired garbage as quickly. Don't misunderstand me; I still love dubstep, but I feel like I always have to qualify that statement by saying, "But you know, not the dubstep you're thinking of." Fuck Skrillex, "Party With Sluts" shirts and furry boot go-go dancers. Eyes down!
Is there a particular theme for the track selection of this mix?
The selection is almost exclusively newer grime and Memphis rap from the mid-'90s. All of which I slowed and throwed on actual turntables. I mostly just played what I've been jamming lately and I also wanted to do a mix that illustrated why turntables still matter to DJing.
How did you get into grime?
I was turned on to U.K. dance music initially through jungle. That introduced me to two-step, grime and dubstep around the same time that I had scraped together the money to buy turntables.
Do you buy vinyl?
Definitely! Although, I don't buy as much dance music vinyl these days since keeping up with the rapid pace of new releases makes buying all but the most important tunes prohibitively expensive.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
Redeye Records, Juno, Boomkat, direct from the artists, or some dark, secret corner of the web I'm not at liberty to discuss.
What DJs have had a significant impact on you?
D-Styles, for making turntablism simultaneously funky and dark. DJ Screw, obviously. DJ Hype's spastic early hardcore stuff. Mary Anne Hobbs, for her work on Breezeblock. Mark Archer. Overcast. OG Ron C. There's a bunch.
What is your most memorable music experience of the past year?
Without a doubt, Timeghost's set at House of Tinnitus' show at RGRS earlier in the year. It was just one of the most intense sets I've heard in recent memory.
Do you have a preference between DJ and production?
DJing certainly comes more naturally to me. I appreciate the spontaneous and tangible nature of DJing above production's thoughtful tweaking.
What other genres of music do you enjoy outside of dance music?
I have always been an avid consumer of punk (everything from '77 to skate punk to d-beat to pop-punk). Lately, I've been digging on a lot of what broadly gets chucked into the blanket genre of "noise." Beyond that, I get into almost everything I can: industrial, metal, sound-collage, blues, folk, et cetera.
What gigs do you have coming up?
The big one is the Murlo show that LEEIII, Keith P, Lars Warn and I are doing at Ash Studios on May 16. It's Murlo's first tour in the U.S. from London. We're playing everything from grime to azonto to dancehall. It should be a good time.
Inkke - Tryna Pull Hoe DJ Zirk - Fuck Em All CYPHR - Ekleipsis Kahn - Badman City (ft. Flowdan) Gage - Telo D double E - Wolly Triple Six Mafia - Nine to Yo Dome Killa P & Badness - Nuh Failer (El-Plate x Kid Kult Remix) Chemist - Defiance Koopsta Knicca - Crucifix (ft. DJ Paul) The Bug - Skeng (Kode 9 Remix) Bone Squad - Skal & Bones Wen - Play Your Corner (ft. Riko Dan) Rabit - Red Candles
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