Blake Ward is one of the busiest DJs in Dallas, with four different weekly events and recently taking up the management of his new Four Four Booking agency. He has a longstanding Saturday night Glamorama gig at Beauty Bar, plays every Friday at Boxwood or Zaza, hosts a newish party called Jamz at Doublewide on Sundays and still finds time to branch out to new arenas with his techno-inspired Thursday night party at Red Light Lounge. As far as promotion goes, Ward is relentless, a perfect example of how to connect, inform and grow a DJ audience.
Ward has a deep knowledge in a wide range of music genres, but the constant throughout all his sets is a sense of fun. Lots of fun. The upbeat vibe he brings to his sets has made him a consistent draw amongst the young urban sect. Ward has not done a mix in many years and we are proud to host him on this week's DC9 at Night Mixtape. In the Q&A Ward reveals a bit of what fires him up to DJ at the relentless pace that would wear out most working DJs.
How did you get started DJing?
My friends in Oklahoma City threw a party called Robotic Wednesdays. I was miserable at Oklahoma University till I turned 21 and discovered that there actually were people in Oklahoma who liked the same music as me. I quickly went from attending their parties to opening up for them.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
Everywhere from itunes to blogs, Youtube, Beatport, train spotting my friend's sets, record digging and mixtapes.
Your repertoire covers a pretty wide array of music. What genres or types of tracks do you lean to most as of late?
I like tracks with a heavy bass line and great vocals.
What other types of music are you into outside of dance music?
I really like old post punk stuff. One of my favorite bands is the Comateens.
What is your relationship with techno and house?
I'm certainly more of a house and indie dance DJ than techno. However I think techno is great. I'm not really a techno expert yet but a lot of techno stuff coming out right now is really inspiring and interesting.
Who have been some of your favorite DJs to share a bill with?
My favorite local DJs to play with are Feezy, who I throw Jamz with at Doublewide, Colly T, and Redsean. Jacques Renault and Juan Maclean were my two favorites touring DJs.
Who are some of your favorite producers and DJs, locally or otherwise?
I've been playing a lot of Para One and SOPHIE tracks lately. You can't go wrong with anyone on the Marble Players, Bromance, Safer at Night, Sound Pellegrino, DFA or Numbers Record labels.
How did Four Four agency come about? What are your future plans for the agency?
I was working with another agency, but 80 percent of my gigs I got on my own. I realized that If I booked really good local DJs I could offer better service and pay them better. It works out for everyone involved. We are focusing heavily on fashion-oriented events, corporate gigs, retail store events, private parties and wedding DJs. All my DJs have no problem getting booked on their own in the club world so I leave that to them.
Who is on your roster and how did you meet them?
Everyone I book is first and foremost a friend I trust and a DJ I respect. There are currently six people DJing for me and I hope to expand in the future. John Feezy, who has played at practically every club in town and can throw down a set in any genre better than most, Adam Pickrell who is not only a great DJ but a great keyboard player and producer, Tony Schwa who everyone knows from Coolout, Remy Ryan who handles a lot of our fashion events, Colly T who is one of the newest game changers in Dallas, and myself.
What drives you to stay so busy? I genuinely love to DJ and it doesn't feel like work when something is your passion. My fun DJ gigs are the reward for all the hard work I do for corporate type stuff, and even those are usually pretty fun.
What are your long term goals as a DJ?
I love where I'm at right now as a DJ and if I never move beyond this point I'll be proud of what I've accomplished. Right now I'm focusing on having fun with my club gigs and growing my corporate business with Four Four Agency.
Do you have any favorite festivals or annual music events that you look forward to?
I really enjoyed Fun Fun Fun Fest this year, especially the SOPHIE after party. I haven't been to SXSW for a few years but that's always a fun time. Festivals allow like-minded people to come together from a greater area and I think that's really special. Some of the stuff I like doesn't have a huge following in Dallas y et.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I made my mix in Abelton. It's the first mix I've made in a couple years, and it's a selection of tracks I play at Beauty Bar.
You made this mix in Ableton? Do you have any plans for production?
I think it would be a bit cliche for me to say I'm getting into production at this point. Yes, I would like to put out my own music, but I have a lot to learn about music production before that happens and I hope to do that. Producing music the right way is very difficult and time consuming and I won't put anything out until I can really stand behind it and say I did the work.
Tracklist: 1. Mosca - Done Me Wrong 2. Bicep - Vision of Love 3. Deadboy - Des Niles 4. Disclosure - Whats in Your Head 5. Para One - You Too 6. Motez - Ride Roof Rack 7. Azealia Banks - 212 8. Anna Lunoe - All Out 9. Lxury - J.A.W.S 10. Robyn - Do It Again (Moulinex Remix) 11. Strip Steve -- Mega (Marble Players Remix 12. The Magician - Enchanted Land
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