Christian Zanni has been an active part of the Dallas DJ community since since the mid-2000s. Zanni is mostly associated with the DJ crew Motif and their parties. He has been a constant face amongst the local techno and house party scene, bringing his unique take on dance floor dogma to his reliably deep and floor-friendly DJ sets. For this week's Q&A, Zanni reveals some insights into his humble beginnings and what makes him tick as a DJ.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJ'ing? How Long have you been at it?
Zanni: I was originally introduced to DJing in 1999 through one of my best friends, Edmund Auger, who used to go by the local moniker DJ Edmond. I had moved to Miami for a few months after graduating college and went to live with him and his sister. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to pick up the craft, and being the broke recent college graduate, it would be a while before I actually invested in DJ gear for myself. It wasn't until 2006 that I actually took the craft of DJing seriously by learning programs and working with Ableton Live, Traktor and getting out to play actual shows. That being said, I grew up in a musical family and have been playing guitar, writing and composing, singing, etc. for over 20-plus years now.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The songs on this mix are tracks that simply show the level and quality of producers that are out there today. There is a blend of techno/tech-house feel in this mix and that's essentially the style I like to play at.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
These days I like to produce and remix as much as possible. My passion lies in actual production and creating things. It's an excellent feeling to produce something and play it out and have people dance to one's original music. I'm also a part of a couple of different record pools that send me demos. So when I make the time, I can spend hours on end listening to demos just to find a few tracks that will compliment my set.
Do you buy vinyl?
Not recently. If I know something might be a collector's item or something that is too good to pass up, then I will purchase it. I do believe vinyl will make a comeback and [be] a medium that will find its way back into clubs.
What is your involvement with Motif and how did that come about?
I met Roberto and Rebecca a couple of years ago. The relationship evolved and I've been a firm believer in their vision and what they're trying to do with the Dallas scene. They're both great friends and I believe in them as much as they believe in me. It's a partnership and they value creativity and vision and I do know that this collective group will be going places, so it's an exciting time to be part of it.
What DJs have had a significant impact on you?
Too many to list, and the reason being is because I truly feel like one can learn something from just about anyone. I will say from the very beginning those who had an early impact on me are my friend and musical partner in crime, Edmund. Chris Fortier was someone who I met over 15 years ago and who continues to have an influence on me. Bazell (Kazell) is someone who has provided sound advice over the years. Then there are those DJs who simply have been staples in the type of music I'm drawn to: Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing, Anthony Pappa, Oliver Giacamotto, Marco Corola, Digweed, Sasha, Pig&Dan, Pan-Pot.
What is your most memorable music experience of the past year?
At this very moment I would say having two original tracks being released on Aerotek in April with two remixes by Eddie Krystal and Marc Vaughn. In regards to my career, I would say the most memorable opportunity to date was a tour I was a part of that took us from Australia, Europe and down to Kuwait. I had the opportunity to play in front of 23,000 people in the U.K. That same year I DJed a pool party for 4.5 hours in Ibiza, which was a lot fun.
What other genres of music do you enjoy outside of dance music?
I really enjoy a wide variety of music. I grew up listening to Depeche Mode and U2, which had a strong influence on my desire to learn more about electronic music. That being said, I love the heavier stuff too - Metallica, Avenge Sevenfold, Tool, et cetera. For many years I was entrenched in listening to Spanish rock and enjoyed music from bands like Heroes Del Silencio, Caifanes, Café Tacuba, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and Soda Estero. Gustavo Cerati, who used to be the lead singer for Soda, went on do his own thing for many years, which also has a strong electronic influence on me.
What gigs do you have coming up?
No exact dates just yet, but with Motif we're working on some exciting events to take place later this Spring and Summer. Stay tuned!
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01 Solitary Daze :: Gabriel Ananda, Maceo Plex 02 Siamese Connection :: Martin Buttrich, Konrad Black 03 Riddim (System2 Remix) :: Raffa FL 04 Acid Weeks :: Jose De Divina, Tania Vulcano, AudioHell 05 Slip Away (Olivier Giacomotto Remix) :: Cari Golden, Bambook, Mennie 06 Moudness :: Miguel Bastida 07 Like That :: Leftwing, Kody 08 Loca Lola :: Sacha Robotti, Look Like 09 All Those Yesterdays :: Chicola -- play thru full into next trac 10 Our Freedom :: Jay Lumen 11 Interplanetary :: Olivier Giacomotto 12 Merckle (Eddie Krystal Remix) :: Christian Zanni 13 Techno At Last (Rework) :: Stereo Jack
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