Donny Young has been an active part of the Dallas DJ community since the early '90s heyday of rave -- first as a fan, and then as a DJ since 1996. Young 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 two decades' worth of experience to his reliably deep and floor-friendly DJ sets. For this week's Q&A, Young connects a few dots between his identity as a DJ and where he fits in the cogs of Dallas dance history.
How long have you been J'ing?
I would say I truly began DJing in early 1996. The record store camaraderie was alive and well in those days. I miss that more than anything about this game. Being around this long, you see cycles. What's old is new again. It's fascinating to see a new cat get hooked on an old tune.
When did you start DJing?
I started DJ'ing in 1996 after a most inspirational night in 1995 watching DRC at the old Industry building, 2820 Canton. I had never seen a DJ captivate a crowd in such an energetic fashion. It was a melding of my two most passionate things at the time, theater and music. Not only did she play fantastic music, but her stage presence was larger than life. I read an article about how she began by using her tax return to buy her gear. I bought my mixer and second turntable with mine.
And so that's how you got started?
In June of '96, I met Chris Fortier in Orlando. I was inspired to go the progressive house route after hearing BBE's Seven Days and One Week. That was a seminal record for me. I was always into underground dance music, getting into parties at a very young age. I was raised on Rob Vaughn and Red Eye, two of Dallas' finest.
Did you play instruments before you started DJing?
I dabbled with guitar for two years prior to getting my turntables. And [I was] a terrible drummer!
Who are some of your favorite DJs or producers?
I come from a very trance and progressive mindset, as that's what I first started playing in the mid '90s. I was playing goa, hard trance, epic trance and progressive house. My taste completely changed in June of 2012 after seeing Inxec at La Santanera in Playa del Carmen, Mexico -- the home of BPM, by the way. I fell in love with deep house and techno all over again. Some of my favorite DJs right now are Dixon, Solomun, Adriatique and Droog. Producer wise, the aforementioned DJs work of course and David August is absolutely amazing to me.
What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of dance music?
I focus solely on deep house and techno at the moment whilst DJing. If anything, the indie scene has some funky little ditties that do find their way into the mix.
Do you have any favorite festivals that you like to visit?
The BPM Festival is amazing. I've been two years in a row. I can't recommend it enough. The lineup each year is breathtaking and the locale is unrivaled. The annual Blue Venado party is a can't-miss. The sunrise there is the most beautiful place on earth with the world's finest DJ's at the helm. My first year Masters at Work, Francesca Lombardo and Damian Lazarus were there doing their Rebel Rave party. Last year was Innervisions. Dixon, Ame, Mano le Tough and David August presented, hands down, the best event I've ever been to.
What is your involvement in Motif? How did that relationship come about?
My involvement with Motif has been a rollercoaster of greatness. I met Roberto and Rebecca at a Fwd party that Christian Zanni and I were doing at the now defunct Zubar. They were impressed with what we were doing and asked to partner up. Our first party together, which seems like eons ago, was Cupid Goes Deep on February 13 of last year. I've been working with them ever since. I absolutely love where their hearts are and I'm looking forward to what we have planned in the very near future and beyond.
How was this mix made?
This mix was recorded straight through two CDJs and a mixer. No post production or sync button action whatsoever.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I selected tracks that I'm currently feeling. I pride myself on trying to be forward thinking and always strive to present upfront music with the occasional classic if it fits the vibe.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
I am going to be opening for a huge up and coming act that, as of today, I cannot mention, but I will say, save the date of November 29!
Besides your own residencies what DJ nights do you like to frequent?
I love It'll Do. It's just a fantastic home base for Dallas. It was recently voted Best Dance Club in Dallas this year and rightfully so. The sound system is perfect with the wooden dance floor. There are certain spots where the bass will literally move you. How can you NOT like that?! Beyond that, Crown & Harp, Red Light Lounge, Beauty Bar, Scotch & Sausage, Wits End, Sandaga 813 are all places where you'll find me. The BOOM kids have a fun thing going on, Proton creates fantastic dj nights/mornings, Soundslike are beyond consistent, the Trillwave kids have forged a sound of their own, FUTURE have a unique art, light and sound concept, LoveRich continue to produce great parties. Socially Correct, Nu Groove, Deep Shade, Vibe.
You must be out a lot then!
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
So many quality nights. So many options. My concern is we need to add new people into our scene and cease to be so "cliquish" in nature. Support each other. We all love dance music. It shouldn't be about JUST seeing your friends. More diverse lineups with the insane talent this fair city carries, I say!
Tracklist: 1. Anthony Middleton - Controllin Things (Dance Spirit Nocturnal Behavior Remix) 2. Adriatique - Ion 3. Culoe de Song - Gyser 4. Adriatique - Rollox 5. Loco-Volver - There Is No Light (16 Bit Lolitas Remix) 6. Daniel Maher - A Call From Within (Martin Buttrich Remix) 7. Daino - Without Your Love 8. DJ PP, Jack Mood - Optical Swing 9. Culoe de Song - Y.O.U.D. 10. Solomun = Curesto 11. Amadar - Don't You Know (Teenage Mutants Remix)
DC9 AT NIGHT'S GREATEST HITS
50 Signs You've Been Partying Too Long in Denton Florida Georgia Line Danced on the Grave of Country at Gexa on Saturday What Your Favorite North Texas Band Says About You Does Dallas Want Its Own Austin City Limits? The Best Places in Dallas to Go When You're Stoned