Dr. Skotch has quickly built a reputation in Dallas as a top-notch selector, one who specializes in DJing 7-inch records (or 45s as they're affectionally called). He first established his name as an MC in the burlesque scene before diving headfirst into the mystic ways of the turntable. As one of the rotating DJs at Single Wide's Stoned Soul Saturdays, he brings his brand of foot-stomping soul burners once a month. Dr. Skotch has also popped up DJing for go-go troupe the Pistollettes and guesting at Off The Record's weekly Soul Funktion.
Unlike some of the 45 nights in town, Dr.Skotch leans heavy on the '50s and '60s side of the soul business with a prodigious level of track selections geared towards getting a room to shake their shoes. For this weeks Mixtape Q&A, Skotch dives into his diverse musical past and leads us to his up-and-coming DJ present.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Dr. Skotch: I've been doing the occasional wedding or party here and there since the early '90s, but never had much interest in being a club DJ. In the last five years or so I started collecting records more seriously, and then met some other like-minded DJs that inspired me with what they were doing. I always played records at home, but didn't get my first set of professional turntables to gig with until about two years ago.
Where did your DJ name come from?
The name actually came from my work with the burlesque scene. I have been performing in productions (usually as an MC or bit player) for over 7 years as Dr. Skotch. I even tried my hand at boylesque a couple of times! Since a lot of people in Dallas and Denton knew me by that name, it seemed natural to keep using it.
Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
Not particularly. I did try to pull together a cross section of the various styles that I'm known for. In my mind, I do see all the tracks as 'party' records, so I guess that could be a theme.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
I'm not going to lie: Digital downloading allowed me to amass huge amounts of hard-to-find music over the years. Pulled from blogs and various file sharing services that have come and gone, I've digested tons of '50s and '60s mp3s over the years. From there it's just a matter of cherry-picking the standout tracks and seeking them out on vinyl. The Austin Record Convention is a must; Discogs, Ebay and Youtube are indispensable as well. Norton and Sundazed are two companies well worth checking out; they put out fantastic re-releases of obscure and/or impossible to find rarities on vinyl.
What led you to focus on 45s for your DJ sets?
I really just prefer them to LPs in every single way. Unfortunately, collecting them can be a serious addiction! I love everything about them. The cool labels, the company sleeves, the little adapters -- everything. Aesthetics aside, the simple fact is that some of the most amazing records were put out by artists that would never release a full-length LP. For gigs, their smaller size makes them easier to handle, swap out during sets, and haul in large quantities. I can't imagine doing a set without them. I think I inherited my love for 45s from my father, who has a 1966 Rock-Ola GP/Imperial jukebox in the living room that's always "hungry" for new records.
Do you still buy vinyl?
All the time!
What DJs and artists have had a significant impact on you as a DJ?
DJ CDP (Charlie Don't Park) and Cowhide Cole of "The Rockabilly Revue" on KNON, DJ Mr. Rid and Marcos Prado; his ongoing soul event, "The Smoke," was a big influence. I had the pleasure of working with him on a few events last year. DJs Gabriel and Sir Scott Mack were very supportive when I was getting started; just really nice guys. They would invite me to come out to their gigs, bring some records and sit in as a guest DJ. In between sets, we would just talk music and records. It was great. They were kindred spirits if ever there were any. I still consider myself the new kid on the block compared to them, but they never did or said anything to make me feel that way.
What is your most memorable music experience of the past year?
It's still pretty early in the year, but so far it would have to be a tie between seeing Los Straitjackets with Deke Dickerson at Trees and seeing Ape Hangars at Sundown at Granada (during Rockers vs. Mods). Los Straitjackets are one of my favorite bands of all time; they're always trying new concepts, and their latest album with Deke is no exception. Ape Hangars are one of the best-kept secrets in Dallas; straight-up traditional surf rock done very well is a rarity these days (in Texas, anyways). They just put out a killer 10-inch vinyl EP; check it out.
What is your most memorable DJ gig to play?
I'd have to say sitting in with DJ CDP and the guys as a guest DJ of "The Rockabilly Revue" on KNON. I guess I never thought I would ever be on the radio sharing the music I love, but I was!
Do you have any favorite cuts that you always keep in your crates?
I always keep a couple of Chess-era Bo Diddley records in there; you're guaranteed to hear at least one in any set of mine.
What genres of music do you specialize in for your DJ sets?
'50s, '60s, pop, rockabilly, blues, garage, R&B, soul, surf, instrumentals and exotica.
What gigs do you have coming up?
I spin at Single Wide from 4 to 8 p.m. the third Saturday of every month for "Stoned Soul Saturday." Also, this Saturday, May 2, I'll be at Off The Record for "The Shakedown," a newly created monthly event featuring the Pistolettes A Go-Go, a Dallas based go-go troupe. I would really like to start my own podcast at some point soon; it's an idea that I've been toying with for quite some time.
Tracklist: 1. Intro 2. The Egyptian Combo - Theme from Dr. Zhivago 3. Screaming Lord Sutch - Jack The Ripper 4. Harold Burrage - She Knocks Me Out 5. The Delegates - Pygmy 6. Paul Kelly - Chills and Fever 7. Len Barry - It's A Cryin' Shame 8. Dobie Gray - Out On The Floor 9. The Cherries w/The R18hythm Kings - You Know You Gonna Need Me 10. Red West Combo - My Babe 11. Charles Sheffield - It's Your Voodoo Working 12. J.D. McPherson - I Wish You Would 13. Roger & The Gypsies - Pass The Hatchet 14. Elmore James - Rollin' And Tumblin' 15. Travis Wammack - It's Karate Time 16. Bo Diddley - Dancing Girl 17. The Caezars - Broken Hearted And Mean 18. The Shardells - Black Crack 19. Manny Corchado - Pow Wow 20. Johnny Zamot - Are You Ready? 21. Willie Mitchell - Take Five 22. Jamo Thomas & His Party Orchestra - I Spy (For The FBI) 23. Ray Charles - I Don't Need No Doctor 24. The Litter - Action Woman 25. Booker T.& The MG's - Boot-leg 26. Len Wade - Boss Bea
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