Joel Gajewski is one of many old-school DJs playing around Dallas that has a secret: He loves techno. He owns it, listens to it at home, but rarely gets to play it out in public venues. That is slowly changing in Dallas, a city where four on the floor club music is dominated by a deeply rooted house scene.
For this week's mixtape Gajewski digs into his own roots and banged out a solid hour of floor-stomping techno. But in true mysterious techno tradition (once upon a time DJs would cover their tracklists with white tape to keep them secret), he has not provided us a tracklist. This week's Q&A Gajewski reveals a bit of his journey as a DJ in the Dallas scene over the past decade.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been at it?
Gajewski: I was inspired by going out in Detroit and listening and dancing to what was being played. I bought my first decks back in 2001, but had started buying DJ-type vinyl before that, as it was the only way to hear club music at home, essentially. I played my first gig in public in 2004 at Minc, I think.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
I used two CDJ 200s, Pioneer mixer, Traktor Scratch and a small, external Tascam recorder that I ran into the back of my mixer. I picked the tracks to kind of illustrate the variety of influences on my musical taste, so there are some old and new tracks in this mix. The first mix I made had a couple tracks that didn't quite fit, so I re-recorded an entirely new mix with some substitutions and additions.
Do you still buy vinyl?
I do buy vinyl, if the record has some significance or if it is the only medium it is available. I love vinyl, but don't miss dragging around crates of records to gigs. Plus, there was always that "one" record that didn't fit in your bag.
Where do you dig for tracks for your sets?
I typically use Traxsource, Beatport. Hell, sometimes iTunes. I also like to raid my own old crates of vinyl for tracks that I may have forgotten about.
What is your relationship with Techno?
It was my first musical obsession, so it is near to my heart. Being in Dallas for over 10 years now, sometimes I forget how much I enjoy hearing it since it is less-played than other genres. Techno has had a sordid history in this town and became neglected, after I moved here, despite efforts to keep it going by a lot of people. Surprisingly now, it is on a steady upswing, which is fantastic.
What do you spin mostly nowadays?
I typically play house and nu-disco type stuff; it seems to be the most easily digestible music for the masses these days. Plus, I tend to play smaller venues and it lends itself to the vibe of those places; makes it cozy.
Who are some of your biggest DJ inspirations?
Derrick May is hands down one of the best DJs I have ever seen and I have seen him several times; he never dials in a performance. I have seen him mix two records, while changing out a reel to reel. Carl Cox still stands out because of his "Mixed Live at Crobar" DJ mix. John Acquaviva is sort of a DJ's DJ and can play for hours; I was once lucky enough to catch him in Richie Hawtin's tiny club in Windsor and it was like watching him in his own living room at a house party.
What other types of music are you into outside of dance music?
I listen to just about everything under the sun: Rock, punk, ska, jazz, classical, hip hop, and even a little pop music (yikes).
Who are some of your favorite producers, locally or otherwise?
Convextion is a great, hidden treasure in Dallas, I had no idea he was not from Detroit, until I met him here, in Dallas. Of course Maetrik is always doing good things. I always like the projects Redeye is part of, too. John Walker is also a big inspiration. With regards to non-local producers, it ranges: Jimmy Edgar, Christian Smith, Todd Terje, Holy Ghost.
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What gigs do you have coming up?
Right now, I am playing The Windmill with J-Who the second Saturday of each month and may have a new event popping up at a new venue within the coming months, so stayed tuned for that.
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