JT Donaldson is something of a jack of all trades. Partner of Josey Records, globetrotting DJ, occasional promoter and a prolific producer. He jumpstarted a lengthy career in house music with the "Duality" single on DJ Cajmere's legendary Chicago house label Casual records in 1996 and has continued to churn out hundreds of productions ever since. Up until recently he was also holding down multiple residencies in town. As a true-to-heart crate digger, his musical palette goes far beyond the house music he is most known for and his mix for this week's mixtape is no exception. Donaldson breaks down a bit of how he got started, where he has gone and what he is up to next in this week's Q&A.
DC9 at Night: How did you get started DJing? How long have you been DJing?
Donaldson: I grew up around music and my parents would always bring home records and CDs, but it wasn't until I was about 13 when I starting getting into DJing and buying records myself. My older brother would bring home mixtapes and I would record mixes off of the radio before I was old enough to get into clubs.
Did you play music before you started DJing?
Which do you prefer, DJing or producing?
I'm more in my comfort zone in the studio. But it's hard to choose because I have so much love for the art form and craft of DJing. I was lucky to see some really amazing sets when I was coming up, and when I'm in the studio, 99 percent of the time, the end result is crafted for the DJ and dance floor.
How many releases do you have out there?
Oh, I 've got a few but I haven't checked Discogs lately... Probably 300-plus including remixes and original production, compilation appearances etc.
Out of your catalogue of tracks, do you have a particular favorite?
I like certain ones for their own reasons, but I think "Getting Up" where I flipped this Q-Tip scat might be one of my favorites at the moment.
You are known for house music. What other genres or artists do you like to spin or listen to outside of house music?
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Everything. I draw from whatever sounds good to my ears. I listen to a lot of jazz at home, world music, soul, funk, disco, house and techno of course. But everything has the ability to inspire, so I try and stay open.
Do you have any favorite records that are always in your crate?
Yeah, I carry some rotating staples with me. You usually can find some Fingers, Moodymann, Chez Damier and Ron Trent. Chicago and Detroit always stay in the record bag.
What drove you to get involved with Josey Records?
I think Luke [Sardello], Waric [Cameron] and I all felt we needed a spot like Josey. Something that Dallas just didn't have. There are great and iconic record stores here, but we just had our own take on what we though the record buying experience should feel like. We've all worked at shops in the past; Waric and I both worked at stores out in Los Angeles, Luke is the mad scientist of record knowledge and just lives and breathes it. So it just made sense to give it a shot.
How was this mix made? Is there a particular theme for the track selection?
The mix was made at home using all vinyl with the exception of the D'Angelo tune which isn't out on vinyl yet. So your basic DJ set-up of two turntables and a CDJ, run through a Marantz receiver and recorded into Logic. The theme is a quick look at some of my favorite releases of 2014.
What gigs do you have in the near future?
I'm actually taking a bit of a hiatus at the moment and concentrating on music production. I had a fairly hectic year holding down 3 nights a week locally as well as the Fresh45s events at Crown & Harp, so I'm just trying to carve out some time to get back into the creative side of things,
Besides your own residencies what DJ nights do you like to frequent?
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I'll hit Cool Out here and there because I like what Tony does and it's on a Monday night, so I'm off work myself, but I don't really get out much to be honest.
Tracklist: 1. Fatima Al Qadiri - Shanghai Highway 2. Taylor McFerrin - Invisible/Visible feat. Bobby McFerrin 3. BadBadNotGood - Kaleidoscope 4. BadBadNotGood - Kaleidoscope (Kaytranada Flip) 5. Caribou - Mars 6. Theo Parrish - Footwork 7. Flying Lotus - Never Catch Me feat. Kendrick Lamar 8. Sinkane - New Name 9. Kindness - World Restart feat. Kelela & Ade Zackey 10. Force Funk - Press Play 11. SBTRKT - Gon Stay feat. Sampha 12. Taylor McFerrin - Stepps 13. D'Angelo - Betray My Heart | 14. Quadron - Sea Salt 15. Seven Davis Jr. - Friends
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