DC9er Mixtape, Vol. 27: DJ Love

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DJ Love

isn't a Dallas native, but the seasoned DJ has made quite the name for himself around these parts thanks to several weekly gigs, a monthly gig, his own record label and an album that's about to drop.

A few other things distinguish him from the rest of the local cop: For one, he exclusively spins vinyl; you won't catch this DJ with a pair of CDJ's or macbook pro. He also shies away from the norm, describing his style as "funk, soul, and hip-hop culture mixed with electronic."

"I don't do really the mainstream thing," Love says. "There are enough new DJs out there doing that."

Check out DJ Love's exclusive DC9 mix after the jump. If you like what you hear, check out a second, live mix he passed along, too. Catch him live every Thursday night and every last Saturday of the month at Zubar on Lower Greenville, and every Friday in downtown Dallas at Ten Sports Grill. Read his full Q&A after the jump, too.

Like what you hear? Grab DJ's live mix from a recent performance at Ten Sports Lounge right here.

Christopher Whitten
DJ Love
How long have you been DJing for?

I started DJing in 1988 in Lawton, Oklahoma, my hometown.

How did you get your start DJing?
I wanted to produce and remix dance music. I couldn't afford turntables, but I was buying 12" dance singles on vinyl because, back then, that was pretty much the only way to get good, imported dance music and remixes. I bought them for my own listening pleasure. I had acquired a drum machine and an old mixing board from a friend. I took a 12" record and timed the a capella with some beats I made on the drum machine and I made my first "remix." It then occurred to me that if I could time a record and a beat from the drum machine together, I could probably time two records together. I went to a local teen club that I frequented and shared my idea with the DJ there. He put me right in the booth that night. He felt I had the rhythm and I already knew the music. And I became a DJ. It all just came natural. I actually ended up DJing for 6 years without ever owning my own turntables.

What was your first gig like?
My first DJ gig was at the teen club called Club Elite in Lawton, Oklahoma. I played all dance and hip-hop. From New Order to Rob Base to Renegade Soundwave to Stetsasonic. If it was on vinyl and in any kind of dance, club, or hip-hop genre, I would pretty much play it.

Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
One of my biggest influences is DJ Premier. From my breakbeat music to my hip-hop, he has a huge impact on how I produce my music. Also, Quincy Jones, Pete Rock, Stanton Warriors, Ed Solo are a few others.

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is basically funk, soul, and hip-hop culture mixed with electronic. When it comes to making or spinning breakbeat, it's all mostly fun and funky, extremely easy to move to, and definitely contains a huge dash of hip-hop flavor. When it comes making or spinning hip-hop, I play true-school, east coast hip-hop. I don't do really the mainstream thing. There are enough new DJs out there doing that. I still use vinyl records to this day and will never use CDs or a laptop to spin. When I say hip-hop, I mean the culture as well as the music.

Which DJ's do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
Favorite non-local DJs? DJ P, Mixmaster Mike, DJ Diverse, Matt The Alien. Favorite local DJs? Tyrone Smiley, A1, Sober, Schwa.

What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
I love breakbeat. Good, straight forward, funky breakbeat. I have more fun playing that than anything else but I really do love playing hip-hop. I work a lot harder when I play hip-hop because I use doubles and do a lot more scratching an turntablism in my sets. I still have more fun playing breakbeat because of the energy it creates. As far as music to listen to, I like good straight forward rock and roll. I'm a huge Rush fan but I listen to Queens of the Stoneage, Them Crooked Vultures, Foo Fighters, The Who. I really dig The Gorillaz, Cake, Fountains of Wayne, De La Soul, The Roots, EPMD, Jedi Mind Tricks, Supergrass... just to name a few.

How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
I actually just go through my records alphabetically, depending on what I'm playing that night whether it's breaks, hip-hop, or a variety. I start with the As and move all the way down to the Zs. I just pick records I want to hear or I think will work that night. That's pretty much it. On Friday nights at Ten Sports Grill, I take six bags of records. Not because I have to. I could get through a night with two--even one. I just want to create the real and pure experience of what a DJ is really about.

How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
It takes me about 30 or 45 minutes to an hour to pick out my records. I don't ever plan my sets. There are some mixes that I do that just sound so good together that they become new "versions" of a song, but for the most part, I do not plan anything. I start spinning and just basically select records based on what I think would sound good with the particular song playing. I actually put my records away every week and refill them each Thursday or Friday just to have a "fresh" mix.

What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
All of the above. I want to entertain and I do so by doing scratch sets, blending, and other turntable tricks in every set. Education is important for me as well because I want people to know there is different music out there and they do have a choice. People every week hear something new or see something they've never heard or experienced before. Which, in the end, makes it something different altogether after all, compared to what they get from all the other clubs.

What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
Lots of movement. I don't have a laptop so you won't see me standing there staring at a screen. I switch out records a lot. Sometime very fast to try to catch a mix. You'll see scratching and hear mixes or versions of songs you've never heard because I am creating the blends live. So the mix doesn't exist anywhere except in that exact moment or if I decide to record it.

What kind of equipment do you use?
I use two Technics 1200's that I am guessing are about 25 years old. For a mixer, I use Vestax PMC 05Pro III. I use only Shure M447 cartridges and needles and I install them with a special angle instead of having them placed straightforward, which is normal.

Requests. Love em or hate em?
Hate 'em. People tend to think that if they walk into a place and see a DJ, that person automatically has their music that they want to here. All of a sudden, I'm your personal human jukebox. It's very annoying and actually insulting sometimes. After 23 years of spinning, I still cringe at requests but every once in awhile, someone actually gets what you are doing and requests something that actually goes along with your set. That's very rare, though. I consider myself more of an artist type DJ.

If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
I have favorite places to play like The Guvernment in Toronto or Fabric in London. I guess I would really like to DJ on the big stage a huge festival in Europe. People really know how to get down over in Europe. Not so much in the USA.

What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
Well, I'm going to start with I am one of the last DJs that uses only vinyl. There's more to that answer but I think a lot of other people can reply to that better than I can, I think because they know better than I do.

When/where will you be playing next?
I play every Thursday night at Zubar on Lower Greenville.  I play every Friday in downtown Dallas at Ten Sports Grill which is on Main and Field.  I spin breaks every last Saturday at Zubar.

What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2010?
My debut album, which is being released on Air Recordings finally this year after working on it for three years. It will feature some local talent such as Leon The Pro, Luxi, Librado Biasca, and Info-Red. It will also feature some classic hip-hop artist such as Special Ed and Geechie Suede from the group Camp Lo. The album will be a mixture of funk, instrumentals, hip-hop, and breakbeat. Also I am updating my Stellar Music record label and rebuilding my music studio. I have been using basically same recording studio set up with a few minor changes and additions since 1994. It is time to upgrade and start releasing singles of breaks and hip-hop.

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