Music producers, DJs and electronic music purists, Rodrigo Diaz and Oleg Belogorsky have been tag-teaming the local electronic/dance music scene for a few years now with multiple DJ gigs and their own radio show.
And while the pair states they enjoy their artistic freedom and, with it, the ability to play whatever kind of music they wish, it's not likely Diaz or Belogorsky will bore their party-going patrons to tears.
The duo admits that their main objective when it comes to spinning is straightforward -- to ignite the dance floor.
"Although I do have my roots and most of my musical knowledge in purist forms of electronic music, I play whatever I think is the hottest thing" says Diaz. (Full disclosure: You might recognize his name from the Observer pages. Diaz, in addition to DJing, pens our weekly Denton-centric North of the Dial column.) "I hate being confined to a genre or set of genres, and I only care about the dance floor."
As for Belogorsky's main objective when it comes to spinning: "To make people move or be moved."
The pair have yet to announce the date of their next gig, but, in the meantime, make sure to check out their DC9er mix and their two-part Q&A, posted in full after the jump.
How long have you been DJing?
RD: For five years.
OB: About five to six years.
How did you get your start DJing?
RD: I started DJing after my friends Oleg Belogorsky (who I still DJ and produce music with to this day) Mike Shuster (with whom I also currently produce music) and I started a live PA project called TOTAL VENGEANCE. We began by learning how to make music on synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines, and only later got into DJing. After accumulating enough music on our computers, Oleg and I started playing it at house parties we would throw. We found that we could get people to listen to the deeper, more sophisticated and subtle electronic music we played if we just introduced it properly -- with somewhat similar songs that got the listeners' ears accustomed to the sounds and drum rudiments.
OB: I started DJing after I started producing music. It was a natural progression, I suppose, after accumulating a lot of music that I love. It just seemed proper to share and play the records for people. My friends and I started throwing house parties to get our "start."
What was your first gig like?
RD: Our first gig was at Fallout Lounge, at which we eventually had a monthly. It was a lot different than the house parties, and there wasn't as much freedom. There was a bar owner to answer to, which I didn't like and to this day do not like.
OB: For the most part, I enjoyed it. It was before the whole blog house indie hipster craze and we pulled a diverse crowd who all seemed to enjoy the music.
Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
RD: Danny Wolfers (Legowelt), James Stinson and Gerald Donald (Drexciya) and Alex Lugo (Ultradyne) are some of my biggest influences in terms of producers. Locally, Rik Simpson (R9), Gus (Convextion), Minto George and Jonathan Graham (DJG) have had even more influence because they're the people whose DJ skills and record collections (including actual records they put out) really helped inform my knowledge of the upper echelons of techno/electro/house/acid/etc. Essentially, they were doing it before I was, and they are in every way my mentors.
OB: James Stinson and Gerald Donald of Drexciya are definitely at the top of the list. Alexandres Lugo and Dennis Richardson of Ultradyne have had a huge impact on my style as well. Other than those names, I'd have to say that the people who influence me the most are local; Gerard Hansen, Rick Simpson, Bill Converse, Minto George, Brian Hurley, Luke Sardello, and Brian Bishop. These people have been DJing, producing, and running record labels way before I picked up a synthesizer or played records. They're a huge influence and inspiration to my musical endeavors and are in many ways my mentors. The "underground" music scene in Texas is quite strong and really keeps me inspired to do my part as well. Much like the conditions of Detroit shaped their particular sounds, I feel that my environment has done the same for me.
How would you describe your personal style?
RD: "That's What's Hot," a name Oleg and I have used for our DJ nights since our first gig, is how I would describe it. Although I do have my roots and most of my musical knowledge in purist forms of electronic music, I play whatever I think is the hottest thing, regardless of whether it is deep house, EBM, electro funk, boogie -- even top 40 rap and cumbia and less-respected genres that wouldn't get played by some of the more elitist DJs. I hate being confined to a genre or set of genres, and I only care about the dancefloor and what they respond to, within the confines of what I think is in good taste. DJing is 100 percent about dancing for me, and always will be. "Hence, That's What's Hot."
OB: Diverse. The stuff I play is usually funky, dark, romantic, futuristic, maybe kind of ghetto.
Which DJ's do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
RD: Local DJs I follow are Rik Simpson, Minto George, Jonathan Graham, Brian Hurley and Luke Sardello. Apart from them, Rick Wilhite from Detroit is probably the biggest influence on me musically, in terms of DJing.
OB: I guess I mainly follow local DJs. Bill Converse, Rick Simpson, Luke Sardello, and Jonathan Graham. Other DJs I really enjoy are Larry Heard, Theo Parrish, Serge, Kai Alcé, and DJ Moon. My favorite DJs are Bill Converse and Rick Simpson. Those guys should be DJing all over the world.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
RD: Techno. Unfortunately, it is by far the most misused word in all of electronic music -- even more so than electro and house. I usually just refer people to Down Low Music or Clone Records or Underground Resistance if they want to know what I mean by techno.
OB: I like a lot of music, and when I DJ, I like to make selections out of a few genres. I tend to listen to darker music, which is produced with subtlety. I guess my favorite stuff to play is techno, industrial, and a combination of the two. Rhythmic stuff.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
RD: Either the crate I bring if it's vinyl, or whatever pops into my head randomly if it's mp3.
OB: I never have a pre-determined set. I bring a good variety most of the time, unless whoever books me asks for something specific. I like to feed off what the crowd is responding to.
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
RD: Much more so with vinyl sets, but even then it's just a matter of bringing a crate. I don't like to think too much about it.
OB: Not too much. I pull records based on how I feel at the time I guess. If I am DJing mp3s, I tend to just pick whatever comes to mind. I like making decisions in the moment.
What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
RD: I want people to dance, and I want to create segues that allow me to play songs I really love, even though I'm usually playing in Dallas, which typically means people won't get into them.
OB: The main objective is to make people move or be moved.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
RD: Well-crafted, funky, sometimes dorky music. Sometimes very, very dark stuff.
OB: Well-crafted dance music. Electro, Techno, Industrial, goth, minimal synth, disco, house, acid, boogie, etc.
What kind of equipment do you use?
RD: Vinyl or Traktor.
OB: Technic 1200s, vinyl or Traktor.
Requests. Love em or hate em?
RD: Requests for Daft Punk, Michael Jackson and dubstep being the most requested, none of which I play, I really do hate hearing. Otherwise I don't mind, but I probably don't have it.
OB: I dislike them most of the time because it's stuff I would never play, like Daft Punk or something.
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
RD: Detroit is the birthplace of a good chunk of the modern electronic music canon, dating back to the '70s and perhaps before. Being also the birthplace of techno, I've always wanted to play there. Luckily, I did get to play in Chicago and The Hague, the other two cities from which a large portion of my musical influences come. As far as artists/DJs, there are too many to name.
OB: I've always wanted to play with Ultradyne or any of the Gerald Donald projects at a really spooky space in Detroit.
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
RD: I have a deep background in what the "heads" deem "the good stuff." but I also keep up with current music and don't discriminate if there is some artistry and complexity and degree of difficulty to the production. I can play the harshest, least-accessible rave acid track, or I could play Waka Flocka Flame. Not many people have a foot in both camps, aside from Oleg, and that's why I am so much more comfortable DJing with him than anyone else.
When/where will you be playing next?
OB: I DJ most Wednesdays at Rubber Gloves in Denton. Our next That's What's Hot or TechnoSports Intl party is TBA.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2011?
RD: More of the same.
OB: More of the same, with more focus on our radio show and a lot more music production.
Tracklist for "That's What's Up" mix - Side A (Diaz):
Mas 2008 - Memories - Alles Klar?!
Legowelt - Aquajam - Vatos Locos EP
Theory Proliferation (Ultradyne Remix) - Tangible - Unknown Works EP
Gatekeeper - Giza - Giza EP
Submersible Machines - Upwelling - Submersible Machines EP
MÿSÿCÿRA - krystalMETH/alanWATTS - ÿÿÿÿÿ Presents The Guide To Grave Wave
Kyle Hall - One Ribbon - The Water is Fine EP
Storm Queen - Look Right Through (Vox) - Look Right Through 12"
Azari & iii - Into the Night (Prince Language Remix) - Scion Presents: Scion A/V remix: Azari & iii - Into the Night
Tracklist for "That's What's Up" mix - Side B (Belogorsky):
Dallas Jack Boyz - Untitled - Unreleased
I-F - Secret Desire
Sleezy D - I've Lost Control 12"
Jody "Fingers" Finch - Jack Your Big Booty
Jackmaster Hater - Drum Track
Fast Eddie - Can You Dance
Roy Davis Jr. - Acid Bass
Drexciya - Mission to Ocia Syndor and Back