DC9er Mixtape, Vol. 33: Blake Ward

Blake Ward got his start spinning in Oklahoma while attending Oklahoma University. But he made the trip down to Dallas to play gigs so frequently, that, before long, he started being recognized as both an Oklahoma and a Dallas DJ. Really: Ward even played this past year's State Fair of Texas, for which he was situated directly under the iconic Big Tex.

It doesn't get more Dallas than that - but alas, the boy still lived in Oklahoma.

Now, only a few months later, Ward is a proper Dallas resident and DJ, with a weekly every Tuesday at Bar Celine alongside that a previously DC9er-featured DJ, Redsean. In the near future, Ward will also be DJing some Thursdays at PM Lounge, and he asks that you "save the date" for upcoming PM Lounge gigs with DFA's Woolfy (on February 10) and Dam Funk (on March 3).

In the meantime, make sure to have take a check out our Q&A with Ward, and to have a listen to his exclusive DC9er mixtape, both of which are posted after the jump.

How long have you been DJing for?
I started DJing around the time I turned 21, so about four years now.

How did you get your start DJing?
I was going to Oklahoma University, and I was absolutely miserable up there until I found a group of DJs called Dance Robots Dance, who spun indie rock and electro. I became really obsessed with dance music after that, and eventually started spinning records with some of my friends.  I've since grown out of electro and started playing a wider range of stuff.  Mostly house, nu disco, post punk, and indie rock.
What was your first gig like?
At the time, I thought I did really well, but, looking back, I think I made every possible mistake in the book. I learned to DJ a few hours before my first gig, so nothing was too planned out.

Who/what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
I'm currently listening to lots of Azari and III, Juan Maclean, and Aeroplane. My all-time-favorite band is the Comateens, and Giorgio Moroder is my favorite producer.
How would you describe your personal style?
I'm always searching for the perfect leather jacket. I found it once, but it was two sizes too big.
Which DJ's do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
I'm a fan of Daft Punk and Soulwax when it comes to performance. Juan Maclean played my favorite DJ set of all time.  
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
I like to mix a little funk, italo, and Chicago house with nu disco and danceable indie stuff. It's fun to mix the old with the new.
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
I play what my gut tells me to. It's usually a spur-of-the-moment decision. For really big gigs I prepare a set list beforehand, but that is rare.

How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
I like to be spontaneous. You can't prepare too much for a set. You have to read the crowd and pick your tracks based on how the crowd is reacting to the music.
What are your main objectives when it comes to playing music? (Are you looking to entertain the crowd, educate them, or something different altogether?)
I like to share the music that makes me happy. Hopefully other people like it, too. It's a mixture of entertainment and education.
What can someone expect when they come to see/hear you play?
Expect to dance to great tracks from the '70s to the present. If you're looking to listen to Top 40 or bangers, you might want to go somewhere else. No wobble bass. No side-chained saw waves. It's not going to happen.

What kind of equipment do you use?
Technics 1200's with Torq DJ software for now, although I hope to switch to Serato soon strictly for convenience. If someone wants to donate $1,600 to me for a Serato mixer, that would be pretty cool.
Requests. Love em or hate em?
I appreciate good requests, but mostly people request the same five stupid party rap songs over and over.

If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ/music act, whom would you play with and where would it be?
I'd love to play a set at the Hacienda in Manchester with New Order!
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
I put my pants on one leg at a time just like every other DJ in Dallas. Except afterwards, I spin better records.
When/where will you be playing next?
Every Tuesday with Redsean at Bar Celine. Some Thursdays at PM Lounge. Save the date for DFA's Woolfy, on February 10, and Dam Funk, on March 3, at PM Lounge. Listen to my radio show from 10 p.m. to midnight right here.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2011?
I feel lucky to have had the great year I did in 2010. I moved back to Dallas, and I got to help put together shows at PM Lounge for a great number of my favorite DJs. This will continue and be expanded upon in 2011. We have big plans for Dallas, but you will just have to wait and see what they are when the time comes! One thing I can tell you: I'm working on a music project with Redsean called Psychic Soundsystem that will be really cool.

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Catherine Downes
Contact: Catherine Downes