T0MMYL33J0N3Z (aka Robbie Call) has been DJing since the early 2000s, but he would prefer it if his DJ chronology started in 2007. "There was a time when I was a trance DJ in the early 2000s when I spiked my hair like a Dragon Ball Z character and was way too into trance," the DJ admits. "Let's forget those years. I took a few years off and started back up in 2007."
Call got back into spinning as a member of DJ crew Billingham's Defense System. The trio, (made up of T0MMYL33J0N3Z, DJ TraDeMarx and Genova) held down a popular weekly in Expo Park at the recently closed Fallout Lounge. After a few years of success, the night ended and the DJs dispersed. Since then Call has for the most part kept to himself. He has conceptualized his ideal DJ night and is currently working on a project that he describes as having started out as a "single giltchy Nelly cover" but has turned into "a full-out electronic dirty south hip-hop project."
Check out T0MMYL33J0N3Z's exclusive mix and Q&A below.
How did you get your start?
I was 15-years-old using my 18-year-old friend's I.D. to get into Red Jacket, Home Bar, and of course, "raves." My friend was a foot shorter than me with black hair and a beard. Somehow, it always worked. I met a few promoters and was set up with a few crazy gigs.
What was your first gig like?
It was too fucking awesome to even put into words. Someone rented out a small area in the Six Flags Mall for an after-hours event. People were throwing paint and I was drinking Boon's Farm. I played a lot of disco probably trying to copy this one dude, DJ Drannon who was awesome. I got a lot of good response and a babe made out with me. I chalked it up as a success.
Who or what are some of your biggest influences musical or otherwise?
Skrillex. Just kidding. Anybody who isn't afraid of mixing genres, breaking rules, or hurting people's feelings. Music should never be played safely.
Which DJs do you follow? Do you have a favorite?
I follow a lot of the people I followed back in the day. Carl Cox was always a favorite. I love Riva Starr, Classixx, and this dude FnDannyBoy from El Paso. Locally, Tony Schwa will always be my hands down fave.
What's your favorite genre of music, both to play and to listen to?
My brain moves super fast while I'm playing out. I usually mix fast and jump all over the place. But not annoyingly fast to the point that no one can ever get into a groove. That being said, I find playing minimal sets to be incredibly therapeutic (specifically if I have the leeway of deconstructing minimal into noise).
How do you decide what songs you're going to play?
I always get a good feeling in my gut when I know a track will work. I try to get that feeling with every single track I prepare.
How much preparation goes into putting a set together?
Usually a good few hours of selection. Then a couple of hours of feeling the couple of hundred tracks out and getting a better idea of what will be the most awesome. Of course, big shows take more time. And all of this is compounded by how much Facebook has going on on that given day.
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 want people to get excited about what I get excited about. I want to play stuff that people haven't heard while having it still being accessible enough to want to dance to.
What can someone expect when they come to see and hear you play?
Right now, large angry black men yelling over heavy electronic music.
What kind of equipment do you use?
I will use anything. I've used it all and will continue to embrace the new waves of technology. DJ curmudgeons are the absolute worst.
Requests. Love 'em or hate 'em?
Listen, I don't go to your job and tell you that you're doing it wrong. However, that does sound appealing. If the DJ isn't playing what you want, leave or go outside. Give another place business. Clubs will recognize this if it is a problem. You have the freedom to do that. America!
If you could play a gig anywhere, with any other DJ or music act, with whom would you play, and where?
Red Rocks Amphitheater at sunset with a whole bunch of talented friends. Oh, and Daft Punk.
What sets you apart from other DJs in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth?
I have fun. I like to see people have fun. I will take a hit any day of the week to make sure a good time was had.
When and where will you be playing next?
I have begun the groundwork of creating a collective of musicians and artists who will travel troupe-like locally and elsewhere. The objective is to play at 100% not-for-profit locations. Locations of said events will be announced shortly ahead of the event itself. If you wanna bring booze fine, but that's not the point. We want to draw real, genuine attraction separate from the everyday bar and nightlife scene. It's all about the music, man.
What can Dallas expect to see from you in 2012?
I have kept a lot of things (music wise) close to the chest for the last couple of years. You'll start to see some of it real soon. I can say something that started out as a single giltchy Nelly cover became a full-out electronic dirty south hip-hop project.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.