Replacing locally loved DJ Sober is no easy task. Especially when he is across the highway, spinning at his relocated residency at The Basement at The Travis. That's why Peru born, Dallas trained DJ Ynfynyt Scroll sees his new Thursday spot at Beauty Bar as a new endeavor, rather than Big Bang's replacement.
The 2012 Dallas Observer Music Awards 'Best DJ in Dallas' nominee (as part of Track Meet) Ynfynyt Scroll -- real name Rodrigo Diaz -- wants to bring his worldly travels into his set. So expect sounds ranging from Angola to Venezuela to Holland to Puerto Rico, incorporating genres like reggaeton, kuduro, dancehall, bubbling. Ynfynyt Scroll, alongside co-resident Lil Texas, hopes to offer a experience unlike any other in town, where Diaz can shout out to "todos mis Chilangos."
Tell me about your Peruvian background. Does it influence your music at all?
I was born in Peru and moved to the U.S. as a small child. It heavily influences my music because I grew up in an exclusively Spanish-speaking home, being saturated with Latin American influences the entire time. Not that my parents listened to reggaeton or cumbia (which are probably the most influential Latin genres on my sound) but the foundation was certainly there for that type of rhythmic and melodic template.
Have you been back to Peru to check out the music scene? How does the scene differ from Dallas?
I have been back to Peru recently, and the electronic music scene there is thriving. Lima is one of the fastest growing cities in the Western hemisphere, and the people's taste for electronic music is very advanced and becoming more and more refined. I was very impressed with the music I heard at clubs and pretty floored by the traditional criolla and Afro-Peruvian music I scooped up on vinyl and cassette at the outdoor markets in downtown Lima.
Who are some of your favorite Peruvian musicians?
I really think Deltratron is super incredible and cutting-edge. I'm doing a remix for him that's due to come out this summer on his Terror Negro Records for his Caprichosa y Explosiva EP, which blew my fucking mind when I heard it. My cousin who performs as Sandunking has a very eclectic and well-informed taste and throws what appear to be great parties in Lima, sometimes even with Deltatron. S/o to Dengue Dengue Dengue too, though.
You've mentioned in the past that your assumed name, Ynfynyt Scroll has heavy Islamic undertones." What's the significance behind that?
I've always had a lot of close Muslim friends, and have for long periods of time been closely exposed to very traditional aspects of Islam, even attending multiple Middle Eastern Studies conferences across the U.S. I'm a very visual person, too, and there have been many threads within my visual art that reference Islamic net art and found Photoshop art made by devout Muslims. It could be as simple as the fact that Islam seems to be at the center of a lot of world events, or it could be a reverence for the discipline and devotion it brings out in people - could be both.
How did you obtain this gig at Beauty Bar? Did they reach out to you, or you them?
I'd heard some stirrings about Sober leaving for a while before it happened, and when I got the official news I definitely made sure I was on the short list to replace him. My "pitch" may or may not have had a hand in me getting the job, but either way I'm very stoked to be given this opportunity.
How familiar are you with DJ Sober? Do you feel like you're "replacing" him?
I'm replacing him in a literal sense, and he definitely created and maintained the night for a long time, but outside of the basic framework of the night continuing to be hip-hip or rap-based, I come from a very different production and DJing background, and therefore this night is taking on a life and personality completely independent of what preceded it. Lil Texas also comes from a different background, perhaps one that's closer to mine, but even still brings a whole different set of production, DJ and selection techniques to the table.
What type of new sounds do you want to implement into your weekly set?
I am very much a fan of urban underground club sounds from all over the world, from Angola to Venezuela to Holland to Puerto Rico, and I find there is a thread between rap and genres like reggaeton, kuduro, dancehall, bubbling, etc. Styles such as these deserve to be played alongside rap, and there is a natural connection that I'd like introduce into my sets going forward, while still remaining overwhelmingly Southern rap based. I know you're a fan of Southern rap. What artists can people expect to hear in your sets at Beauty Bar?
Migos, Gucci Mane, Chief Keef, Soulja Boy, Future, A$AP Ferg -- the good shit. I really just want to play the absolute hardest and newest shit I can get my hands on, with some classics in there of course, but I'm mostly focused on what came out in the last 30 days, not the last 10 years.
How was your first show at Beauty Bar last Thursday?
It was real dumb. Those people turned the fuck up.
So you feel like the audience was into your set?
Without a doubt. I was afraid maybe reggaeton and cumbia wouldn't go over so well but it sure did, and by the time I was on the mic being asked to shout out Nuevo Leon and "todos mis Chilangos" it was clear that I could get pretty Latin in that bitch and it would be welcomed. Overall, I couldn't have been more pleased with the crowd reaction, both vocally and dance-wise, and the turnout exceeded my expectations.
Tell me about your collaboration with Lil Texas. What's the secret behind your chemistry?
I met Sam late last year when we played a party together at Bryan Street Tavern, and there was a definite acknowledgment of being in the same general underground club scene. We constantly nerd out on some Tumblr and club and bass music concepts, and we respect each other's talents and creativity. He's actually a pro-level classically trained jazz bassist who went to Berklee College of Music, and his productions are extremely clean and lush, which I respect a lot. And I think he respects my background in electronic music as a live PA artist vinyl DJ, and also just the overall trippiness of my production style and visual art. Mostly, though, I think we are just ambitious producers and DJs who are not satisfied with local/regional accolades or Internet fame and we want to do big things, which I would say he is currently doing and (I'm very proud of him). It may keep him out of Dallas for a good chunk of Thursdays this summer, but I know when he plays with me it's going to be unruly in there.
What favorite records do y'all share?
We converge a lot on the Jersey Club tip and also when it comes to rap. I think basically our musical commonalities center largely around cooking.
Switching over to your group, how did Track Meet form? What brought you guys together?
Track Meet was originally just an outlet for us to bring new forms of music to Dallas and Denton. We were always very SoundCloud-heavy, but we didn't really start taking off until the Slime Rave, the Christ Rave, our parties at the Rio Room basement with Nguzunguzu and Zebra Katz, and most of all our 35 Denton showcase where we brought Bok Bok, L-Vis 1990, Kingdom and Prince William from Night Slugs and Fade to Mind, respectively. Now it's morphing into a label, with our "Track Meet Mixtape 01" available for free download currently, and "Track Meet Mixtape 02" dropping later this summer, featuring producers like SPF666, Baglady, Mohegan Son and others. Eventually we plan on releasing EPs and full lengths, but are sticking to compilations for right now.
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How does a Ynfynyt Scroll solo show differ from a Track Meet set?
It's pretty similar, but by no means identical. We have our little specialties, but we all know a great deal about the same styles of music. I'm definitely the most rap-heavy of the three of us, something I keep realizing when I do things like play an hour of mostly Dallas rap at last year's TOP8 Halloween party at 285 Kent n Brooklyn which I completely did not intend at all to do and weirded myself out by doing. I don't think I could play a set that doesn't contain at least 5 rap songs in it, and I think the same goes for AiR DJ's sets when it comes to ballroom house, and Shooknite's sets when it comes to dembow and cumbia.
Ynfynyt Scroll's "Drone Warfare EP" comes out in August on #FEELINGS, featuring remixes by Vjuan Allure, C.Z. (Lil Texas' M|O|D labelmate) and Dallas-based E.R.P. aka Convextion.