Have your parents ever been to party you played at?
Yes, they have. My parents love to party and that’s where I got that energy from. They don’t stay late though. I’ve even given my mom a birthday party at Smart Bar in Chicago one year where Derrick Carter and I both played together. They loved it!
What are the 5 things you should be aware of or pay attention to when hosting your own first party?
1. THE SOUND
2. MAKING SURE EVERYONE FEELS WELCOME
3. KNOW WHO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS MUSICALLY
4. A MIXED CROWD ALWAYS MAKES FOR GOOD VIBES
5. GRACIOUS DOOR STAFF
What’s your definition of a good DJ? You talked about your mentors Derrick Carter and Danny Tenaglia, who helped you to find your own musical voice. What are the most important lessons you learnt?
Authenticity. We live in an era where DJs have become more entertainers than artists. I was very lucky to hang out in the DJ booths of some of the most influential artists and have been shown how to present music, how to connect with a crowd as well as satisfy my artistic side, and the actual craft of telling a story and taking people on an emotional journey with music. I’ve always said I’m nothing more than a conduit for human connection through sound.
Which concert would you have loved to attend? Which young DJs excite you?
Anything by Grace Jones. I worship the ground she walks on. As far as my favorite DJs nowadays, still Derrick Carter and Danny Tenaglia, but also Mr. G, Maurice Fulton, Kornél Kovács, and Matrixxman come to mind.
And do you feel the responsibility to take younger DJs under your wing one day?
It would be an honor to pass on information that I learned from my clubbing experiences to someone interested in how I present music.
It seems you have a broad taste in music. Which records never leave your bag – and which musical elements can ruin an otherwise great track for you?
I would say the things that ruin a track for me is when a producer puts to many elements in a track. Simplicity is best. I also hate long extended drops. It’s boring to me. I don’t need to stand still on a dancfloor for 10 hours with some vocal or synth with tons or reverb on it before the kick comes back in. To each his own, however thats not for me. The tunes that never leaves my bag is „Hit N Quit It“ by Jamie 3:26 and „Remember“ by Gino Soccio.
What’s your definite secret weapon to get the crowd dancing again?
A smile on your face and „You Can’t Hide From Yourself“ by Teddy Pedergrass or „I Feel Love“ by Donna Summer
What do you listen to outside of the club i.e. when traveling oder relaxing?
Shit, I don’t listen to any house music at all when I’m not working. I listen to Jazz, 70s Soft Rock, lots of Disco and R’n’B and New Wave. I avoid the kick drum like the plague when Im chilling.
Regarding your heavy tour schedule, what’s your secret to stay healthy and sane?
Honestly, sleep. I don’t take drugs so that helps quite a bit. I love tequila, however Ive had to cut back on it because I can get quite out of control. However, sleep, no afterparties, and having a great support system of friends to talk to gets you through. Contrary to popular belief, touring is very lonely so its nice to have loved ones around to keep you grounded.
What’s your advice for young queer DJs who want to make it in this scene?
Make your own scene and build your own voice so your audience can find you instead of you chasing what has already done. We already have enough people making the same records trying to play the same clubs with the same roster of DJs. Be unique and don’t wait for somebody else to anoint you. Anoint yourself.